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

European sales 2016 Subcompact car segment

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2016-Renault_Clio-Volkswagen_Polo-Ford_FiestaThe subcompact car segment grew by 3% in 2016, about half the overall market growth of 6,2%, but it remains the largest segment in Europe by a large margin. At the top of the ranking, we have a change of guard. For only the second time since 2009 the Ford Fiesta is not Europe’s best selling subcompact car and for the first time in a decade the Renault Clio is the segment leader.  We’ve had three different leaders in three quarters, with the Fiesta in the lead after the first quarter, but the Clio took over in Q3, while the Volkswagen Polo became the segment best seller in Q3. By year end, the Clio ended up on top with sales up 3% to just 3.500 ahead of the Polo, while the Fiesta lost 5% of its volume to drop below 300.000 annual sales for only the second time since 2002. The Clio has just been slightly facelifted and the Polo will be updated soon, but there will be an all-new generation of the Fiesta later this year, which should help the nameplate recover some of the lost ground.

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European sales 2016 Q1-Q3 Subcompact car segment

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q3-Volkswagen_Polo-Ford_Fiesta-Renault_ClioSales of subcompact cars in Europe are up just 2% in the first nine months of 2016, and they were flat in Q3. Europe’s biggest segment is in a low point of its product cycle, with a lot of new and updated models due in the coming months, including new generations for the two best sellers and a facelift of the #3. Still, only two models out of the top-12 are down year-on-year, with the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa less than one tenth of a percent. In each of the three quarters we’ve had a different leader this year: we started with the Ford Fiesta on top, then after six months the Renault Clio had taken over, and now in the third quarter the Volkswagen Polo has taken charge, even though the Fiesta outsold it in Q3 despite both being in the final stage of their life cycle. The Peugeot 208 is the big winner in the top-5 and the Dacia Sandero takes those honors for the top-10, even though it was passed by the Skoda Fabia this quarter.

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European sales 2016 first half Subcompact car segment

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-Renault_Clio-Volkswagen_Polo-Ford_FiestaSales of subcompact cars in Europe are up just 4% in the first half of 2016, compared to 8,8% for the overall market, as the best sellers are starting to age. Still, it remains the biggest segment of the continent in terms of volume. There’s been a change of leadership in Q2, with the Renault Clio grabbing the lead from the Ford Fiesta, which is due to be replaced later this year. The Fiesta has been around since 2008, and so has the Volkswagen Polo. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is even older, having been developed in 2006, but at least it had an extensive update in 2014. That leaves the Clio and the Peugeot 208 as the freshest models in the top-5, both being introduced in 2012. And it shows: the Clio is the best selling model in Q2 and the first half, while the 208 is the fastest growing model in the top-5. The Fiesta has been the segment leader since 2012 but is now relegated to third place by the Polo. It has even come under threat from the Corsa, which outsold it in May and was just 2.000 units behind for the quarter. Outside the top-5, the Toyota Yaris keeps improving slowly but steadily, although the Dacia Sandero and Skoda Fabia weren’t far behind in Q2. In fact, the Sandero grabbed 7th place from the Fabia, despite the latter being brand new in 2015.

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European sales 2016 Q1 Subcompact car segment

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Ford_Fiesta-Renault_Clio-Volkswagen_PoloThe highest volume segment in Europe grows by just 3% in Q1 of 2016, compared to 8% for the overall market. The Ford Fiesta, segment leader for the past 7 years is now under serious attack with sales down 4%, while the Volkswagen Polo adds 4% and is less than 3.000 sales behind after leapfrogging the Renault Clio and the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa. The facelifted Peugeot 208 is closing in on the top-4 as well with sales up 13%, but the big winner of the top-15 is the new generation Skoda Fabia, adding a third to its volume of last year, and passing the Dacia Sandero and Seat Ibiza for 7th place, despite continuous growth for the French-Romanian model. The Citroën C3 also gains market share and a position against the Ibiza.

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European sales 2015 Subcompact segment

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2015-Ford_Fiesta-Renault_Clio-Volkswagen_PoloThe subcompact car segment grows slower than the overall European car market at +6%, as only two models have been renewed last year. Still, 2.646.842 sales mean it’s still the biggest segment in Europe with more than 300.000 units advantage over the compact car segment. The Ford Fiesta leads for the 4th straight year and the 6th time in the last 7 years. The Renault Clio manages to hold on to its #2 spot above the Volkswagen Polo, despite the latter gaining 8% and closing in quickly. All three have sold over 300.000 units last year. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 208 and Toyota Yaris follow in the same order as the year before to keep the entire top-6 ranking stable, but the renewed Skoda Fabia adds almost as much volume as the three competitors ahead of it and moves past the Dacia Sandero and Citroën C3 to take 7th place.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2015 Q1-Q3 Subcompact segment

European-car-sales-statistics-subcompact-segment-2014-Ford_Fiesta-Renault_Clio-Volkswagen_PoloThe subcompact car segment in Europe is still up 5% after the first three quarters of 2015, which is slower than the overall market. At over 2 million units, it remains the highest volume segment of the continent. The traditional leader Ford Fiesta remains untouched despite starting to show its age, but below it there’s an interesting battle for 2nd place. So far, the Renault Clio is able to hold on to its position, but the VW Polo has come within 300 units. And considering the Polo outsold the Clio by more than 6.500 units in Q3, it’s safe to predict it will move up one spot by the end of the year. In fact, the Polo might even be challenging the Fiesta for the Q4 top spot, as it came within 2.500 units in Q3. The full-year crown looks like a one-horse race, but perhaps will 2016 be the first time since 2009 that the Fiesta doesn’t top the subcompact segment.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2015 first half Subcompact segment

Sales of subcompact cars in Europe have grown 5% in the first half to more than 1,4 million units, which is an improvement from a stable 2014 and a 3% growth in the first quarter, but still lags the overall market at +8%. The Ford Fiesta holds on to its traditional leadership of Europe’s biggest segment with growth only slightly below the segment average, despite being the oldest model of the top-8.

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2015-Volkswagen_PoloBehind the Renault Clio, segment leader in April, the Volkswagen Polo has passed the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa this quarter to reclaim third place. Both models are up 13% year-on-year thanks to their facelifts earlier this year. The Peugeot 208 has also been facelifted recently and is recovering from -3% after Q1 to +1% in the first half.

The all-new Skoda Fabia is storming up the charts, already having passed its sibling Seat Ibiza this quarter, the Czech hatchback and wagon will undoubtedly grab 7th place from the Dacia Sandero in the next quarter. The Fabia also outsold the Toyota Yaris every month in Q2, but by such a small margin that the best selling Japanese subcompact appears safe in 6th place for the rest of the year.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2015-Q1 Subcompact segment

The subcompact car segment has grown 3% in the first quarter of 2015, which is slower than the overall market, but up from almost zero growth in 2014.

Ford-Fiesta-Ecoboost-1.0-Powershift-TitaniumAs traditionally, the Ford Fiesta has held on to its lead, although the competition is getting stronger. The top-4 of the model ranking are within 10.000 units of each other, and only has its strong showing in the UK market in March to thank for its continued dominance. In January and February, the Volkswagen Polo was the segment leader, followed by the Renault Clio, pushing the Fiesta down into third place both months. But its best month in three years has helped the little Ford recover in March. It sold over 47.700 units in Europe that month, more than January and February combined, and more than 27.000 of those sales were registered in the UK.

It will be interesting to see if the aging Fiesta can hold on to its crown until the end of the year, with the Clio seemingly on a strong run, unaffected by cannibalization from the Captur small crossover, and both the Polo and the Corsa recently having been facelifted.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 Subcompact segment

Sales in the European subcompact segment have stabilized in the second half of 2014 after increasing slightly in the beginning of the year. With over 2,5 million cars sold, it remains Europe’s largest segment.

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2014-Ford_FiestaEven though sales of the model slowed in the fourth quarter, the segment’s bestseller Ford Fiesta has managed to fend off a simultaneous coup by the Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo. However, both these models outsold the Fiesta in each of the last four months of the year, so taking the 2015 crown again is not a matter of course for the small Ford.

Add to that a facelift (although GM likes to call it a new generation) of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa in the beginning of the year, and the subcompact segment may turn out to be one of the most heavily contested in the market this year.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 January – September Subcompact segment

Sales of subcompact cars in Europe remain stable at a 1% growth year-on-year after the first nine months of 2014. It remains the largest segment of the continent at almost 2 million units sold.


Photo credit: AutoZeitung

The traditional leader Ford Fiesta has taken some distance from the Renault Clio in second place, mainly thanks to an excellent month of September, in which the small Ford outsold all of its rivals by a margin of at least 10.000 units, similar to last March. These months are the peak months in the UK market, where the Fiesta is particularly strong. In August, the Fiesta was outsold by both the VW Polo and the Clio. The Polo has just been facelifted and has outsold the Renault Clio in both August and September. I think the advantage of the Clio is large enough to hold onto its position until the end of the year, but it better prepare for a battle in 2015.

The Peugeot 208 continues to struggle, down 10% on last year. A Peugeot spokesperson at the Paris Auto Show last month explained to me that the brand prefers profit over volume and therefore chooses not to dump the model to rental companies at very low margins. Also, the 208 is set to get a facelift next year to keep it fresh.

A recent facelift of the Toyota Yaris, with the new X-shaped front-end that’s the brand’s new family face is likely to keep the small Toyota in the plus this year.… Continue Reading …