Sales of midsized cars in Europe are down slightly again in the first quarter of 2014, after declining already 22% in the full year 2013. No change at the top, with the Volkswagen Passat still firm in the lead, although no longer selling twice as much as the number two of the segment.
In fact, the new generation Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, helped by more fuel efficient engines, is the second fastest improving model of the segment, right behind the venerable Ford Mondeo. The outgoing Mondeo is in sell-out mode to prepare for the arrival of the new generation, at last. That model has been on sale in the United States as the Ford Fusion since 2012, but the European market introduction was delayed due to the closure of the Ford Factory in Gent, Belgium and the subsequent migration of the production to Valencia in Spain. A similar fate has befell the Ford Galaxy and S-Max, also currently in sell-out mode.
The Skoda Superb moves into fourth position, passing the Peugeot 508 which is in a freefall: down 2 positions and losing one third of its sales, after already losing a similar percentage over the full year 2013. Remember when the 508 was only 13.500 sales behind the Insignia over the full year 2012? Well, it’s already almost that same number of sales behind the Opel after just 3 months into 2014. The French seem to have lost any grip on the segment that they may have had, as each and every model from Citroën, Peugeot and Renault is down in 2014, just like they were in 2013 already.
They are not on their own, though. The only two other models to increase sales in the first three months of this year are the Mazda6 thanks to its new generation, and -surprisingly- the Subaru Legacy/Outback.
Model changeovers expected in 2014 are the Volkswagen Passat and the long-awaited Ford Mondeo. A few other models will receive updates this year, most desperately needed for the Peugeot 508 and the Citroëns C5 and DS5. These three will get new, more fuel efficient engines, which should help them stabilize their decline.
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