Mitsubishi, Skoda and Jaguar led consumer demand on Carwow throughout the first half of this year.
Data compiled by the Carwow tracks demand across brands and models with almost 2.3 million new cars configured on the website from January to June 2016. The website tracks consumer activity from the comparisons consumers receive from over 1,200 franchised dealers on stock availability, price, review scores and location.
The compiled data is weighted to take into account the fact that across a typical month, certain brands and models will, naturally, attract significantly more interest than others.
The most popular models are ‘pegged’ to an equal footing of 100 in March, and overall market demand changes are adjusted for.
Top performances in first half of 2016
Alex Rose, Carwow head of trading, said Mitsubishi’s position was almost exclusively driven by the Outlander PHEV hybrid. Rose said the half year figures show that heavyweight marketing campaigns by manufacturers to promote a particular model range or variant can transform demand within weeks.
He said: “To an extent, this can be explained by the fact that the deadline for registering an Outlander PHEV with the full government grant of £5,000 reduced to £2,500 on 29 February, thus artificially suppressing demand in March, our benchmarking month.
“Nevertheless, this model has proved something of a ‘sleeper hit’, with interest recovering and hugely surpassing the February peak.”
Rose said the smaller ASX SUV has also seen almost a 50% increase in relative market interest, and this is a common phenomenon with users considering one specific model are more likely to then configure an alternative from the same manufacturer.
Skoda, meanwhile, saw an unprecedented increase in demand across much of the range, the surge coming almost exclusively in June.
Although the Fabia model was supported with a TV campaign, Rose said this range-wide boost (with Citigo, Yeti, Fabia and Octavia all in the top 10 ‘climbers’) can most likely be attributed to the heavily promoted ‘Skoda Big Event’, centred around a £500 of free fuel offer.
Jaguar take third place on the podium, thanks to increasing visibility of last year’s XE model and, to an even greater extent, the impact of the F-Pace SUV, which has quickly become the most commonly-configured Jaguar on Carwow.
Alfa-Romeo and Volkswagen are, by a margin, the steepest decliners over the three months from March to June based on Carwow’s metrics.
However, Rose said the decline is easily explained.
He said: “Volkswagen invested in a heavyweight TV campaign in Quarter 1, inflating user interest in March, thus creating what appears to be a severe decline in Quarter 2. In reality, however, they are still the second-best selling brand on carwow.
“Alfa-Romeo, on the other hand, are currently in something of a product lifecycle ‘trough’.
"The well-received Giulia is not yet on sale, while the Mito is no longer available to order on Carwow, leaving the Giulietta hatchback and niche 4C holding the fort. We look forward to reviewing the impact of the new Giulia later this year.”
Rose said Honda and Citroen’s moderate decline in configurations highlights them as ones to watch.
He said: “In Citroen’s case, this is driven by declining interest in their C1 and - long-term successful - DS3 product.
“While Volvo has seen a relative reduction in vehicle configurations in Q2, driven by V60 and V40 models, we expect the launch of both V90 and S90 models to more than compensate for this drop as the year continues.”
Carwow brand demand H1 2016
Carwow model demand H1 2016
Carwow top 15 decliners H1 2016