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.
Sales of subcompact cars rebounded slightly in Q3 of 2016 with an increase of 2%, to cut the year-to-date loss in half to 3%. That’s even despite the fact that a number of models in this segment is due for a redesign within the next 12 months, most notably the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio. Surprisingly, the latter two South-Korean models are actually the among the three fastest growing models of the segment in Q3, together with the Honda Fit.
The small crossover segment is still the fastest growing mainstream segment in Europe at +28% and over 150.000 additional sales in the first half of 2016. But what’s more earthshaking is that for the first time ever, small crossovers outsold their larger counterpart midsized crossovers in the second quarter of 2016: 367.000 vs. 363.000. As a result, the “Captur-segment” is within 23.000 sales of the “Qashqai-segment” for the first half and could become the bigger of the two by year-end. Almost all models share in the glory, as only two out of the 17 remaining models lost volume, and by less than 1.000 units combined, while 11 models show either double digit or triple digit growth, or are entirely new. The segment leader Renault Captur keeps improving as well, but also keeps losing share as it grows slower than the segment as a whole at +10%. The Captur’s leadership is unthreatened though, as its closest rival of last year Opel/Vauxhall Mokka improved just 3% as it awaits a facelift, and that has allowed the already updated Peugeot 2008 to leapfrog the Mokka and reclaim the #2 spot thanks to sales up 13%.
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.
The Subcompact segment shrank by 6 percent compared to the first half of 2015, a reasonable performance for a mainstream segment – only the Large and Minivan segments did better. What’s more, this was achieved despite many of the cars in the segment getting decidedly long in the tooth (Hyundai Accent, Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris). However, until these models are replaced later this year / early next year, it’s hard to imagine the Subcompact segment doing much better than this, especially in light of the persistently low gas prices.
The small crossover segment is still the fastest growing in Europe at +30% and almost 80.000 additional sales in the first quarter of 2016. That means this segment is now bigger in volume than the midsized crossover segment was in the same period last year. The growth is fueled by new products, but also the existing models keep improving steadily, with just 3 models in the top-15 losing sales, and none more than 5%. The Renault Captur remains the best selling small crossover in Europe, but loses share as it grows by just 4%. The competition is closing in, as the Peugeot 2008 adds 10% to its volume of last year and leapfrogs the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka to take second place. Until last year, France was the biggest market for small crossovers, and the two French models benefited from their home market strength. Now they’re starting to gain popularity across Europe, including the UK, where the Captur is a top-25 player and Renault’s best selling model. A welcome success for the French brand which was almost decimated across the Channel just a few years ago.[Read more…]
At +4% in Q1 of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew at a similar rate as the minicar and subcompact segments, at half the growth rate of the overall market. The perennial leader Volkswagen Golf is still firmly in control despite losing 2% of its volume on last year. Its nearest competitor from a year ago, the Ford Focus, also loses a percent and is overtaken by the surging Opel/Vauxhall Astra, up 30% thanks to the new generation. That still leaves the Golf untouchable, selling more than the #2 and #3 combined, but at least the competition doesn’t sit still like in the midsized segment. The Skoda Octavia is kicked off the podium, which it has impressively held for two years. And the Peugeot 308 is closing in quickly, as it already did in the final months of 2015. The Seat Leon is surprisingly stable and stays ahead of the facelifted Toyota Auris, while the Renault Megane is the biggest loser of the top-10 and drops a spot as it awaits the arrival of the new, fourth generation.[Read more…]
The subcompact segment shrank by 4% compared to Q1 2015, not a great performance but considerably better than the minicar segment, which shrank by 28%, and even slightly better than the compact segment, which shrank by 6%. What the subcompact segment is still lacking in popular new metal: the cars that are popular are getting long in the tooth (Kia Soul, Hyundai Accent, Chevy Sonic), while the new cars are not selling in large volumes (Scion iA and Honda Fit, plagued by supply shortages). What’s more, there are no new cars on the immediate horizon, so it seems that the segment will have to wait until 2017 at the earliest to truly rebound when the new Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio should come to market. [Read more…]
Sales in the second-largest segment in Europe are up 5% in 2015 to 2.317.728 units, which is a slower growth than the overall market as customers continue to switch to crossovers. The Volkswagen Golf loses half a percentage point of share, but that still leaves it with 23,1% of the segment. 2015 is probably the last year in a while the Golf tops half a million registrations, as it will start to feel increased competition from the new generation Opel-Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane. The outgoing Astra is kicked down into 5th place by the Peugeot 308 but should easily finish 2016 in 2nd place. The Skoda Octavia barely holds on to its third place as the surging 308 adds almost a third to its volume and two percentage points of share to come within 2.000 units of its Czech rival. Some stats even put the Peugeot ahead of the Octavia in the Full Year data, but when I add up their monthly sales this is what they add up to. Whichever way you look at it, this has been a stellar year for the former Car of the Year as it is single-handedly responsible for half of the segment increase and has more than doubled the nameplate’s sales in two years time. [Read more…]
The subcompact segment shrank by 8% compared to 2014, a performance even worse than the minicar segment shrinking by 5%. While low gas prices contributed to this, just as they did for the smaller segment, it is probably the lack of new metal that really drove sales in the segment down. Honda Fit and Scion iA were the only new cars that came to market in 2015, and only the former has sold in meaningful quantities. In fact, with many of the segment stalwarts getting on in years, this may be one of the oldest segments. [Read more…]