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

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.


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 …

European sales 2014 January – September Compact segment

After nine months, the European compact car segment is still up 10%, outperforming the market and, with over 1,7 million units sold, still the second largest segment of the continent.

European-car-sales-statistics-compact-segment-2014-Volkswagen_Golf-Skoda_Octavia-Seat_LeonAs expected, the VW Golf continues to lead over its rivals by a large margin, and even increasing its share of the segment to 23%, which means almost one in every four compact cars sold in Europe is a Golf. The Ford Focus had an excellent month of September thanks to the strong UK market, but it was outsold by the Skoda Octavia in both July and August. With Octavia sales up one third and Focus sales stable year-to-date, the Focus desperately needs the upcoming facelift to fend off its Czech rival next year.

The Opel/Vauxhall Astra is still waiting for its replacement and is in danger of losing its fourth place to the Peugeot 308 next year, as the latter is coming closer and closer. However, the 308 can’t afford not to look in its mirrors, as the Seat Leon is charging ahead as well, now having passed the ageing Renault Megane for sixth place. The Megane was also outsold by the Toyota Auris in August and September and may lose another spot by the end of the year. That should give some consolation to the best selling Asian compact, which has been kicked down from 6th to 8th this year.

The Hyundai i30 and Kia Cee’d lose more than 10.000 units of their volume each, although their replacements won’t be due until at least 2016.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 first half compact segment


The compact segment is up 10% in the first half of 2014, despite rumors that consumers would leave the segment in droves to buy crossovers and SUV’s.

VW-Golf-Skoda-Octavia-Seat-Leon-European-compact-car-segment-salesAmong the biggest gainers of the segment are the VW-Group siblings Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia (up two spots to an amazing third position) and Seat Leon, together accounting for over 94.000 of the segment’s 104.000 units growth. On top of that, the slightly smaller Skoda Rapid has gained another two spots thanks to the introduction of the Spaceback hatchback version to make it 4 VW-Group cars in the top-10.

The Golf is still the biggest gainer of the segment in absolute numbers, and it’s on track to sell over half a million units in Europe for the first time in 10 years. Other notable gainers are the European Car of the Year Peugeot 308, with the recently introduced station wagon version boosting sales even further, although I don’t expect it to threaten the Opel/Vauxhall Astra for fourth place.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014-Q1 compact segment

Volkswagen-Golf-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeSales of compact cars in Europe are growing slightly faster than the market in the first quarter of 2014, up 8% while the overall market is up 7%. And whereas the growth in the subcompact segment can be fully attributed to the Renault-Nissan alliance, the compact segment’s growth is fully thanks to the VW Group’s compact platform with the Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon increasing their first quarter sales by a combined 45.628 units, while the whole segment grows by 43.314 sales.

The Golf doesn’t just increase its stranglehold on the segment, it’s actually the biggest gainer in absolute figures, adding almost 19.000 units to its first quarter sales, still outselling its nearest competitor by a 2-to-1 margin.

The new generation Octavia is moving into previously unthinkable territory, surpassing the Opel/Vauxhall Astra to jump onto the segment podium. To make this performance even more incredible, the Octavia outsold the Ford Focus both in January and February to become the second best selling car of the European compact segment! … Continue Reading …

European sales 2013 compact segment

vw-golf-ford-focus-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The compact segment in Europe as a whole was stable from 2012 to 2013, and it remained the continent’s largest segment. The traditional leader Volkswagen Golf managed to sell more than twice as many cars as the segment’s number two, the Ford Focus. A feat the brand pulls off as well with the Passat in the midsize segment.

The Opel/Vauxhall Astra and the three French entrants Renault Megane, Peugeot 308 and Citroën C4 all showed double digit losses. The Megane has been facelifted at the end of 2013 and may stabilize this year, while the 308 has been renewed and is set to move back up the charts in 2014. It has already shown some impressive sales in the last quarter, taking back its place from the Hyundai i30. Peugeot has aimed the new 308 directly at the Golf in the styling department, so it may appeal to a larger audience.

The Skoda Octavia has slowly but steadily crept up the sales charts, silently moving into fourth position of the segment and 12th overall, and the Czech model is set to move up onto the podium in 2014, as it already has done in December, thanks to the new generation.… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 compact segment

vw-golf-ford-focus-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The compact segment in Europe as a whole saw a small decline of 3% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year. VW Golf remains the perennial leader by far, even increasing its market share because sales are up 2%. Ford Focus and Opel Astra complete the podium like last year, but Focus (-7%) has increased its lead over Astra (-16%) from 7.225 units last year to 21.603 this year. Astra suffers from outdated technology, with engines that lack fuel efficiency. Only 23% of Astra sales in its home market Germany were to private customers, compared to 31% and 34% for Golf and Focus respectively.

Below we see Skoda Octavia (-18%) pass Renault Megane (-26%), the former not yet fully taking advantage of its model change and the latter desperately longing for a refreshing. Toyota Auris sales are up 59% thanks to the introduction of the TS station wagon, the only hybrid station wagon on the market. As a result, Prius sales are down 31%. … Continue Reading …