Car sales statistics for the compact car segment in Europe, updated every quarter.

European sales 2016 Q1-Q3 compact car segment

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-Volkswagen_Golf-Opel_Astra-Skoda_OctaviaAt +4% in the first three quarters of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew faster than the minicar and subcompact segments, but slower than the overall market. The traditional leader Volkswagen Golf is feeling the competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, but its top spot is in no way threatened. In fact, VW feels so confident about the strength of the Golf nameplate, its upcoming facelift will keep exterior design updates to a minimum. The Golf will be made up-to-date on in-car technology, with gesture control for its multimedia system and semi-autonomous features. Meanwhile, the Astra is the biggest winner of the segment in volume terms and is now the only other compact car with a double digit share of the segment. After narrowly edging out the Ford Focus for 3rd place in the first half of 2016, the Skoda Octavia firmly consolidates that position in Q3, as the Focus is the biggest loser in the top-10.

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European sales 2016 first half compact car segment

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-Volkswagen_Golf-Opel_Astra-Skoda_OctaviaAt +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.

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European sales 2016 Q1 compact car segment

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Volkswagen_Golf-Opel_Astra-Ford_FocusAt +4% in Q1 of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew at a similar rate as the minicar and subcompact segments, at half the growth rate of the overall market. The perennial leader Volkswagen Golf is still firmly in control despite losing 2% of its volume on last year. Its nearest competitor from a year ago, the Ford Focus, also loses a percent and is overtaken by the surging Opel/Vauxhall Astra, up 30% thanks to the new generation. That still leaves the Golf untouchable, selling more than the #2 and #3 combined, but at least the competition doesn’t sit still like in the midsized segment. The Skoda Octavia is kicked off the podium, which it has impressively held for two years. And the Peugeot 308 is closing in quickly, as it already did in the final months of 2015. The Seat Leon is surprisingly stable and stays ahead of the facelifted Toyota Auris, while the Renault Megane is the biggest loser of the top-10 and drops a spot as it awaits the arrival of the new, fourth generation.

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European sales 2015 Compact segment

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2015-Volkswagen_Golf-Ford_Focus-Skoda_OctaviaSales in the second-largest segment in Europe are up 5% in 2015 to 2.317.728 units, which is a slower growth than the overall market as customers continue to switch to crossovers. The Volkswagen Golf loses half a percentage point of share, but that still leaves it with 23,1% of the segment. 2015 is probably the last year in a while the Golf tops half a million registrations, as it will start to feel increased competition from the new generation Opel-Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane. The outgoing Astra is kicked down into 5th place by the Peugeot 308 but should easily finish 2016 in 2nd place. The Skoda Octavia barely holds on to its third place as the surging 308 adds almost a third to its volume and two percentage points of share to come within 2.000 units of its Czech rival. Some stats even put the Peugeot ahead of the Octavia in the Full Year data, but when I add up their monthly sales this is what they add up to. Whichever way you look at it, this has been a stellar year for the former Car of the Year as it is single-handedly responsible for half of the segment increase and has more than doubled the nameplate’s sales in two years time.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2015 Q1-Q3 Compact segment

Volkswagen-Golf-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeThe compact car segment in Europe is up 5% in the first three quarters of 2015, which is slower than the overall market, but the segment is likely to get a boost in 2016 from a few important model launches, most notably from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra and the Renault Megane. None of these is very likely to topple the Volkswagen Golf from its first place in the segment and in fact the entire car market, as the Golf holds a firm 23% share of the segment. The top-3 is still completed by the Ford Focus and Skoda Octavia, as the latter has fallen short in its attempt to pass the Focus.

For fourth place, the Peugeot 308 is already in danger of recapitulating the position it took in the beginning of the year from the Astra, as GM is boosting the outgoing model with huge incentives. The new generation Astra has arrived in showrooms in Q4 and we’ll have to wait and see if it gains traction quickly enough to take back its fourth position by the time the year comes to an end.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2015 first half Compact segment

Sales of compact cars have stalled in Q2 of 2015, as the segment is up just 4% at the end of the first half. This is down from +10% after Q1 and just half of the overall market growth of 8% so far. That said, the Volkswagen Golf, traditional leader of the segment and the overall market, is up just 2% but remains unchallenged by a large margin. VW dealers still sell more than twice as many as their nearest competitor, the Ford Focus.

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2015-Opel_AstraAfter the Focus had to fight for its second place in the first quarter, with the Skoda Octavia outselling it in January and February, the facelift has given the Ford some renewed sales energy. It’s taken some distance from its Czech rival, which is now also challenged by the Peugeot 308, up 34% on last year. The 308 narrowed the gap to the Octavia to less than 200 units in June, while the Opel/Vauxhall Astra managed to outsell both of them that same month thanks to heavy discounts on the outgoing model as the new generation has just been revealed (pictured).… Continue Reading …

The end of the 3-door compact hatchback?

Compact-hatchback-3_door-Ford_EscortLet me take you back to some childhood memories: if you’re born in Europe, it’s very likely that your parents had a compact 3-door hatchback to haul you (and potentially your siblings) around in the backseat. In order to reach that backseat, one of the front seats had to be folded forward, giving you just enough space between the seat-back and the B-pillar to dive in. This also meant it was virtually impossible for adults to get in there, making the back seat your own little territory.

Then later, when you reached puberty and you got to borrow you parent’s car to go to clubbing with your friends, getting into the back brought glorious entertainment to all bystanders, even before anybody was drunk. Compact-hatchback-3_door-entrance-backseatThen on the way back, when one of the backseat passengers started to feel sick and the car needed to pull over, not having rear doors could mean you’d spend the rest of the way back in a sickening smell and you’d be cleaning the car interior for a few hours. Or when you started to get interested in girls and you’d get one warmed up for some backseat fun with you, stumbling into the back via that small opening could easily lead to a cooling of the mood before you even got in there together.

Well okay, not all of these memories may apply to you, but nevertheless it’s becoming ever less likely that our offspring will have similar character-building experiences, as it suddenly occurred to me that the compact hatchback is virtually dead. … Continue Reading …

European sales 2015-Q1 Compact segment

Europe’s second biggest segment keeps growing faster than the overall market, but only slightly at 10% for the compact car segment vs. 8,3% for all cars. The tight grip the Volkswagen Golf has held on the segment the last few years seems to soften a little bit, as the Golf grows slower than the segment. Still, more than one in every five compact cars sold in Europe is a Golf, and the VW Group has a 40% share of the segment, although that’s admittedly lower than 2014’s 44%.

Ford-Focus-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeThe Ford Focus is stable on the first quarter of last year, despite its recent facelift. It does hold on to its second place, but just like its smaller sibling the Fiesta, it has strong March volume in the UK to thank for that. In January and February, the Skoda Octavia clearly outsold the Focus and even the Peugeot 308 came within 1.000 units for the two months combined. With over 32.000 units, more than half of the Ford’s volume in this quarter was registered in March alone.

The aforementioned 308 is the strongest gainer in the top-20 of the segment thanks to the new generation, its station wagon version and the European Car Of The Year award in March of last year. This also means it’s now officially outselling the Opel/Vauxhall Astra for the first time since 2004 and is likely to continue to do so for the rest of the year, as the latter won’t be replaced until the end of the year.… Continue Reading …

Tough act to follow: Hyundai Elantra (UPDATED)

5th gen Hyundai Elantra

For many successful manufacturers it’s easy to point to their breakout car – Ford has its Model T, VW has the Beatle and Golf, Toyota the Corolla. What about Hyundai, currently the world’s 4th largest automaker (along with Kia)? There are a few candidates: there is the 2nd gen Santa Fe, as well as the 6th gen Sonata, but for me it’s the current (5th gen) Elantra that really stands out. While the previous generations of the other two cars were still pretty good, the current Elantra was a giant leap over its dowdy predecessor. With a giant injection of style the car went from an also-ran to close to the top of the US compact class, jumping over cars such as the Corolla and Civic in tests if not quite in sales. Still, as the chart below shows the sales of the 5th gen grew quickly and peaked at double that for the 4th gen model.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 Compact segment

Thanks to a flood of redesigned models, the compact car segment has grown faster than the overall market and has closed in on subcompact cars as the continent’s biggest segment. However, with no more new products in the pipeline until the end of the year and ever-more competition from premium compact rivals as well as small crossovers, 2015 may prove a difficult year for compact cars.

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2014-VW_Golf-Skoda_Octavia-Seat_Leon

Photo credit: Top Gear

Volkswagen Group is still ultra-dominant, increasing its share of the segment to 44% with over 1 million units sold. Of these, 865.000 are underpinned by VW’s new modular MQB platform, a number which increases to over a million units when we include the Audi A3, the premium compact segment leader, which would rank in fourth place overall if the two segments were to be combined.

Possibly even more impressive than the record 23% share of the Volkswagen Golf is the first-ever top-3 ranking of the Skoda Octavia, not that far off the second place of the Ford Focus. … Continue Reading …