Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe continue to decline with a loss of 13% in the first quarter of 2017, to just over 200.000 units. Only 4 nameplates improve their volume over the same period last year, of which one by less than 100 units, as consumers are showing a growing preference to crossover models that offer a similar high seating position but are more hip and trendy than MPVs, despite the obvious benefits of the latter in terms of interior space and practicality. Volkswagen increases its dominance of the segment and now controls over 25% of the segment sales with its two nameplates Touran and Golf Sportsvan, as both lose less than the segment average. The Citroën C4 Picasso also does slightly better than average but drops to second place from first in the same quarter last year, before the Touran passed it to take the full-year crown.
Archives for May 2017
The small MPV segment in Europe continues to lose volume, with another 10% decline in the first quarter of 2017, to just 78.000 sales. Every single nameplate lost volume compared to Q1 of 2016, except for the single newcomer to the segement. The traditional segment leader Fiat 500L loses share but still accounts for more than 1 in 4 cars sold in this segment. 72,5% of its volume comes from its home market Italy, the highest of the 500 family. Despite almost being replaced by the more crossover-like Crossland X, the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva manages to finish Q1 as the best performer of the segment, with sales virtually stable (down just 28 units). The Ford B-Max with its sliding rear doors is also relatively stable with a loss of “just” 8% and therefore gains share of the segment.
Sales of midsized sedans (and station wagons) are crashing down hard in Europe just as they are across the Atlantic. In Q1 of 2017 sales were down 12% to just 145.500 units in an overall market up 7,8%. Only 3 nameplates in the segment improve year-over-year, and all others show double digit losses. In this depressed context, the Volkswagen Passat holds on to its commanding lead despite a 15% loss of volume. It still sells almost twice as many units as its closest rival, its platform sibling Skoda Superb. The two models increase their combined share of the segment to 46,9%, as the current generation Ford Mondeo just never really caught on in Europe and the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia suffers from its model change. As a result, the Mondeo is temporarily back onto the podium, but will be knocked off once deliveries of the new Insignia pick up steam. Perhaps it can even threaten the Superb for 2nd place over the course of the full year 2017.
Sales of compact carsin Europe increased 4% in the first quarter of 2017, half the growth of the overall market at +7,8%. Total volume of the segment was just over 636.000 sales, which means it remains the second-largest segment in Europe. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf is in trouble with a loss of 11% as it has just been facelifted but also feels some in-house competition from the new generation Tiguan, and possibly even from the Seat Ateca crossover. The new generation Opel/Vauxhall Astra continues to outperform the segment, but is still way too far behind to even remotely threaten the Golf’s domination. Like the Fiesta one segment down, the Ford Focus traditionally has a good start of the year thanks to its popularity in the UK, but its 7% gain is nonetheless impressive considering it is one of the oldest models in the top-6.
Sales of subcompact cars in Europe grew by 10% in the first quarter of 2017, faster than the overall market growth of 7,8%, and it remains the largest segment in Europe by a large margin, at more than 793.000 sales. This growth is fueled by a number of renewed or facelifted models, but also by continued strength of older models. At the top of the ranking, we have once again a change of guard as the Ford Fiesta reclaims its top position after being outsold by the Renault Clio in the full year 2017. The Fiesta is traditionally strong in Q1 thanks to its popularity in the UK and it therefore benefits from large volumes in March. In fact, this March the Fiesta was even the best selling nameplate overall, even ahead of the VW Golf, even despite being due for replacement this year. The Clio is still the fastest growing model in the top-5 and overtakes the Volkswagen Polo when compared to Q1 of 2016.
Sales of minicars in Europe lost 5% in the first quarter of 2017 with 360.000 units sold, compared to an overall market growth of 7,8%. Fiat remains segment leader with two models on top, and both outgroing the rest of the segment, to increase its total share to 31,5%. After reclaiming the lead from its sibling Fiat 500, the Fiat Panda consolidates its first place, but once again it is extremely dependent on its home market Italy which accounts for 81,8% of its total European sales (up from 78,4% in 2016-Q1), compared to “just” 31,6% for the 500. In third place we still find the Volkswagen Up!, but the Toyota Aygo is just 700 units behind after taking third place in February. And the Hyundai i10 isn’t far away in fifth place either, after being the fastest growing model in the segment top-10. [Read more…]
We don’t usually devote much space to spy shots here at CarSalesBase, but in this instance I figured I’d make an exception given that it might lead to an interesting discussion. In particular, after years of speculations and anticipation, we finally have the first pictures of the third-generation 1-series hatchback, which unlike the first two generations will be primarily front-wheel drive.
When we checked in last month, we suggested that 2017 is unlikely to exceed the record sales achieved in 2016. However, the performance of the market in April, with sales down 4.8% compared to April’16, suggests we should revise that prediction to “2017 is almost certainly not going to exceed the sales in 2016″, and may even fail to reach the level set in 2015 (so far YTD sales are 2.0% down on 2016, and 1.1% down on 2015). In fact, the sales slump in the past four months is the longest such period since the bottom of the market downturn in 2009. Just as last month, sales of mainstream models fell by 11%, but it was the fall in sales of trucks/SUVs (albeit only by 0.1%) that should have the markets worried – this is the first time sales of the latter fell since September 2013.