The small MPV segment in Europe as a whole saw a healthy increase of 13% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year, thanks to the introduction of two major new players who have shaken up the segment. Fiat 500L and Ford B-max were introduced in 2012 and are now the number 1 and 2 of the segment, knocking Opel Meriva off the top spot. With the European population aging, this segment will show even more growth in the future, as these models are very popular among the elderly carbuyers, because of their high seating position. Marketed mainly towards young families, the target group tends to prefer small SUVs for their style or mid-sized MPVs for their practicality.
Fiat 500L has been a welcome addition to the Fiat 500-family and has helped its utterly forgettable predecessor Idea to do exactly that: be forgotten quickly. In its home market Italy, it has been outselling its namegiver for three consecutive months and has been on the podium twice. Half of its European sales come from outside Italy, which may be more than any other large Fiat has accomplished since Fiat 127 in the seventies. Even in the US, the Serbian-built MPV has helped offset falling sales of the original Fiat 500 to keep Fiat brand sales flat year-to-date. Maybe this incredibly funny commercial “I’ve got my hose in the back” has got anything to do with it. [Read more…]