Sales of small MPVs continue to nosedive, as 2016 segment volume is down 12% in the fourth quarter and down 14% for the full year, barely staying above 300.000 sales. That means the entire segment sells fewer units than the Renault Clio by itself. This also makes it by far the fastest shrinking segment in Europe for the second year running. Until 2014, more than 400.000 small MPVs were consistently sold every year. Unsurprisingly, all models share the pain, with not a single nameplate growing its volume in 2016, after only one model improved in 2015. The segment leader Fiat 500L shows the slowest rate of decline at -4% and improves its share of the segment to 27% and logically remains on top of the ranking, followed by the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, which will be replaced in 2017 by the Crossland X. This will be a more crossover-like model, co-developed with PSA which will launch a new generation Citroën C3 Picasso on the same platform. The Ford B-Max is unlikely to be replaced when it hits the end of its life cycle, but holds on to the third spot is took from the Nissan Note in the beginning of this year.
Sales in the Mid-sized segment fell by 10.1 percent in 2016, a performance so bad it almost matched the 11.0 percent fall in sales registered by the Minicar segment (the worst among all mainstream segments). Midsized cars used to be the segment where the money was made, even when SUVs and crossovers started to gain a foothold in the US car market during the 1990s and early 2000s. But that boom has started to pick up speed this year, fueled by hot new models and affordable gas. In contrast there haven’t been many major model updates in the midsized segment lately. As a result, the largest-selling segment in 2016 by far was Compact SUVs (sales up 3.9 percent), with Mid-sized cars coming in second, followed closely by the Large Pickups and Compact segments (sales up 3.6 and down 4.5 percent, respectively). With new models like Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima failing to connect with buyers, only the new Toyota Camry and Honda Accord stand between the segment and losing third spot in the standings to the Large Pickups segment.
The small MPV segment in Europe is dying quickly at -15% in the first three quarters of 2016, and it may drop below 300.000 units this year, down by a third on 2013 when Europeans bought more than 450.000 small MPVs. Those customers have switched to buying small crossovers, which are more trendy and also offer a higher seating position, one of the main selling points of these cars. Not a single of the still existing models in this segment improved its sales on last year, with the Nissan Note taking the biggest hit, losing almost a quarter of its volume and the Citroën C3 Picasso performing the best at just -2%. The Fiat 500L remains the distant leader thanks to its home market Italy which buys 2 out of 3 500L’s sold in Europe. The Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Ford B-Max complete the top-3. GM and PSA are developing the next generation Meriva and C3 Picasso together and are designing more crossover-like models to appeal to a wider audience. The Meriva will be renamed Crossland X.
Sales of Mid-sized cars in the United States fell by 16 percent in the third quarter of 2016, as the freefall of sales in the segment accelerates. Midsized cars used to be the segment where the money was made, even when SUVs and crossovers started to gain a foothold in the US car market during the 1990s and early 2000s. But that boom has started to pick up speed this year, fueled by hot new models and affordable gas. In contrast there haven’t been many major model updates in the midsized segment lately. As a result, compact crossover are expected to become the biggest segment this year, with even the full-sized pickup truck and the compact car segments closing in on midsized cars in recent months and even threatening to push the segment to fourth place. Until the segment gets an injection of fresh product, for example from the next generation Toyota Camry next year, there will be little that can turn this fate around. Out of the 14 midsized models, only 3 improved their sales in Q3, with 9 models showing double digit losses.
Normally when you think of Ford Fusion (or Mondeo, as it’s known in Europe) taking design inspiration from another car, your thoughts immediately go to the Aston Martin-esque front grille. And rightly so – Ford’s decision to unashamedly adopt a family grille whose shape is much like that of the British sports car maker has received a lot of press, especially given that Ford used to own Aston Martin. However, this is not the only case of the Blue Oval taking design inspiration from cars produced by a brand it used to own.
Sales of small MPVs in Europe are slowing down fast, as customers are switching away from these roomy alternatives to subcompact hatchbacks in favor of the more trendy crossovers that are gaining popularity quickly. And the manufacturers are giving the people what they need: there are no new models entering the segment, and the existing models that are due to be redesigned are all switching to a more SUV-like design. All of the top-5 players in this segment also have a crossover model in their line-up and all of those are outselling their MPV counterparts, making this segment a difficult business case to spend money on developing a next generation small MPV. As a result of that, the aging segment (not only in terms of model age, but also the age of the prospective buyers) is down 15% in the first half of 2016, dipping below 200.000 sales as only one of the players in this segment sells more than it did last year, and by a tiny margin.
Sales in the Mid-sized segment fell by 11 percent in the second quarter, the largest fall amongst the mainstream segments. This comes as a disappointment after the segment showed signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2016, when it did better than the Minicar, Subcompact and Compact segments. It is doubly disappointing given the amount of new metal in the segment: cars that have gone on sale in the past half year include the new-for-2016 Chevy Malibu and Kia Optima, as well as the facelifted Nissan Altima, while the Hyundai Sonata and facelifted VW Passat are also less than one year old.
The demise of the small MPV segment in Europe accelerates in the first quarter of 2016, as sales plunge by 20% after a 15% drop in 2015. Just one model shows an increase in sales (with the exception of the 3 sales of the Lancia Musa, a model that ended production in 2012), and two more lose single digit volume, while 7 models show double digit declines. This is partially due to a lack of new products, but also a result of cannibalization from small crossovers, the fastest growing mainstream segment in Europe. These are similarly priced and sacrifice a bit of practicality for less awkward design. The Fiat 500L gains market share with sales down “just” 15% and is now at 26% of the segment. The Opel/Vauxhall Meriva loses just 3% even though a replacement is due later this year. That new generation is being co-developed with PSA who will market a new C3 Picasso version of that same model. And to reflect the shift of interest by consumers from MPVs to crossovers, the new Meriva and Picasso will have a more SUV-like design, similar to the current generation Peugeot 3008 and the latest version of the Renault Espace.[Read more…]
Sales in the mid-sized segment fell by 3% compared to Q1 2015, pushing this once-largest segment further behind compact SUV cars as families’ wheels of choice. That said, it did better than the smaller mainstream segments, again showing how cheap gas is pushing consumers to buy larger cars. The good times are likely to continue rolling for the segment, too, as sales of the new-for-2016 Chevy Malibu and Kia Optima come fully on-stream, while brings the facelifted Ford Fusion to market. [Read more…]
The small MPV segment in Europe is under stress from the small crossover segment, with sales down 60.000 units or 15% in 2015 to 354.425 sales. This is the lowest figure for the segment since 2003 when the first generation Opel/Vauxhall Meriva had just been introduced and none of the other current contenders were around yet. The pain is shared among all players with the exception of one: the facelifted Kia Venga manages to improve 13% and leapfrog the Skoda Roomster, which ended production in April and sold just a handful of remaining stock models in the last few months of the year. The Fiat 500L remains the best selling small MPV thanks to its home market Italy, which takes mroe than 58% of the total European volume. Serbia, where the 500L is produced, is the only country in the world where it’s the best selling model overall, albeit with a humble 1.819 sales.