Sales of large SUVs in Europe have been in a downward trend in recent years and that trend continues in the first half of 2019 with a decline of 23% in deliveries as this remains the smallest segment of the European car market with fewer than 19.000 sales in the first six months of the year. Interestingly, this same segment is one of the largest in the United States representing over 12% of the total market with just over one million sales in the first half, compared to just 0,2% of the European market. After every single nameplate in this class lost volume in Q1 of 2019, there’s one model that showed an improvement in Q2, while all the others were down by double digits. The top-3 has been turned upside down in Q2 but not enough to change the ranking for the first half. In the second quarter the new generation Hyundai Santa Fe was outsold by its sibling model Kia Sorento while the Ford Edge took the lead. As a result, the Edge is just one sale behind the Sorento in third place, with the Santa Fe ahead by just another 22 sales. A close race indeed! Hyundai-Kia now holds just under half of this segment and Ford another quarter.
The compact crossovers segment in Europe has been growing briskly in recent years, but in the first half of 2019 that growth has stalled as the segment grew by just 400 sales to just over 951.000 sales. That means it now makes up 11,4% of the total Euorpean car market, up from 11% in 2018. We’ve separated the tables of the compact and midsized crossover segments but still feature them in one post and in one graph as the models in these classes are so close to each other in size and there are so many different opinions on which models belong in which of these segments. Combined, sales in these segments are down 1% to 14,1% of the total European car market, and VW Group improves its share of these segments to 24,4% while Renault-Nissan is down to 19,7% and PSA grows to 19,6% of these segments combined, for a whopping 63,8% share by just three manufacturers.
Sales of small crossovers in Europe continue their booming growth curve in 2019 with another double digit gain in the second quarter. An increase of 11% to 612.000 sales brings the first half tally to 1,18 million sales, which means this segment already accounts for 14,2% of the overall European car market, up nearly two percentage points in a single year. That also means this segment is now larger than the compact car segment (the “Golf class”) to become Europe’s second largest segment after the subcompact cars. No wonder manufacturers that are not playing in this class yet are rushing to join the party, while existing brands are doubling down on their efforts. As a result, it’s not only one of the biggest segments in terms of volume, but also in the number of players, with no less than 29 and another handful of newcomers arriving this year. After flamboyantly taking the lead in the first quarter, the Volkswagen T-Roc is knocked back down into third place by two Renault Group models, the Renault Captur and Dacia Duster. The Captur reclaims the lead of the segment it has held since 2014, even though the model’s second generation will be arriving in showrooms soon. The Duster meanwhile enjoys it best quarter ever, averaging just shy of 20.000 monthly sales, an incredible performance from the no-nonsense brand. The T-Roc is therefore relegated into third place, and it will be interesting to see how this three-way battle unfolds in the second half of 2019. Will the Captur have a similar change-over to the new generation as the Clio or will there be a hiccup in deliveries? Will the Duster continue to impress or will it (finally) run out of steam? Will the T-Roc strike back or will it suffer from internal competition by the T-Cross and new generation Golf?
The large MPV segment in Europe lost volume for the 10th consecutive quarter in Q2 of 2019 with a 12% decline to just under 24.000 sales. European families, businesses and car rental companies continue to lose interest in this type of vehicle and the future of the segment looks bleak as fewer brands see profitability at these volumes while 7-seat crossovers cannibalize their MPV rivals, even though the latter are still way more space efficient and practical. Of the six remaining players in this segment, only one manages to improve its sales with four of the other five down by double digits. The Seat Alhambra holds on to its top spot, a position it was unable to maintain for the entire year in 2018, but it outsold all of its rivals in both quarters of 2019. With a loss of 12%, the Alhambra loses slightly faster than the overall segment, which is not surprising considering it’s also the oldest model in the class, together with its identical twin Volkswagen Sharan, which is down by a similar percentage in the first half, but was down 22% in Q2. VW Group now holds 48,1% of all large MPV sales in Europe. The segment best seller for the past three years, the Ford S-Max loses 10% of its sales and is for now relegated to the #2 spot. The S-Max may strike back later this year unless Ford decides to pull the plug on its large MPVs early.
Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe continue their path to a fourth consecutive and their largest annual decline, with 25% fewer deliveries in the second quarter, leading to a loss of 26% in the first half of 2019. Just over 144.000 midsized MPVs were sold and delivered in these three months, and so far this year only three nameplates have managed to improve their sales on last year. Besides the competition from crossovers, it appears some potential MPV buyers are also cross shopping with van-based MPVs like the new Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Rifter as these balance their lower refinement with a lower price and more practicality. The fact that Opel/Vauxhall is not replacing the Zafira but giving its new van that same name instead is another indication of this trend. After ceding its top spot to the Volkswagen Touran in the first quarter, the Renault Scenic is back on top of the ranking after the second quarter, even though each model is down by more than 20%. That means both also improve their share of the segment slightly, while their nearest rivals from the last few years tumble hard.
The midsized car segment in Europe continues its decline in 2019 with a 18% decrease in deliveries in the second quarter, to less than 108.000 cars. In the first half of the year, sales are down 21% as the segments now accounts for just 2,5% of the European car market as just two out of the 12 available nameplates improve their sales in the first half. The segment which sold nearly 1 million units annually as recently as 10 years ago is now down even further on what already was its lowest volume ever. Interestingly, the luxury midsized car segment is down by just 1% so far this year and is 63% larger than these mainstream models. The traditional segment leader Volkswagen Passat falls faster than the overall segment but is back above 30% share in Q2, and still holds a dominant position. Its sibling Skoda Superb is the only model in the top-4 to improve its share of the segment with sales down “just” 11% while the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia loses almost a third of its sales and the Ford Mondeo is down by 22% and was outsold in Q2 by the new Peugeot 508 with its well-received design. The 508 should become a podium contender when it reaches full availability of all versions, as deliveries of the station wagon version only just started.
The compact car segment in Europe slows down its decline in the second quarter of 2019, with a loss of 8% to just over 557.000 sales, but is still down 11% for the first half as Europe’s second largest segment now accounts for 13,1% of the total market, down from 14,1% in the first six months of 2018. In both quarters the compact car segment showed lower sales than the small crossover segment (up 11% to 14,2% share of the market) and that makes the small crossovers are now the second largest segment in Europe, pushing the compact cars to #3. At least the overall best selling model still comes from the compact car segment, although the Volkswagen Golf is under threat from the Renault Clio now that a redesigned Mk VIII Golf is on the way and Volkswagen has an internal competitor with the T-Roc. Among compact cars, the Golf is still the dominant leader, even though its share is down by 0,7 percentage points to 20,4%, as it lost 14% of its sales in the first half of 2019. The already renewed Ford Focus is still in 2nd place but its margin over the Skoda Octavia was significantly smaller in Q2 with less than 700 sales separating them. The Focus is the only nameplate in the top-7 to improve its sales.
After an 8% decline in Q1 of 2019, sales of subcompact cars in Europe continue their decline in Q2 with a drop of 7%, to nearly 750.000 deliveries. In the first half of the year, Europe’s largest segment by volume accounts for 18% of the total market with sales down 7% on the same period in 2018. The Renault Clio takes firm control of the segment, outselling its nearest rival by almost 30.000 sales in Q2 and showing stable sales in the first half, leading to almost a full percentage point of additional share of the segment, to 12,3% (and even 13,3% in the second quarter). The Clio is enjoying a smooth changeover to the new generation which arrived in showrooms in Q2 while the outgoing model is still selling strong. Its rivals Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta are losing ground, with especially the latter falling behind quickly since its new generation was launched last year. The Fiesta was nearly outsold by the aging and soon-to-be-replaced Peugeot 208 in Q2 and all three sold fewer units than the surprise #3 of the segment in the second quarter: the Dacia Sandero. Despite being launched in 2012, the Sandero has managed to improve its sales every year since and its success is showing no signs of slowing down, with a 5% increase so far this year and adding nearly a percentage point of share, in the meantime passing hte Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and closing in on the 208 and Fiesta. Combined with the Zoe EV, the Nissan Micra and hte Renault Logan, the Renault-Nissan Group held a 28,3% share of the segment in the second quarter of 2019, compared to 23,4% for PSA and 19% for the VW Group.
The minicar segment in Europe reverses its decline in the second quarter of 2019 as European car buyers took delivery of nearly 340.000 minicars, a 2% gain on 2018 and leading to a 1% loss in the first half, compared to an overall market loss of 3,6%. After a dip below the 30% mark in Q1, Fiat’s dominance in this segment rebounds to 31,2% in Q2 with its two models. The Fiat 500 manages to outsell its sibling Fiat Panda by a slight margin, but not enough to reclaim the segment crown for the first half of the year. These two models are surprisingly resilient considering the 500 is in its 12th year without any major redesign and the Panda in its 8th year but is still the best performer in the segment top-10 for the first half of 2019. Surprisingly, the #3 best selling minicar in Europe in the second quarter was the Renault Twingo, helped by the recent facelift of the model. As a result, the Twingo has passed the long-time #3 of the segment Volkswagen Up! in the first-half ranking to claim 4th place behind the Toyota Aygo, after the Japanese model already leapfrogged the Up! in Q1.
After looking at the June and first half 2019 brands ranking for Europe, lets zoom in on the models ranking. Eternal best seller Volkswagen Golf is due fora redesign and loses volume for the 10th consecutive month. In fact, the Renault Clio has never been closer to taking the #1 spot in Europe, with a gap of just 1.500 sales between Europe’s two best selling cars. And the Clio is right in the middle of a changeover to the new generation, with June sales still mostly representing the outgoing model as well as the first demo registrations of the fifth generation Clio. To complete the good news for Renault in the ranking, the Captur jumps to equal its highest position ever in third place, making the podium exactly the same as the only other time this happened, in December 2017. [Read more…]