Sales of small MPVs in Europe are falling at accelerating pace with a 44% decline in the fourth quarter leading to a loss of 26% in 2017. With less than 225.000 sales the segment now accounts for just 1,5% of total European volume, down from 2% in 2016. With two more models being pulled out of the class, this segment will consist of just 4 models as of 2018, of which one a low-volume EV. With a 23% loss the segment leader Fiat 500L actually improves its share of the shrinking segment to 28,1% but still sells almost 20.000 fewer units. It has also become more dependent on its home market Italy, which accounts for 73,6% of its European sales in 2017. At least the 500L can claim that it’s the best seller in one country: its production home Serbia. The surprise #2 of the segment this year is the Ford B-Max with a gain of 7%. What’s surprising about this is that until last year, sales of the B-Max had been slowly declining for 4 years, and moreover production of the model ended in September 2017. The last few thousand remaining in dealer stock will be sold off in early 2018. As a result of PSA replacing the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Citroën C3 Picasso with crossover models, sales of these two models were also in freefall in Q4, and these two will also sell of remaining stock in early 2018.
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This has allowed the Hyundai ix20 to jump on the segment podium for the very first time despite a 6% decline. The ix20 and its sibling Kia Venga have been impressively stable over their life cycle and are being rewarded by extending their production even though the South Korean brands both launched small crossovers in 2017, models which were intended to replace these two MPVs. The Venga is down 9% but adds two percentage points of share of the segment and will be the #3 model in its class in 2018. The final model that will remain in 2018 is the Opel Ampera-e, the European version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Opel desperately needed this car under General Motors as it was way behind in engine technology due to underinvestment, leading to above average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, on which it would have to pay huge fines. The Ampera-e would lower its average fleet fuel consumption and save the company millions in fines, so much that it was prepared to sell the Ampera-e at a loss per unit. With PSA as the new owner of Opel, the brand has now access to the engine technology of the French which will allow it to reduce its fuel consumption with every model that is developed onto a PSA platform, so much quicker and cheaper than it could have done by itself, reducing the need for high, loss-making volume of the Ampera-e. And since PSA buys this car from General Motors it has no incentive to sell it at a loss, and as a result it has raised prices as soon as the takeover was a done deal. That greatly reduces the Ampera-e’s chances of success in Europe, and it’s likely to remain a niche player, especially compared to the Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf and upcoming Hyundai Kona EV.
|Small MPV segment||2017||2016||Change|
|6||Citroën C3 Picasso||21.617||36.754||-41%|
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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.