The midsized sedan (and station wagon) segment is losing ground in Europe just as it is across the Atlantic. In Q4 of 2016 sales were down 10% to end the year barely in the black: up just 1% from 2015 to 625.185 sales. In the last quarter, 7 models in the top-10 lost volume and all did so with double digits. The Volkswagen Passat holds on to its dominant lead but loses 3,4 percentage points of share compared to 2015 while its sibling Skoda Superb surges 70% to take 2nd place, which means Volkswagen Group still grows its share of the segment to almost 47%. The traditional podium fighters Opel/Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo are kicked down to fight for 3rd and 4th place. The Insignia holds on to its podium spot for the year, but in Q4 the Mondeo sold 600 units more than its rival which will be replaced by a new generation in 2017. However, there’s a new challenger on the block: In December the Renault Talisman outsold both of them to claim the segment 3rd place. With the Insignia weakened due to the model change and the current Mondeo having never struck a chord with European buyers, the Talisman should have a shot at the podium in the first half of the year, although the Insignia will strike back when the new generation has launched, helped by its popularity in the UK market where the Renault is absent.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off
The fourth quarter surge of the Talisman was not enough to move past the Peugeot 508 and Toyota Avensis, the latter of which finished the year slightly in the plus thanks to its facelift earlier this year, but it was already down again in Q4. The Mazda6 has fallen prey to the surging Renault and drops to 8th place with sales down 4% for the year after being in the positive until the third quarter. At the bottom end of the top-10, the Hyundai i40 is the biggest loser of the segment top-10 at -19% for the year and -36% for the quarter. However, these losses are offset by its sibling Kia Optima which almost triples its volume thanks to the new Sportswagon version and Plug-in hybrid version. As a result of this long-awaited but still relatively modest success for the Optima, the aging Citroën C5 is kicked out of the segment top-10, losing almost a third of its volume.
The i40 and C5 are expected not to be replaced after the current generations reach the end of their life cycle, similar to the Avensis, simply because this segment is stagnating as buyers are shifting towards the premium brands and crossovers. This is also reflected in the product news for 2017: besides the all-new Insignia, only the Mondeo will receive a facelift, while all models currently outside the top-13 have already been killed off.
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