Have British motorists become badge snobs or just become tired of buying ‘British’ as the premium German brands now behave like volume manufacturers by offering a wide range of products, something for everyone? Audi and BMW matching each other product for product is reminiscent of the behaviour of Ford and Vauxhall 15 years ago as their respective marketing departments and product planners seemed to be joined at the hip. Anything Ford did, Vauxhall would follow and vice versa to the point that the price and specification of their respective models were almost indistinguishable. The same accusation can now be levelled at Audi and BMW and to a lesser degree to Mercedes-Benz and it seems to be working but what does it mean for Ford and Vauxhall?
Ford, with a share of just under 12%, will likely remain as market leader for some years to come but Vauxhall’s historical position of second behind Ford is under threat. Now at just 9.3% year-to-date market share, down from 12% in 2011, it should be looking over its shoulder with Volkswagen at 7.6%, BMW at 6.7%, Audi at 6.6% and Mercedes-Benz at 6.3% lurking in the shadows ready to pounce. Volkswagen would have been closer but for its ‘difficulties’.
Although the month of November isn’t usually used as a barometer of the new car market, Vauxhall’s position looks even more under threat. Vauxhall’s market share in November was 8.7% with BMW on 8.3%, Volkswagen on 7.8% and Audi on 7.0%.
Vauxhall has now called in the SAS to help it retain its market share by reintroducing its Scrappage Allowance Scheme. As Christmas and the pantomime season fast approaches Vauxhall needs to be aware that ‘they’re behind you’!