Sales in the subcompact segment in the United States continued falling in the third quarter of 2017, dropping from just under half a million in 2016 to 376,213 in the first three quarters of 2017, which is less than the number of minivans sold over the same period. The decline has been pretty consistent so far this year, with the rate of decline ranging between 15% and 25% over the three quarters, and suggests customers are eschewing this segment in favor of subcompact SUVs. It will be interesting whether the new Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio will be able to turn this around once they hit the market, but given the disappointing performance of the new Honda Fit the signs are not very promising.
Sales of small crossovers in Europe are starting to plateau after booming growth in recent years. The segment grew by just 5% in Q2 and is now up 10% in the first half, to a record 853.391 units. However, as the segment leader has just been facelifted and a whole bunch of new models are ready to enter the segment, expect the growth to continue for the rest of this year and next. The Renault Captur is down for the first time in its career, losing 12% in the second quarter and 6% year-to-date, as the facelifted version is just making its way into the showrooms. Its segment leadership remains uncontested, as it still sold more than any other model in both quarters. Still, its closest two rivals, the Peugeot 2008 and the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka continue to grow and therefore the top-3 is getting closer to each other but also distancing themselves from the rest of the segment. In 4th place we still find the Dacia Duster, which is stable but therefore loses a full percentage point of share compared to the first half of 2016.
The compact car segment in Europe showed a 4% in sales in the second quarter of 2017, which means the first half figure is stable on that of the same period last year. At 15,2% of the total market with over 1,27 million sales, the compact segment is the second-largest segment in Europe after the subcompact segment. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf loses 2,5 percentage points of share but still sells more than the #3 and #4 of the segment combined and the gap to the #2 is still more than 100.000 sales. One of the reasons for its 12% loss is the recent facelift which hurt availability, but it also suffers from in-house competitions from crossovers like the new generation Tiguan, Seat Ateca and perhaps even the Skoda Kodiaq. Coincidentally with its shift from GM to PSA, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra starts to slip with a 7% decline in Q2, although it’s still in the black for the first half. The battle for 3rd place remains close, but the recently facelifted Skoda Octavia outsold the aging Ford Focus by 5.800 sales in Q2 to edge out a narrow lead to reclaim 3rd place. The new generation Focus won’t arrive until next year, so the Octavia is expected to finish the year on the podium for the second year in a row. [Read more…]
Sales in the subcompact segment in the United States continued falling in the second quarter of 2017, dropping by 250,395 units for the first half of the year. This represents a fall of 20.8% compared to the first half of 2016, the second fastest rate of decline from among the mainstream segments, behind only the minicar segment. Part of the reason is that a lot of the cars in the segment are either about to be replaced (Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio) or are in the second half of their life-cycle (Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris), but really it’s the gradual migration to crossovers that’s the more likely reason of this trend – the subcompact SUV segment grew by 10.6% percent over the same period, and sold more than 200,000 units in half a year for the first time ever.
The small crossover segment continues to boom again outgrowing the overall market by a 2-to-1 ratio at +16% to 435.000 sales. The small crossover segment is already almost as large in terms of unit sales than the compact and midsized crossover segments combined. And new models will continue to enter the segment, so don’t expect this growth curve to flatten anytime soon. Meanwhile, the Renault Captur holds on to the segment leadership it has held ever since its launch, but does so by the skin of its teeth. With sales virtually stable as a facelift is imminent, the Captur feels the already facelifted Peugeot 2008 breathing down its neck thanks to an 18% increase, now just 1.200 sales behind the leader. In third place we stil find the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X, up 12% and distancing the top-3 players from the rest of the segment.
Sales of compact carsin Europe increased 4% in the first quarter of 2017, half the growth of the overall market at +7,8%. Total volume of the segment was just over 636.000 sales, which means it remains the second-largest segment in Europe. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf is in trouble with a loss of 11% as it has just been facelifted but also feels some in-house competition from the new generation Tiguan, and possibly even from the Seat Ateca crossover. The new generation Opel/Vauxhall Astra continues to outperform the segment, but is still way too far behind to even remotely threaten the Golf’s domination. Like the Fiesta one segment down, the Ford Focus traditionally has a good start of the year thanks to its popularity in the UK, but its 7% gain is nonetheless impressive considering it is one of the oldest models in the top-6.
While minicars rebounded in Q1 of 2017, the subcompact car segment started the year deep in the red with a loss of 15.7% compared to the first quarter of 2016, for a total of 117,995 sales. The segment top-3 all lost with double digits, as the rise of the subcompact crossover segment undoubtedly plays a role in the struggles of the similarly sized sedans and hatchbacks. Then again, no less than four out of the nine players are due to be renewed this year (Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio), while two others are in the second half of their life-cycle (Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris) as well.
After more than 1 million small crossovers and SUVs were sold in Europe in 2015, this remains one of the fastest growing segments with an increase of 16% to 1,4 million sales in 2016, more than half the volume of the subcompact hatchbacks, Europe largest segment and the models on which most of these crossovers are based. The growth is mostly fueled by recent model introductions, as proven by the fact that the entire top-4 loses share of the segment. Still, only two models in the top-10 lose volume in 2016, although that figure doubles to four in the last quarter. As expected, the Renault Captur holds on to the segment lead and becomes the first small crossover to sell over 200.000 units annually in Europe. More surprisingly, the Captur manages this performance without having been updated since its launch while its two closes rivals have been facelifted in 2016. Of these two, the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka sees stable sales and loses its second place to the Peugeot 2008, the fastest growing model in the top-4.
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.
Sales of subcompact cars rebounded slightly in the fourth quarter of 2016, growing by 2 percent relative to Q4’15, allowing the segment to cut the annual fall in sales to 3 percent. This is a very respectable performance for a segment where most cars are older designs, either in the second half of their life-cycle (Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris) or about to be replaced (Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio). And while the segment still only sells less than a third of what the Compact segment manages, 2016 is notable as the first time that the Subcompact segment outsold the Minivan segment over the course of a year.