The premium compact car segment grows faster than the overall market in the first half of 2016 at +10% vs. +8,8% and especially compared to the mainstream compact car segment at +6%. The German brands increase their dominance of the segment with over 83% share, and are competing fiercer than ever to attract younger, mostly first-time luxury buyers so they can try and keep them faithful to their brand when they move up the ladder. The model-ranking leader Audi A3 loses 3% of its volume as the competition heats up, but BMW becomes the biggest brand ahead of Mercedes-Benz. The 1-series hatchback, 2-series MPV, Coupe and Convertible and the i3 electric car add up to a combined 145.000 sales, compared to 144.000 sales for the A-Class hatchback, B-Class MPV and CLA sedan and station wagon. Despite having the A3 hatchback, sedan and convertible at the top of the ranking, Audi is a distant third with “just” 104.500 sales in the first half.
Archives for August 2016
Sales of large SUVs are back into positive figures in the first half of 2016 after falling in Q1. Still, a 2% increase is slower than the overall market at +8,8%, but keep in mind segment sales surged 23% in 2015 thanks to the new generation Kia Sorento. The Sorento holds on to its segment leadership with sales up 5% while its sister model Hyundai Santa Fe loses 11%, but that’s only because it lost big in the first quarter of this year. In Q2, the Santa Fe improved its year-over-year volume by 2%. The two South Korean models still hold over 63% of the segment in Europe, not surprising considering they are unibody crossover while their nearest competitors are traditional body-on-frame SUVs; more capable off-road, but less efficient and less comfortable.
The midsized crossover segment in Europe has grown at double the speed of the overall market in the first half of 2016: +17% vs. +8,8%, but it was still outsold by the small crossover segment for the first time ever in Q2. Nonetheless, sales of midsized crossovers are expected to continue increasing, as new brands and models keep entering this highly competitive class. The increased competition takes away some share from the segment leader Nissan Qashqai, but so far no other model can come close to challenging its leadership. Its closest rival of last year, the Volkswagen Tiguan suffered from a model changeover and has dropped to 4th place, making room for the two South-Korean sister models to step onto the podium. Even the all-new Renault Kadjar outsold the Tiguan in Q2, but the VW is likely to strike back in the second half, when deliveries of the new generation gain traction. As a result of these new or updated models, the Ford Kuga loses two spots on last year to become a distant #6 despite growing 22%.
The small crossover segment is still the fastest growing mainstream segment in Europe at +28% and over 150.000 additional sales in the first half of 2016. But what’s more earthshaking is that for the first time ever, small crossovers outsold their larger counterpart midsized crossovers in the second quarter of 2016: 367.000 vs. 363.000. As a result, the “Captur-segment” is within 23.000 sales of the “Qashqai-segment” for the first half and could become the bigger of the two by year-end. Almost all models share in the glory, as only two out of the 17 remaining models lost volume, and by less than 1.000 units combined, while 11 models show either double digit or triple digit growth, or are entirely new. The segment leader Renault Captur keeps improving as well, but also keeps losing share as it grows slower than the segment as a whole at +10%. The Captur’s leadership is unthreatened though, as its closest rival of last year Opel/Vauxhall Mokka improved just 3% as it awaits a facelift, and that has allowed the already updated Peugeot 2008 to leapfrog the Mokka and reclaim the #2 spot thanks to sales up 13%.
Sales of large MPVs are booming thanks to an infusion of fresh products into the segment. In the first half of 2016, sales are up 59% compared to the same period in 2015, as not only the three newcomers gain impressive volume, but also 2 out of the 3 existing models. Ford is the king of the segment with a share of 39,3% for its two models, both redesigned in the past year. The Ford S-Max is the segment leader with triple the sales of its previous generation, but the already six-year old Volkswagen Sharan was just 1.000 units behind the S-Max in Q2 and jumped from #4 in Q1 to #2 for the first half, leapfrogging the all-new Renault Espace. This must be a disappointment for Renault, as the brand is on a good roll in Europe with its latest models and the new design language, and it surely must have hoped the fifth generation Espace could take back the lead in the segment it created 35 years ago in Europe. In Q2 it was even outsold by the Seat Alhambra, the Sharan’s clone.
The midsized MPV segment in Europe has been very stable in volume for the past couple of years, alternating single digit growth and contraction, and continues that stability in the first half of 2016 with sales up just one percent. That still compares negatively to the overall market, which grew by 8,8% in the same period. Individual model sales are much less stable, with a few big winners and one big loser in the segment. The leader is unchanged for now, as the Citroën C4 Picasso actually gains share with a 5% increase, but it’s under heavy pressure from the new generation Volkswagen Touran, which is up 37% on its previous generation last year and outsold the Picasso by 150 units in Q2. If the Touran manages to grab the segment title by year-end, that would be the first time for the model, whose highest ranking so far has been a 2nd place in 2004 when the first generation was still fresh. The biggest winner in the first half is the BMW 2-Series Active/Grand Tourer, adding 56% to its volume of last year, when the 7-seater was not yet available and the Active Tourer was still in start-up mode. A third place in the segment is nonetheless an impressive performance for the premium-priced model from a brand that has had no offering in the segment before.
Sales of small MPVs in Europe are slowing down fast, as customers are switching away from these roomy alternatives to subcompact hatchbacks in favor of the more trendy crossovers that are gaining popularity quickly. And the manufacturers are giving the people what they need: there are no new models entering the segment, and the existing models that are due to be redesigned are all switching to a more SUV-like design. All of the top-5 players in this segment also have a crossover model in their line-up and all of those are outselling their MPV counterparts, making this segment a difficult business case to spend money on developing a next generation small MPV. As a result of that, the aging segment (not only in terms of model age, but also the age of the prospective buyers) is down 15% in the first half of 2016, dipping below 200.000 sales as only one of the players in this segment sells more than it did last year, and by a tiny margin.
The midsized car segment in Europe grew sharply in 2015 as two of the best sellers were renewed, but that growth has flattened to 8% in the first half of 2016, slightly slower than the overall market at +8,8%. With sales flat year-over-year, the Volkswagen Passat loses some market share, but is still at 32,7% of segment shares. Combined with sales of its sister model, the Skoda Superb, the Volkswagen MQB platform underpins almost 1 in every 2 midsized cars sold in Europe. The Superb has doubled its sales of last year, thanks to the very successful launch of its new generation, but also because its closest rivals lost volume. The Opel/Vauxhall Insignia is about to be replaced in the second half of this year, and the Ford Mondeo simply hasn’t hit a chord with European buyers. Its design is only evolutionary from the previous generation, especially from the rear three-quarters, and was already two years old in the US (as the Fusion) and China before production in Europe finally started. The Peugeot 508 is aging as well and continues to lose share, but PSA has made clear there are no plans yet to develop another midsized sedan (and station wagon), as the company is focusing on crossovers and SUVs, a segment where it believes it can compete better against Volkswagen and the luxury brands.
At +6% in the first half of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew faster than the minicar and subcompact segments, but slower than the overall market. In Q2 the compact car segment grew by 10%, which is just ahead of the market’s 9,8% gain. The Volkswagen Golf remains untouchable despite the diesel scandal and renewed competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, but it is one of only 3 models in the top-10 to lose volume. The Golf’s closest rival from a year ago, the Ford Focus, loses even more and is pushed down into fourth place by the new generation Astra, up 27%. With the Skoda Octavia in third place and the Seat Leon in sixth, the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform takes almost 37% of sales in the second largest segment in Europe. With the Focus starting to age, the Peugeto 308 has a shot at grabbing fourth place in the segment by the end of the year, a ranking last achieved by the previous generation in 2008. The 308 already outsold the Focus in May and was just 750 units behind in Q2. The new generation Renault Megane has started deliveries and is aiming for 6th place in the segment by year-end, as it already outsold the Leon and the Toyota Auris in Q2.
Sales of subcompact cars in Europe are up just 4% in the first half of 2016, compared to 8,8% for the overall market, as the best sellers are starting to age. Still, it remains the biggest segment of the continent in terms of volume. There’s been a change of leadership in Q2, with the Renault Clio grabbing the lead from the Ford Fiesta, which is due to be replaced later this year. The Fiesta has been around since 2008, and so has the Volkswagen Polo. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is even older, having been developed in 2006, but at least it had an extensive update in 2014. That leaves the Clio and the Peugeot 208 as the freshest models in the top-5, both being introduced in 2012. And it shows: the Clio is the best selling model in Q2 and the first half, while the 208 is the fastest growing model in the top-5. The Fiesta has been the segment leader since 2012 but is now relegated to third place by the Polo. It has even come under threat from the Corsa, which outsold it in May and was just 2.000 units behind for the quarter. Outside the top-5, the Toyota Yaris keeps improving slowly but steadily, although the Dacia Sandero and Skoda Fabia weren’t far behind in Q2. In fact, the Sandero grabbed 7th place from the Fabia, despite the latter being brand new in 2015.