The luxury automakers are fighting a heavy war among themselves to reach the top global position, but their ongoing fight also ahs collateral damage – the volume brands are being pushed out of some traditional niches.
For example, Europe’s profit-rich coupe niche saw total deliveries increase 6.9 percent to 150,160 autos last year, but all of the growth was made up of models from premium brands – yielding the luxury automakers control over two-thirds of the segment on the continent. In the sister convertible niche, the luxury carmakers had flat sales of 81,361 vehicles last year, and mass-market automakers dropped 20 percent to 65,739 autos. The turnover has made premium brands lead the segment for the first time since 2003.
Naturally, the mass-market automakers’ declining volumes in the niche sectors has triggered some slashing and dicing – victims’ of the decline will include the Renault Laguna coupe and maybe the Megane CC (coupe-cabriolet), VW”s Eos and possibly the Scirocco coupe and Peugeot will marry the 207 CC and 308 CC models into a single offering.
Meanwhile, the volume brands are trying to push away the premium automakers with upscale lines and trims for their best-selling ranges. PSA Peugeot Citroen has already successfully established the DS line – and has now turned the upscale Citroen trim into a fully-fledged and independent brand – mostly because of surging demand in China. For Europe, both Renault and Ford are planning their own upscale trims – the Initiale and Vignale lines.
Via Automotive News Europe