The high double-digit sales increases of small crossovers in Europe are slowing down to a still very impressive 34% in the first quarter of 2015, compared to adding more than 50% last year. Obviously, the segment is starting to mature, with four of the top-5 players growing slower than the rest of the segment, thanks to the introduction of 3 more new nameplates: Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X and Suzuki Vitara. With sales of over 240.000 units in the first quarter, sales of small crossovers could hit the 1 million sales this year.
Unsurprisingly, the Renault Captur holds on to its lead, with over 50.000 sales in the first three months of the year. If it can keep up this pace, it will break through the 200.000 unit barrier for the entire year. That would be a very impressive performance for a model that’s only been on the market for 2,5 years and for which the manufacturer had estimated an annual volume of 120.000 units. It reminds me of the introduction of the Renault (Megane) Scenic in 1996, which was a revolution at the time, creating a segment with sales exceeding 1 million units between 2004 and 2008 and which peaked at over 1,35 million sales. The Scenic sold over 250.000 units in 1998 and continued to grow to more than 300.000 units in 2000.
But the most impressive performer in the first three months of this year is the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, with sales up 42% to jump from fourth to second place of the segment, and even closing in on the Astra compact to become the second best selling model for GM in Europe.
The Peugeot 2008 held the segment second spot in January, but has lost out on the Mokka since. With a facelift of the little Peugeot coming up in the second half of the year, it looks like the segment podium is already fixed for the rest of the year.
The Fiat-Chrysler twins have made an impressive entrance to the segment, with sales of both models still gaining traction in the market, but with each above 5.000 sales in March, they’re off to a great start in Europe. By the end of the year, the 500X will be ahead of the Renegade thanks to its larger dealer network and better brand recognition, and it may even close in on the Nissan Juke if all stars are aligned for the model.
The Ford Ecosport is finally picking up steam after a very slow start. In the second half of this year, Ford will start deliveries of the Ecosport without that awful 1990s-style spare wheel on the back, including improved insulation of sound and vibrations, so the model will hopefully be up to European standards at last.
Suzuki now has three models in the segment, with the all-new Vitara arriving in showrooms in the first quarter and immediately becoming the brand’s second best selling model, behind the Swift subcompact. This is in line with Suzuki’s expectations of the Vitara becoming the brand’s best seller in Europe. The Jimny even manages to improve as well, while the SX4 is no longer available in all European countries and is kicked out of the top-10.
|Small Crossover segment||Q1 2015||Q1 2014||Change|
|11.||Suzuki Vitara (est.)||1.481||0||new|
Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2013 and monthly sales in 2012, 2013 and 2014, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.