The minicar segment shows a slight recovery in Q3 of 2017 with a gain of 1% but is still down by 1% for the first 9 months of 2017, with almost 980.000 sales. Fiat’s share of the segment is down on the first half of the year but up on the first three quarters of 2016, with 30,6% share of the segment and holding on to the top two positions with the 500 and Panda. The Volkswagen Up! remaims #3 of the segment, with less than half the sales of the best seller, but was the only model in the segment that showed double-digit growth in Q3. However, it was still outsold by the Hyundai i10 in the third quarter, the fastest growing model in the year-to-date top-5. The gap between the two models is too large to be closed in the last quarter, so another podium finish for the Up! seems to be wrapped up. The fifth placed Toyota Aygo is the best seller of the Kolin triplets, built together with PSA, and also the only of the three to continue growing its sales, as the Peugeot 108 and Citroën C1 are both down by double digits. The same can be said of the remaining two members of the VW triplets, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii.
The collapse of the Minicar segment continues
After briefly returning to growth in the first quarter of 2017, the minicar segment in the United States fell back into the red in the second quarter of this year, and firmly remained there in the third quarter, even if the 36% fall in sales in Q3 was slightly less bad than the 47% drop recorded in Q2. All in all, sales in the minicar segment were only 63,023 over the first three quarters of 2017, down from 90,095 in 2016, which is roughly how many Toyota RAV4s are sold in a month and a half!
The minicar segment continues to shrink in 2017 as has been forecasted by analysts, before it is expected to stabilize until 2020. Since minicars are unaffected by competition from crossovers, the segment is expected remain stable after a second year of small declines. Despite the downturn for the segment, minicars still account for 8,3% of new car sales in Europe with just over 692.000 sales in the half. Fiat retains the 31,5% share of the segment it held in Q1, up from 30,1% in the first half of 2016 and 28,1% in all of 2016. Both of its models, the Panda and the 500, improve their sales and each sells more than double the volume of any other nameplate in the segment. But while the 500 is popular across most of Europe, the Panda remains extremely dependent on its home market Italy for almost 80% of its sales (vs. 30,5% for the 500). Thanks to a strong second quarter, the 500 closes the gap to the #1 position and could reclaim the segment leadership after just one year of Panda domination. The Volkswagen Up! is down by 3% but holds on to its third place, although the Hyundai i10 is closing in thanks to a 10% increase. In the first half of last year, the i10 was in 6th place but it finished 2016 in 4th place before dropping back to 5th in Q1. This may be the year the South-Korean hatchback jumps onto the segment podium.
Minicar segment collapsed in the second quarter of 2017, with only Mitsubishi Mirage recording YTD sales gains
After briefly returning to growth in the first quarter of 2017, the Minicar segment in the United States fell back into the red in the second quarter of this year. And what a fall it was – sales fell by almost a half compared to Q2’16, to only 19,019 units, the largest fall from among all segments by a wide margin.
Sales of minicars in Europe lost 5% in the first quarter of 2017 with 360.000 units sold, compared to an overall market growth of 7,8%. Fiat remains segment leader with two models on top, and both outgroing the rest of the segment, to increase its total share to 31,5%. After reclaiming the lead from its sibling Fiat 500, the Fiat Panda consolidates its first place, but once again it is extremely dependent on its home market Italy which accounts for 81,8% of its total European sales (up from 78,4% in 2016-Q1), compared to “just” 31,6% for the 500. In third place we still find the Volkswagen Up!, but the Toyota Aygo is just 700 units behind after taking third place in February. And the Hyundai i10 isn’t far away in fifth place either, after being the fastest growing model in the segment top-10. [Read more…]
The Minicar segment in the United States has returned to growth in 2017 after an abysmal 2016 when sales dipped with double digits. In the first quarter of 2017, sales of North America’s smallest vehicles grew by 8.5% to 27,388 units. Fueling this increased demand were the new generation Chevrolet Spark and the facelift of the Mitsubishi Mirage, which have now taken over the first two spots of the segment podium, knocking the former leader Mini Cooper down to third. The Fiat 500 appears to have hit rock bottom and slightly recovers this year
With a bit of a delay we’ll start with the European segment analyses for 2016, starting of course with the minicar segment. Sales of minicars in Europe were stable in 2016 with 1,33 million units sold, compared to an overall market growth of 6,2%. Fiat still holds the top 2 spots of the podium and grows its share of the segment to over 28%, but after 3 years of Fiat 500 reign the Fiat Panda has reclaimed leadership of the segment it led from 2004 until 2012. The Volkswagen Up! holds on to its third place but loses 8% of its volume. The Renault Twingo, leader of the segment between 1999 and 2003, is knocked down into 5th place by the Hyundai i10 and feels the Toyota Aygo breathing down its neck. All three models lose volume in 2016. The Smart Fortwo is the biggest winner in the top-10 with sales up 21%, jumping four places on 2015 and two places on Q3 of 2016. The small two seater even outsold the Aygo in Q4. [Read more…]
The Minicar segment in the United States has been hurt badly by the low gasoline prices in 2016, with sales down 11.0%, the worst fall from all the segments. However, the situation improved markedly for the segment in Q4, when it was the only segment to substantial growth (5.6 percent), driven mainly by substantial sales growth for models: Chevrolet Spark and Mitsubishi Mirage.
After looking at the Success stories of 2016 in the US, Success stories of 2016 in Europe and Disappointments of 2016 in Europe, it’s time to look at who put in disappointing performances in the US in 2016. Coming soon – our predictions for 2017.
1. Mainstream and premium sedan segments
As some readers have pointed out, 2016 was definitely the year of the SUV/crossover. However, there is more to that story, as customers flocking to buy such cars abandoned the more traditional segments in droves, both for mainstream and premium brands. Overall, sales in the mainstream non-SUV sectors fell by 6 percent in the first three quarters of the year compared to 2015, while those in the premium non-SUV sectors fell by over 13 percent. Brands caught in this whirlwind include Mazda (sales down 7.2 percent through November), BMW (down 10.4 percent) and Acura (down 10.6 percent). Looking a bit closer, we see that some models which feature at the head of the segments were hit particularly hard: Toyota Camry (down 9.4 percent), Ford Fusion (down 10.2 percent), Mercedes-Benz C class (down 11.7 percent) or the ubiquitous BMW 3/4 series (down 28.2 percent). With SUVs/crossovers going from strength to strength, it’s unclear whether this trend will reverse anytime soon.
With a bit of a delay we’ll start with the European segment analyses for the first three quarters of 2016, starting of course with the minicar segment. After growing 5% in the first half of the year, sales of Europe’s smallest cars have dropped in Q3, reducing the year-to-date growth rate to just 1%. The slowdown of the Volkswagen Up! and the Fiat Panda are largely responsible for this, and this has enabled the Fiat 500 to outsell its sibling in Q3 and threaten it for the segment’s full year top position which it has held since 2013. The third place of the Up! appears unthreatened, but the Renault Twingo has dropped from 4th place in the first half to 6th place after nine months after being outsold by the Toyota Aygo and Hyundai i10. The latter of these two was the #3 seller of the segment in Q3, even topping the little VW. The Lancia Ypsilon holds on to its 7th place, but all five of its closest challengers in places 8 to 12 were within 150 sales of each other in Q3 and all outsold the Ypsilon this quarter.