Sales of minicars in Europe decline by 1% in 2017 to just under 1,25 million units, which means their share of the total European car market declined from 8,4% in 2016 to 8,1%. The segment is expected to show another small decline in 2018 before stabilizing at about 1,23 million sales until 2020. Fiat remains ultra-dominant in this segmentwith a share of over 30% thanks to its two models. Thanks to an increase of 3%, the Fiat 500 reclaims the segment lead it also held from 2013 to 2015, knocking its sibling Fiat Panda down into 2nd place. Even though their total European volumes are within a few thousand units of each other, there’s a big difference in the way these two models achieve these sales. The 500 is successful across almost all of Europe, while the Panda is heavily dependent on its home market Italy, which accounts for 78% of its sales (or almost 146.000 units), compared to just 28,5% for the 500 (or nearly 54.000 sales). The closest rival to the Italian duo, Volkswagen Up! is back above 100.000 sales thanks to its facelift, helping it to a 16% gain in the fourth quarter. That allowed the Slovakia-built German model to distance itself from the Hyundai i10, which was in third place for the third quarter. In Q4, the i10 was outsold by the Renault Twingo, which finished the year in 6th place, behind the Toyota Aygo.
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The Aygo is by far the most successful of the PSA-Toyota Kolin triplets, as the Peugeot 108 and Citroën C1 are down by double digits and each sell less than 56.000 units, compared to stable sales at over 84.000 units for the Aygo which takes 43,7% of sales of these three. This difference isn’t as large as that between the VW Group triplets, where the Skoda Citigo and especially the Seat Mii sell only a fraction of their clone sister Up! which claims 66,3% of total sales of the three models. Unsurprisingly, there are rumors that the Spanish version will be axed soon and potentially the Citigo as well. The best performer in the top-10 in 2017 is the Kia Picanto thanks to its new generation, up 13% and 3 places to finish the year at #8. That knows the Opel Karl / Vauxhall Viva out of the top-10, and the South Korean models are even almost outsold by their more upscale and trendy stablemate Opel/Vauxhall Adam. The Suzuki Ignis is the big surprise of the year, landing at #13 despite (or thanks to?) its hate-it-or-love-it styling. It sells almost double the volume of its cheaper and more practical (but more boring) stablemate Celerio.
If we look at the ranking for combined platforms, we see that behind Fiat with the aforementioned 30,2% share, the Kolin triplets of PSA and Toyota hold 15,5% of the segment (down from 16,7%), Renault-Daimler(Smart) holds 14,2% (down from 15,1%), while Hyundai-Kia at 12,2% (up from 11,1%) overtakes the VW Group triplets which hold a similar 12,2% share of the segment (but slightly lower volume).
There won’t be a lot of news in the minicar segment for 2018. The Celerio and Adam are expected to be facelifted and Smart will launch electric versions of its Fortwo and Forfour.
|11||Opel Karl / Vauxhall Viva||49.516||57.458||-14%|
|16||Mitsubishi Space Star / Mirage||30.016||27.386||10%|
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Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.