After five years of domination, the Audi A3 is no longer the best selling compact car from a luxury brand in Europe. In 2018, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class topped the charts for the very first time, as the overall segment shrank for the second year in a row, to below 800.000 sales, 5,2% of the entire European car market. The A-Class, helped by the introduction of the fourth generation, gained 7% to set the nameplate’s highest annual sales figure since 2005 at over 150.000 sales. The A3 lost 13% of its sales while the BMW 1-series was down 7% and was stuck in third place. Just off the podium we find two MPV models, of which the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer is still the best seller despite losing 20% of its sales, as the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is down just 6%. The Mercedes-Benz CLA is down 9% which means it maintains is share of the segment, despite slowly starting to age. [Read more…]
The large SUV segment is one of the smallest in Europe with fewer than 43.000 sales in 2018, down 20% on the year before. Compare that to the US where over 2 million of these vehicles were sold last year, up 3,4%.The entire top-3 loses share and the segment best seller barely managed to sell over 10.000 units last year. Unlike the midsized crossover segment, where some models are also available as 7-seaters, there are not a lot of new entrants to this segment in Europe, but brands are actually withdrawing their slow selling models, like Nissan which no longer sells the Murano and Pathfinder and Mazda which never really sold the CX-9 in significant quantities, as opposed to the US. The latest newcomer is the Ford Edge in 2016, but after storming to the top of the ranking in its first full year of sales, we have a change of leadership for the fourth consecutive year, as the Kia Sorento reclaims the top spot that the Ford Edge stole from the Hyundai Santa Fe just one year before.
Sales of compact crossovers continue to surge in Europe, with a 15% gain in 2018 to over 1,7 million sales or 11,1% of the overall market, up from 9,6% in 2017 and 7,7% in 2016. Most of the growth comes from newly launched or very recent models. We’ve decided to separate 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 up 15% to 13,7% of the total European car market, and VW Group and Renault-Nissan each control 22% and PSA another 17% of these segments combined, for a whopping 61% share by just three manufacturers. The Nissan Qashqai is still the best selling crossover in Europe, despite losing 7% on its record volume of 2017. Its closest rival is still the Volkswagen Tiguan, down 9% although its figures are estimates, as we don’t have official split figures from the 7-seater Tiguan Allspace and we estimate a 15% take rate for that version, which is featured in the midsized crossover segment. The Peugeot 3008 continues its impressive run and also crosses the 200.000 sales threshold thanks to a 20% increase on last year. When combining these segments, the 3008/5008 duo would be on top of the charts, just ahead of the Qashqai/X-Trail, with the Tiguan trailing at a distance. By any standard an impressive performance from the French brand, and we’re curious to see how the all-new Citroën C5 Aircross will perform once its deliveries start to show its true potential.
After briefly stabilizing in 2017, sales of small crossovers in Europe continued their booming growth curve with a 29% increase in 2018, to 1,94 million. As a result, this segment now accounts for 12,6% of the overall European car market, up almost three percentage points in a single year. Undoubtedly, over 2 million small crossovers will be sold in Europe in 2019, and it could very easily become the second largest segment after subcompact cars, but overtaking compact cars (the “Golf class”). It’s not only one of the biggest segments in terms of volume, but also in the number of players, with no less than 28 models by the end of 2018 and another handful of newcomers arriving in 2019. Meanwhile, the Renault Captur celebrates a fifth consecutive year on top of the ranking and remains the only nameplate in the segment to sell more than 200.000 copies per year, and it has done so for three years in a row without any rival coming close, even with a second generation coming out this year. In fact, the Captur’s closest rival in 2018 comes from its own ranks: the Dacia Duster sets a new annual sales record for the third straight year, improving an impressive 24% on last year’s record. Still, the Duster also loses share as that is less than the overall segment growth. The Peugeot 2008 sees stable sales, just like the Captur, but manages to stay on the podium despite losing almost 3 percentage points of share, again: just like the Captur.
Sales of large MPVs in Europe were down in each quarter of 2018 and the segment was down by 30% over the course of the year. As a result, European families and rental companies bought fewer than 100.000 large MPVs, or 0,6% of the total market, down from 0,8% in 2017 and 1% in 2016. This is the lowest segment volume in at least two decades and the future of the segment looks bleak as fewer brands see profitability at these volumes and 7-seat crossovers continue to cannibalize their MPV rivals, even though the latter are still way more space efficient and practical. All of the six remaining players in this segment show double digit losses and only three sell over 20.000 units. The Ford S-Max holds on to the segment lead but loses one third of its sales compared to 2017. Its less dynamic and more roomy sibling Ford Galaxy does slightly better with a loss of “just” 23% and an increase of share, but nonetheless this is the worst year for both Fords since 2015 when their current generations were just about to be launched.
The midsized MPV segment in Europe has declined for the third consecutive year and 2018 shows the biggest loss yet with a loss of 20% on the previous year to over 600.000 sales, the lowest annual sales since 1999, not long after the Renault Megane Scenic jumpstarted this segment in 1997. Sales of midsized MPVs peaked in 2006 and 2007 at nearly 1,5 million sales in Europe, but are now down 60% from that level and falling quickly, with a loss of 42% just in Q4 of 2018. The segment is down one percentage point to just 3,9% of the overall European car market. Like in all MPV segments, brands are replacing their MPVs by crossovers which are more popular. Only one nameplate in the top-10 managed to improve its sales, two others saw single digit declines while the remaining seven players suffered double digit declines on 2017. In this harsh environment, the Renault Scenic takes the annual lead for the first time since the launch of its fourth generation in 2016 and improves its share of the segment thanks to a decline of “just” 15%. 2016 and 2017 leader Volkswagen Touran stabilizes its share but is down into second place, just ahead of the best seller in 2015 and 2014 Citroën C4 Picasso (now baptized C4 Spacetourer). However, as both the Scenic and the C4 Spacetourer are available in 2 versions, a normal 5-seater and a three-row Grand version, we should also combine the Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan with the Touran for an honest comparison. And then VW is still in the lead, despite a 33% loss for the Sportsvan, which is unlikely to be continued for much longer after the regular Golf is renewed later this year.
2018 Sales of small MPVs in Europe are falling at accelerating pace with a 48% decline to fewer than 135.000 sales, which means the segment now accounts for less than 1% of total European volume. And this result would have been much worse if we hadn’t decided to include the Honda Jazz into this segment now as well, after frequent comments from our readers. The Jazz is also classified a subcompact hatchback, but we agree there’s validity in the reasoning why it should also be compared to the small MPVs. Without the Jazz, the segment would be down 57% as it’s now one of just 2 models to improve their sales in this segment, whil all others lose 20% or more. The Fiat 500L holds on to its segment lead and increases its share of the segment as it has done every year since its launch. But that’s less a result of its own strength than of the segment’s weakness as sales off the big Fiat have declined for 4 years in a row now, just by less than the overall segment as competitors have been killed. The Jazz now moves into second place of the segment, by far the highest of any Honda model in any segment in Europe. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized cars in Europe have declined by double digits in 2018 for the second consecutive year, after a sharp rebound in 2015 and stable sales in 2016. The segment which sold nearly 1 million units as recently as 10 years ago is now down to its lowest volume ever at less than half that volume. At just 450.000 sales, mainstream midsized cars now account for less than 3% of the European market, down from 3,5% in 2017 and from 6,9% in 2007. Only one nameplate in the segment has been able to add volume last year and only two saw single digit declines with the remaining players in double digit decline. Segment leader Volkswagen Passat did only slightly better than the rest of the segment at -16% to increase its share to 34,2% of the segment. Its platform sibling Skoda Superb holds on to 2nd place which means that a VW-Skoda duo finishes on top of the annual ranking in both the compact and midsized segments for the second consecutive year, and that VW Group now sells more than one of every two midsized cars sold in Europe, with these two models. The Opel/Vauxhall Insignia is the only model to even come close to the dominant players, and it was just 3.000 sales behind the Superb at the end of August, with sales up 25%. But then came the new WLTP fuel efficiency testing standards, and sales of the Insignia collapsed as in Q4 the model sold just half of what it sold in the same period of 2017, and it ended 2018 with a 7% loss. At least that means it improved its share of the segment to 15%. [Read more…]
Sales of compact cars in Europe declined 9% in 2018 to just over 2,13 million units, as Europe’s second largest segment now accounts for 13,8% of the total market, down from 15,1% in 2017. That means it is under threat from both the small crossover segment (up 29% to 12,6% share of the market) and the compact crossover segment (up 17% to 11,3% of the market). That also explains the main reason for the decline of the compact car segment: customers deflecting to crossovers. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf slightly improves its share of the segment despite an 8% loss of sales, translating to almost 37.000 lost sales which is about as much as the Mazda3 sold last year. In second place we find the Skoda Octavia for the second straight year with sales down 5%, but it still sells less than half the number of cars of its sibling. Despite being replaced at the very end of the year and thus being in run-out mode with the outgoing model, the Ford Focus manages to reclaim a podium position after spending 2 years in fourth place. That is a result of the Opel/Vauxhall Astra losing 27% of its sales in 2018 after already losing 14% in 2017. The Astra was #2 of the segment in 2016, #3 in 2017 and is now down one more spot, and only 5.000 units ahead of 5th place.
The subcompact car segment in Europe was stable at nearly 2,79 million sales in 2018, with sales up by just 800 cars. Europe’s largest segment by volume still accounts for 18% of the total market. The top-3 positions remain the same as they were for the last two years and the top-5 rankings are unchanged from last year. That means the Renault Clio celebrates three years on top of the segment, while it’s due for a redesign in 2019 and its closest two rivals have already been updated last year. As a result, the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta are closing in in the top spot, but have been unable to knock the French model off its throne. The Clio is one of only two models in the top-10 that’s available as a station wagon (together with the Fabia), but that version is expected to be cut for the next generation, so we will see how that influences the fight for the top spot. The Peugeot 208 consolidates its 4th place despite a 5% loss as its closest rival Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is down 7%.