By on October 19, 2014

2013boxsterThe Jaguar F-Type continues to be the car of the moment as coupes become a more common sight and as the car continues to be an absolutely essential part of the Jaguar lineup. September sales of the F-Type jumped 91% compared with September of last year, which still stands as Jaguar USA’s second-lowest-volume full month. F-Type sales peaked at 501 units in July of this year and have, on four other occasions, topped 400 units.

400? That’s a figure untouched by BMW’s Z4 since July 2011, more than three years ago. Year-over-year, Z4 sales actually increased in September, rising by seven units, falling 9% (or 17 units) compared with September 2012. These aren’t cars one judges on a moment’s figures, however, and certainly not in early autumn.

On the other hand, even taking a broader time period into account, the Z4 is wildly less popular than it once was. BMW USA reported sales of more than 20,000 units in 2003 and averaged 11,520 annually between 2004 and 2007. Sales have declined in three consecutive years, falling to 2480 units in 2013. 2014 will likely make it four consecutive years, as BMW’s pace currently makes 2100 sales unlikely.

The disease is wreaking havoc on the sales figures of Z4 rivals, too. Admittedly, the Audi TT is now an old car that’s about to be replaced by the third-gen model. But do you really think the next TT can average 7500 annual sales in the United States as the TT did between 2002 and 2004? Audi sold 4355 TTs in 2007, 4486 in 2008, and then averaged fewer than 2200 between 2011 and 2013.

Car
Sept.
2014
Sept.
2013
%
Change
9 mos.
2014
9 mos.
2013
%
Change
Audi TT
42 178 -76.4% 1,098 1,530 -28.2%
BMW Z4
170 163 4.3% 1,617 1,953 -17.2%
Jaguar F-Type
329 172 91.3% 2,945 1,490 97.7%
Mercedes-Benz SLK
489 404 21.0% 3,595 3,569 0.7%
Porsche Boxster
275 302 -8.9% 3,024 3,759 -19.6%
Porsche Cayman
245 311 -21.2% 2,568 2,431 5.6%
Total
1,550 
1,530  1.3%  14,847  14,732  0.8%

 

What of the SLK-Class Benz? It’s a top seller, and SLK sales have improved in 2014. But it’s still a car that sells half as often now as it did a decade ago. Mercedes-Benz USA averaged 7866 SLK sales per year between 2002 and 2008 but likely won’t sell 5000 this year.

Back to the present, Boxster and Cayman sales decreased by 93 units in September and are down 10% this year as a pair. Although the SLK outsells the Boxster and the F-Type outsells the Cayman, the two nameplates combined achieve numbers far in excess of both the SLK’s and F-Type’s: 5592 so far this year.

Not lost in these numbers are higher-priced coupes and roadsters which sell in greater numbers. Mercedes-Benz SL-Class sales are down 33% this year, but at 3758 units (and 584 in September), it’s slightly more popular than the smaller SLK. The 911, of course, may be the more direct F-Type rival from Porsche: 911 sales are up 3% to 7758 in 2014, more than the Boxster, Cayman, and Z4 combined.

Then there’s Detroit’s finest, the Chevrolet Corvette. In this first full year for the C7, U.S. Corvette sales have more than tripled to 25,950 sales through nine months.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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27 Comments on “Cain’s Segments: Euro Sports Cars In September 2014...”


  • avatar
    Pch101

    At first glance, it would appear that Jaguar is taking conquest sales. Not surprising, really; in terms of styling, it’s a home run.

    The question is whether it will provide a successful halo for the brand, or if it’s going to be just a one-off. Personally, I’m leaning toward the latter.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Why would Jag want the F Type to be a halo?

      Isn’t Jag noted as a sports and performance car manufacturer?

      Now if Jag made a pickup truck, then that would be a halo vehicle.

      The Corvette is a halo for GM or Chev, but GM or Chev isn’t noted as a prestige vehicle manufacturer.

  • avatar

    Okay, I’ll bite: Why is a Mercedes SL or Porsche 911 not counting as a Euro Sports Car?

    David

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      great catch.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      We mentioned the 911 and SL in the article, but we took a step down from their level for the purposes of this piece.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Reg; “Why is a Mercedes SL or Porsche 911 not counting as a Euro Sports Car?”

      While Timothy provides an answer in regards to the article, another reason should be, they are not technically sports cars, but GT’s, as is the Audi TT.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      These cars carry sticker prices in the $40-60k ish price range.

      The 911 and SL cost far more than that. Not really in the same class.

      • 0 avatar
        Vega

        The F type starts at 70k. Nobody cross-shops an F-Type with a Z4, a TT or an SLK. This list makes no sense.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The F-type starts at $65k, which is pretty much what I said before.

          “Nobody cross-shops an F-Type with a Z4, a TT or an SLK.”

          1. If you have data, then provide it. I haven’t seen it, and I frankly doubt that you have, either.

          2. Even if true, it isn’t relevant. The relevant comparisons are the type of car and the price points, not the cross-shopping habits of their buyers.

          It would be hard to argue that a Malibu is not a midsized sedan even though relatively few Camry and Accord buyers would give it a second thought. Whether or not it is popular does not change its classification.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    If Audi added the TT Offroad and TT Sportback those sales could be ten fold.

  • avatar

    These cars are just simply overpriced compared to what these same brands sold a decade ago. Overpriced and many overweight.

  • avatar

    When these cars lose about 20-30% off purchase price the minute they roll off the lot…

    I can’t believe how much I can pick these cars up for at auction. Its embarrassing for the first guy, truly.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Look how your money market manager blew all your hidden fees…

    Don’t understand the allure of this class of vehicle for city status. Your so low you can’t see over anybody else. Cyclists play catch up at the next red or even pass during rush hour. Might just as well take the tens of thousands in depreciation and throw it in the road.

  • avatar
    stuki

    The market for these cars have been largely decimated.

    Nowadays, you’re supposed to either buy a few dozen Ferraris and a Jet, or know your place in Yellen’s hierarchy of who has unlimited access to free money, and be environmentally responsible enough to take the darned bus the social planners tell you to take.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    Timothy,
    I think you’re trying to slice the market too thinly. “Euro Sports Cars”, but not THOSE European sports cars? Why not just sports cars? The GT-R, Corvette and Viper, as well as the big Euros you mentioned should be in that chart. I don’t understand the logic of your choices here.

    That said, it’s noteworthy to read your comparisons of the little German roadsters with their own pasts. The Z4, SLK and TT are will below prior levels, and I wonder how much the new small sedans and coupes from the Germans have eaten into the sales of these models. There was a time when a Z3 or early SLK was an entry point for these brands. In chasing after higher volumes, perhaps we’re seeing the slow erosion of affordable German sports car. One more reason to raise hosannas to Mazda for the MX5.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    I owned a Mk 1 Audi TT.

    The Original Mk 1 Audi TT was mostly sold as manual 5 and 6 speed 4 cylinder Turbo Quattros. The V6 came along later but only as a DSG.

    When they changed to the Mk II they did the opposite and only offered the Turbo 4, with DSG and Quattro. The prices were way up and they were now competing with Mercedes, Porsche and BMW.

    Many of the folks I knew who had TTs didn’t switch to the MkII TT . Bought CPO Porsche or something else instead.

    Since VAG now owns Porsche , I don’t know why the TT even exists.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    The market for sporty cars, both moderately priced and expensive, seems to have shrunk badly over the last five years, with the exception of the Detroit ponycars and the new Corvette. I wonder how well the new MX-5 will do. I’m going to guess that it will not match the sales of the previous version when it was new.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    Anyone think price bloat is at least partially responsible for this?

    Just because I could afford a $40k Porsche Boxster 10 years ago doesn’t mean I can afford a $50k Boxster today.

    There’s also so much content in today’s mainstream cars that your average buyer is more impressed with the infotainment in his $23k Accord than the “Bulls-eye climate control vents” in a $60k SLK. 20 years ago standard equipment in a typical car was A/C, a tape player and maybe some airbags and ABS. Nowadays a US-market Corolla has more standard equipment than a 3-series starting at twice the price.

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