The compact car segment in Europe has grown by 3% in 2016, half the growth of the overall market at +6,2% and equal to the subcompact car segment, which remains Europe’s largest segment ahead of this one. Expectedly, the dominant leader of the segment Volkswagen Golf drops back below half a million sales after two years, due to increasing pressure of fresh rivals. The main culprit to the Golf’s demise is the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, movin up from fifth place to #2 for the first time since 2011 thanks to a 30% sales increase on last year, topping a quarter million sales also for the first time since 2011. The bang-for-your-bucks Skoda Octavia holds on to its third place with sales up 5%, helped by the 9% loss for the Ford Focus, dropping from 2nd place to #4. The Peugeot 308 loses a similar share of 9% and drops a place to #5 after topping 200.000 sales for only one year.
Yesterday Hyundai announced that the Ioniq Hybrid will cost around $23,000 when it goes on sale in the US, which makes it some $2,000 cheaper than its main competitor, Toyota Prius. In addition, the Hyundai can claim to be considerably more efficient than the Toyota, at least on paper, promising 58 mpg combined to the latter’s 52 mpg. So far things look promising for the Hyundai, but can it really succeed where the likes of Honda Insight failed?
At +4% in the first three quarters of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew faster than the minicar and subcompact segments, but slower than the overall market. The traditional leader Volkswagen Golf is feeling the competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, but its top spot is in no way threatened. In fact, VW feels so confident about the strength of the Golf nameplate, its upcoming facelift will keep exterior design updates to a minimum. The Golf will be made up-to-date on in-car technology, with gesture control for its multimedia system and semi-autonomous features. Meanwhile, the Astra is the biggest winner of the segment in volume terms and is now the only other compact car with a double digit share of the segment. After narrowly edging out the Ford Focus for 3rd place in the first half of 2016, the Skoda Octavia firmly consolidates that position in Q3, as the Focus is the biggest loser in the top-10.
At +6% in the first half of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew faster than the minicar and subcompact segments, but slower than the overall market. In Q2 the compact car segment grew by 10%, which is just ahead of the market’s 9,8% gain. The Volkswagen Golf remains untouchable despite the diesel scandal and renewed competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, but it is one of only 3 models in the top-10 to lose volume. The Golf’s closest rival from a year ago, the Ford Focus, loses even more and is pushed down into fourth place by the new generation Astra, up 27%. With the Skoda Octavia in third place and the Seat Leon in sixth, the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform takes almost 37% of sales in the second largest segment in Europe. With the Focus starting to age, the Peugeto 308 has a shot at grabbing fourth place in the segment by the end of the year, a ranking last achieved by the previous generation in 2008. The 308 already outsold the Focus in May and was just 750 units behind in Q2. The new generation Renault Megane has started deliveries and is aiming for 6th place in the segment by year-end, as it already outsold the Leon and the Toyota Auris in Q2.
Abarth 124 Spider
This is the tuned version of the Fiat 124 Spider, which in its turn is based on the fourth generation Mazda MX-5. That means a long hood, low seating position and short but stubby rear end. And of course rear wheel drive and a short-shifting manual gearbox. The Abarth looks more militant than the Fiat thanks to its black hood and trunk lid, but the powerboost of just 10 hp to 170 hp isn’t very impressive and the chassis can handle more power for sure. I hope they’re coming up with more impressive hardware in the future, for example the 300 hp 1,8 liter they’ve mounted in the rally-spec Abarth hard-top. That unit has been mounted further back in the engine bay for better weight distribution. But that’s not all: it looks so stunning you’d wonder why they don’t use a transparent hood to show their jewelry to the world.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
We’ve finally seen the mainstream versions of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, after having been teased with the Giulia QV for over six months now, and honestly I hate to say this, but I’m slightly disappointed with them. The Giulia looks absolutely stunning and very aggressive with the QV body kit, and the white one on display wasn’t too bad, but the blue and grey ones just look didn’t do it for me. The lame wheel designs didn’t help and neither did the uninspiring colors. I really hope this is Alfa’s attempt at following Audi’s strategy of making the basic car look so lame that anyone with even one drop of petrolhead-blood in his body is forced to spend extra on the optional sports package (or S-line for Audi) with body kit and a nice set of wheels to make the car look the way it’s supposed to look.
The Giulia will be available in Europe with three 2,2 liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, the 150 hp and 180 hp versions are rear-wheel drive only and the option of manual or automatic gearbox. The 210 hp diesel will only have four-wheel drive and an automatic. The 2 liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine will also come in three versions all with standard automatic gearbox. The entry-level version has 200 hp with rear-wheel drive, the 250 hp version has four-wheel drive and the 280 hp version surprisingly comes standard with RWD, but optional AWD. The next step up is the QV with 510 hp, as we already know.[Read more…]
Hyundai finally released full pictures and details of its new eco-warrior, the Ioniq. Uniquely for a manufacturer, Hyundai plans for the Ioniq to offer a variety of different powertrains, all using the same body:
- A standard hybrid, to battle the Toyota Prius and its ilk
- A plug-in hybrid, to battle the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in and similar
- An electric version, which will compete with the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt