Sales of small crossovers in Europe continue their booming growth curve in 2019 with another double digit gain in the first quarter. An increase of 11% leads to nearly 570.000 sales which means we’re very likely to see over 2 million sales in this segment this year for the first time ever. This segment already accounts for 14% of the overall European car market, up another two percentage points in a single year. That means this segment is closing in on the compact car segment (the “Golf class”) to become Europe’s second largest segment after the subcompact cars. No wonder manufacturers that are not playing in this class yet are rushing to join the party, while existing brands are doubling down on their efforts. As a result, it’s not only one of the biggest segments in terms of volume, but also in the number of players, with no less than 29 and another handful of newcomers arriving this year. And we also have a new player on top of the charts, with the Volkswagen T-Roc beating its rivals to the #1 spot just a year after its launch. It now holds 10% of the segment, but the former leader Renault Captur is not far behind, just 1.000 sales separate the two models and the Captur still manages to increase its sales despite having the second generation ready for launch in the second half of this year. As a result of that model change, the T-Roc looks set for a full-year victory to knock the Captur of the top spot it held for five years.
The compact car segment in Europe is in faster decline than the overall market in the first quarter of 2019, with a loss of 14% to 528.363 sales, as Europe’s second largest segment now accounts for 13% of the total market, down from 14,3% in Q1 of 2018. That means it is under threat from the small crossover segment (up 11% to 14% share of the market). This is also one of the main reasons for the decline of the compact car segment: customers deflecting to crossovers. Segment best seller Volkswagen Golf is due for a redesign this year and loses 16% of its volume but still holds a commanding lead over its competition. In second place we now find the Ford Focus with sales up 8% thanks to its new generation, outselling the Skoda Octavia by a significant margin and thus ending a two-year period with the VW Group in the top two spots. The last time another manufacturer held a top-2 position in this segment was 2016 when the Opel/Vauxhall Astra was the Golf’s nearest rival, but so far this year the Astra is down into 5th place with sales down 18%. The Peugeot 308 moves up a spot to #4 despite also losing volume, but improves its share of the segment by 0,7 percentage points. The Seat Leon and Renault Megane also do slightly better than the overall segment but are still down by double digits, while the Kia Ceed is up an impressive 35%, helped by the addition of the Sportswagon and ProCeed versions. This moves the Ceed into 8th place, its highest ever ranking in the compact car segment in Europe.
After briefly stabilizing in 2017, sales of small crossovers in Europe continued their booming growth curve with a 29% increase in 2018, to 1,94 million. As a result, this segment now accounts for 12,6% of the overall European car market, up almost three percentage points in a single year. Undoubtedly, over 2 million small crossovers will be sold in Europe in 2019, and it could very easily become the second largest segment after subcompact cars, but overtaking compact cars (the “Golf class”). It’s not only one of the biggest segments in terms of volume, but also in the number of players, with no less than 28 models by the end of 2018 and another handful of newcomers arriving in 2019. Meanwhile, the Renault Captur celebrates a fifth consecutive year on top of the ranking and remains the only nameplate in the segment to sell more than 200.000 copies per year, and it has done so for three years in a row without any rival coming close, even with a second generation coming out this year. In fact, the Captur’s closest rival in 2018 comes from its own ranks: the Dacia Duster sets a new annual sales record for the third straight year, improving an impressive 24% on last year’s record. Still, the Duster also loses share as that is less than the overall segment growth. The Peugeot 2008 sees stable sales, just like the Captur, but manages to stay on the podium despite losing almost 3 percentage points of share, again: just like the Captur.
Sales of compact cars in Europe declined 9% in 2018 to just over 2,13 million units, as Europe’s second largest segment now accounts for 13,8% of the total market, down from 15,1% in 2017. That means it is under threat from both the small crossover segment (up 29% to 12,6% share of the market) and the compact crossover segment (up 17% to 11,3% of the market). That also explains the main reason for the decline of the compact car segment: customers deflecting to crossovers. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf slightly improves its share of the segment despite an 8% loss of sales, translating to almost 37.000 lost sales which is about as much as the Mazda3 sold last year. In second place we find the Skoda Octavia for the second straight year with sales down 5%, but it still sells less than half the number of cars of its sibling. Despite being replaced at the very end of the year and thus being in run-out mode with the outgoing model, the Ford Focus manages to reclaim a podium position after spending 2 years in fourth place. That is a result of the Opel/Vauxhall Astra losing 27% of its sales in 2018 after already losing 14% in 2017. The Astra was #2 of the segment in 2016, #3 in 2017 and is now down one more spot, and only 5.000 units ahead of 5th place.
Segment posts a decline of over 20% for the second consecutive year of 20% plus decline
Sales in the US Subcompact segment fell by 20.7% to 374,518 in 2018, making it the second year in a row that the segment has lost more than 20% of sales. As a result, total sales are now 43% lower than their 2014 peak. Moreover, with no new entrants on the horizon and with many manufacturers debating on whether to even replace [Read more…]
Last month, when we ran our LA Auto Show: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly article, we asked you to vote on your favorite car of the whole auto show. In the end the Audi e-Tron GT took the crown convincingly with 29% of the votes, suggesting that when they put their minds (and pencils) to work, the strait-laced boffins at Audi still have what it takes to excite the crowds. Click below to see the final results, including some good news for American brands, but bad ones for Audi’s German compatriots and Korean ones. [Read more…]
Audi e-Tron GT
Design-wise, the e-Tron GT is an absolute hit with its sexy curves and aggressive front-end. It’s a great reminder that Audi is still capable of bold designs and I sincerely hope the production version will not be toned down to become hardly distinguishable from the A5 or A7. However, the technology that Audi has presented for this car [Read more…]
Kia Rio is the only model to see its sales rise, as segment once again shrinks by almost 20%
Sales in the US Subcompact segment fell by 18.6% to 203,930 in the first half of 2018, with the segment posting almost identical growth in the second quarter as in the first. With only two models posting positive growth and only two new models on the immediate horizon (the already-revealed new Hyundai Accent, and the Kia Soul), it looks likely [Read more…]
Sales of all models fall as segment dips below 100,000 for the first time in over a decade
Sales in the Subcompact segment fell by 18.7% to 99,099 in the first quarter of 2018, declining below the 100,000 level for the first time in over a decade. Given this rate of decline, it is far from clear whether the already-revealed new Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio, or the incoming Kia Soul, will be enough to inject enough new vigor into a segment [Read more…]
Segment growth tops 25% thanks in large part to Chevy Bolt, despite Tesla Model 3 struggles
Having analyzed 2017 sales of hybrid green cars and PHEV green cars, let’s look at the final green segment: electric vehicles, or EV for short. Sales of EV vehicles rose by 19.2% to 29,486 in the fourth quarter of 2017, while overall sales in 2017 rose by 25.9% to 104,195. This makes this the second-fastest of all types of vehicles, second only [Read more…]