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

European sales 2016 Q1-Q3 Premium Compact segment


Sales of premium compact cars grow slightly faster than the overall market in the first three quarters of 2016 at +9% vs. +7,5% and at more than double the growth rate of the mainstream compact car segment at +4%. Only four of the 14 models lose volume, among which the dominant leader Audi A3, down 4% but still almost as untouchable as its platform sibling VW Golf is in the mainstream segment. However, as I explain every quarter, Audi isn’t really as dominant as the ranking suggests. Mercedes-Benz is the real leader of the segment, with a 30,1% share (down from 30,6% in 2015) from its three models, followed by BMW with a 29,6% share (up from 29%) from its 4 models, while Audi only has a 20,7% share with its single model (down from 23,6%). Since the latter is unlikely to introduce a luxury MPV based on the Touran or Sportsvan, Audi will have to make do with just the 3- and 5-door hatchback, sedan and convertible versions of the A3.

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European sales 2016 first half Premium Compact segment

Compact_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-Audi_A3-Mercedes_Benz_A_Class-BMW_1_series The premium compact car segment grows faster than the overall market in the first half of 2016 at +10% vs. +8,8% and especially compared to the mainstream compact car segment at +6%. The German brands increase their dominance of the segment with over 83% share, and are competing fiercer than ever to attract younger, mostly first-time luxury buyers so they can try and keep them faithful to their brand when they move up the ladder. The model-ranking leader Audi A3 loses 3% of its volume as the competition heats up, but BMW becomes the biggest brand ahead of Mercedes-Benz.  The 1-series hatchback, 2-series MPV, Coupe and Convertible and the i3 electric car add up to a combined 145.000 sales, compared to 144.000 sales for the A-Class hatchback, B-Class MPV and CLA sedan and station wagon. Despite having the A3 hatchback, sedan and convertible at the top of the ranking, Audi is a distant third with “just” 104.500 sales in the first half.

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European sales 2016 Q1 Premium Compact segment

Compact_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Audi_A3-Mercedes_Benz_A_Class-BMW_1_seriesSales of premium compact cars in Europe grew faster than the overall market in Q1 of 2016, at +10%. The long-standing leader of the segment, the Audi A3, stays firmly in control despite flat sales and therefore a diminished share. Bear in mind Audi sells all versions under the same name: three-door, five-door, sedan and convertible, while its main rivals use different names to differentiate the body types. At brand level, Mercedes-Benz remains the best seller of compact luxury cars with its four vehicles under three nameplates: the Mercedes-Benz A-Class adds 19% to its volume thanks to its facelift and moves past the also facelifted BMW 1-Series for the #2 spot. The 1-series has flat sales, but the Bavarian brand still is the fastest growing brand in the segment thanks to the 61% increase of the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer, which beat the Mercedes-Benz fairly and squarely to become the best selling premium MPV.

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European sales 2015 Premium Compact segment

Compact_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2015-Audi_A3-BMW_1_series-Mercedes_Benz_A_ClassAfter a stable 2014 the premium compact car segment continues its double digit growth in 2015, adding 100.000 units or 13% of its volume to reach a record 865.724 sales. The top-3 players from each of the German luxury brands all lose a single percent of their respective volumes, as Audi A3 is the best selling model for the third year in a row and for the 12th time in the past 13 years. However, for the second year in a row, it falls just short of breaking its 2006 record of almost 203.000 sales. Keep in mind, Audi sells its hatchback, sedan and convertible all under the same name, while Mercedes-Benz classifies its CLA sedan (and station wagon) as a separate model from its A-Class hatchback, while BMW names its coupe and convertible the 2-series and the hatchback 1-series. Even if we add all versions for each brand together, the A3 remains the segment leader. Audi doesn’t make an MPV to compete with the BMW 2-series Active Tourer or the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, which makes Mercedes-Benz the biggest brand in this segment, with over 261.000 compact cars (+7,4%), but BMW is quickly closing in, improving 54% last year to 243.600 cars.

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European sales 2015 Q1-Q3 Premium Compact segment


Compact_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2014-Audi_A3The premium compact car segment continues to accelerate in 2015, with sales up 18,5% in Q3 to pull the year-to-date score up to +12%, mostly thanks to new model introductions, as the top-4 all show single-digit declines. Almost one-in-four models sold in the segment have an Audi A3 badge, in a similar fashion that its corporate sibling Volkswagen Golf controls the mainstream compact segment. However, bear in mind that the advantage of more than 50.000 units the A3 holds over its nearest rival is somewhat misleading as Audi sells both the three-door, five-door Sportback, sedan and convertible under the same badge. If you combine the Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback with the CLA sedan and wagon (shooting brake), they would add up to 135.872 units, less than 20.000 behind the A3.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2015 first half Premium Compact segment

Compact_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2015-BMW_2_series_Active_Tourer-Gran_TourerPremium compact car sales are up 10% in the first half of 2015 with Audi pushed down as the segment’s third best selling brand despite having the top-selling model with the A3. The A3 is up 2% and consolidates its first place with the BMW 1-series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class both showing slight declines. However, the BMW 2-series is a runaway success, with almost 50.000 sales in the past 6 months. The bulk of these will be the 2-series Active Tourer MPV with the rear-wheel drive coupe and convertible taking minor volumes, but altogether the Active Tourer hasn’t yet outsold the Mercedes-Benz B-Class as the best selling premium minivan. The arrival of the 7-seater 2-series Gran Tourer should help the model claim that title by the end of the year.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2015-Q1 Premium Compact segment

The compact premium segment keeps going up, and even accelerating its growth rate from 3% in 2014 to 11% in Q1 of 2015, mostly thanks to the successful introduction of a new model line: the 2-series from BMW. This is in line with the 10% growth of the mainstream compact car segment.

European-sales-premium_compact_segment-BMW_1_seriesThe Audi A3 keeps its first place of the segment and even cements it by adding another 8% to its sales of last year, while its nearest competitors both lose sales. With a more than 22.000 unit advantage over the BMW 1-series, the A3 is already virtually guaranteed to lead the segment until the end of the year, even as the facelifted 1-series hits showrooms in the second quarter.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class seems to have peaked at its third place of the segment, possibly cannibalized by the introduction of the GLA small premium crossover and the Shooting Brake station wagon version of the CLA.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 Premium Compact segment

Sales of compact premium cars in Europe rise “just” 3% in 2014 after increasing 15% the year before. That still means record sales for the segment at almost three quarters of a million units. And if you thought a 3% change in overall volume means stable model sales, think again.

Compact_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2014-Audi_A3The almost traditional leader, the Audi A3, adds 19% to almost break 200.000 units, making it the model’s third best year ever, just 3.000 short to break its own 2006 record. It did reinforce its leadership, as the BMW 1-series drops 14% as the coupe and convertible versions are now counted separately as the 2-series.

The 1-series is now trailed by just 10.000 units by its archenemy Mercedes-Benz A-class, down 8% in third place. Its MPV sibling B-Class is the biggest loser of the top-10, undoubtedly losing sales to the BMW 2-series Active Tourer, BMW’s first-ever MPV and first-ever front-wheel drive car. Unfortunately, sales of the Active Tourer and the 2-series coupe and convertible are not separated, even though all they share is their name.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 January – September Premium Compact segment

The compact premium segment in Europe is stabilizing despite several important models being replaced or renewed. Total segment sales are up just 3% after the first nine months of 2014, but you can see relatively large swings in model popularity. The Audi A3 increases its grip on the segment, improving its share to more than 27% and selling over 50.000 unit more than its nearest competitor, the BMW 1-series.

European-car-sales-statistics-premium-compact-segment-2014-Mercedes_Benz_A_Class-BMW_1_series-Audi_A3It’s increasingly more complicated to compare specific models with each other in this segment as some brands use different names for different body styles, while others combine them all in one model. For example, A3 sales include the 3- and 5-door hatchback, convertible and sedan body styles, while Mercedes-Benz separates its A-Class 3-door hatchback from the CLA sedan. BMW separates the 3- and 5-door hatchback versions of the 1-series from the coupe and convertible 2-series, but to complicate matters, sales of the 2-series also include the Active Tourer. This is a front-wheel drive MPV that competes with the Mercedes-Benz B-Class MPV and has almost no technical relationship with the rear-wheel drive coupe and convertible 2-series.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 first half Premium Compact segment


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The European compact premium segment is up a shy 3% in the first half of 2014, but this is all thanks to new entrants and increased sales of the segment leader, Audi A3. Helped by the addition of the “Limousine” sedan version, the A3 has added almost a third to its sales of last year, while its three closest rivals all lose volume in double digits. As a result, it has fortified its leadership, last year the A3 had the BMW 1-series breathing down its neck after six months, but this year they are separated by more than 35.000 sales.

The newly released BMW 2-series isn’t yet helping the brand from Munich, topping out at 1.726 sales in June, less than a tenth of June’s A3 sales. Perhaps the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class rival 2-series Active Tourer can help BMW catch up with Audi in this segment.… Continue Reading …