The midsized car segment in Europe is in continuous decline as it is in the US. An 11% drop in sales in Q3 leads to a 14% loss in the first three quarters of the year. So far this year, only 2 nameplates manage to improve year-over-year and all but one of the other models show double digit declines. In the third quarter, 2 of the top-3 manage to improve their volume, but the distant segment leader VW Passat is still down by 8% this quarter. It still holds a one third share of the segment and like its smaller sibling Golf outsells its closest rival by more than a 2-to-1 margin and like in the compact car segment that #2 is a Skoda. That means the Volkswagen Group controls almost half of the sales in this segment. However, the Skoda Superb was outsold in Q3 by the all-new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, which moves back onto the segment year-to-date podium by passing the Ford Mondeo, down 17% for the quarter and down 22% for the year.
Every mid-sized model bar the Subaru Outback has lost sales in 2017 so far
Sales of Mid-sized cars in the US fell by 10% in the third quarter of 2017: still in the double-digits, but less severe than the declines in the first and second quarters. This relative upturn is mostly due to the entry of the new Toyota Camry and Honda Accord into the market – it helps because customers are excited about the new model, but primarily because dealers want to empty their forecourts from the old model, and are offering bigger-than-before discounts. Still, with recent new models underperforming relative to their previous generations (Chevy Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima), it remains to be seen if the new, bolder Toyota and Honda have what it takes to lure customers back into a segment that has become very unsexy over the past few years.
The midsized car segment in Europe is in continuous decline as it is in the US. A 19% drop in sales in Q2 leads to a 16% loss in the first half of the year. With 286.049 sales, the segment now accounts for just 3,4% of total European volume. Only 2 nameplates manage to improve year-over-year and all but one of the other models show double digit declines. In Q2, the entire top-4 lost 13% or more, of which the segment leader Volkswagen Passat did the least bad and therefore improves its already high share of the segment to 33,2%, which means one in three midsized cars sold are a Passat. Count in the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Group holds a whopping 48,8% share of the segment. The Superb has fallen into the red as well in Q2 after growing in the first quarter. But its second place of the segment is not under threat as its nearest two rivals drop even harder. The Ford Mondeo holds on to its 3rd place despite a 28% loss in Q2, as the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia loses 29% as customer deliveries of the new generation are only just starting. Expect the Insignia to finish 2017 ahead of the Mondeo again, as it has done ever since its launch.
Only Outback and Passat see their sales rise, five models lose more than 20% since 2016
Sales of Mid-sized cars in the US fell by 13.7% in the second quarter of 2017, following the same path of double-digit sales decline as all the other mainstream segments bar the compact segment. With one-time top non-pickup models like Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima now regularly giving way to crossovers in the monthly top rankings, it is far from clear whether the latest versions of the first two cars, which made their debut earlier this year, will be enough to even halt, let alone reverse this trend. One thing is for sure: they will need to do better than recent new models in the segment – Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Chevrolet Malibu – all of which have really underperformed relative to their previous generations.
Sales of midsized sedans (and station wagons) are crashing down hard in Europe just as they are across the Atlantic. In Q1 of 2017 sales were down 12% to just 145.500 units in an overall market up 7,8%. Only 3 nameplates in the segment improve year-over-year, and all others show double digit losses. In this depressed context, the Volkswagen Passat holds on to its commanding lead despite a 15% loss of volume. It still sells almost twice as many units as its closest rival, its platform sibling Skoda Superb. The two models increase their combined share of the segment to 46,9%, as the current generation Ford Mondeo just never really caught on in Europe and the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia suffers from its model change. As a result, the Mondeo is temporarily back onto the podium, but will be knocked off once deliveries of the new Insignia pick up steam. Perhaps it can even threaten the Superb for 2nd place over the course of the full year 2017.
Sales of Mid-sized cars in the US are in a similar tough spot as in Europe: down by 19.2% in Q1 of 2017 and dipping below half a million units at 472,692 sales. This is the worst drop among all mainstream segments and second to only the premium large car segment. As a result, the compact car segment has now become larger in volume than the midsized car segment, and if it keeps this position until the end of this year it would be the very first time ever that the midsized segment is not the largest mainstream car segment in the US. And with the large pickup truck segment also outselling the midsized cars in Q1, this segment has gone from perennial #1 until 2015 to out of the top-3 so far in 2017. The main culprit for this demise is obviously a shift towards compact crossovers, the largest segment since last year. This trend is clearly visible in the March and Q1 model rankings: if the Camry and Accord used to fight for the title of best selling non-pickup in America, now the Accord is out of the overall top-10 and the Camry is outsold by the Nissan Rogue, with the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 right on its heels.
The midsized sedan (and station wagon) segment is losing ground in Europe just as it is across the Atlantic. In Q4 of 2016 sales were down 10% to end the year barely in the black: up just 1% from 2015 to 625.185 sales. In the last quarter, 7 models in the top-10 lost volume and all did so with double digits. The Volkswagen Passat holds on to its dominant lead but loses 3,4 percentage points of share compared to 2015 while its sibling Skoda Superb surges 70% to take 2nd place, which means Volkswagen Group still grows its share of the segment to almost 47%. The traditional podium fighters Opel/Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo are kicked down to fight for 3rd and 4th place. The Insignia holds on to its podium spot for the year, but in Q4 the Mondeo sold 600 units more than its rival which will be replaced by a new generation in 2017. However, there’s a new challenger on the block: In December the Renault Talisman outsold both of them to claim the segment 3rd place. With the Insignia weakened due to the model change and the current Mondeo having never struck a chord with European buyers, the Talisman should have a shot at the podium in the first half of the year, although the Insignia will strike back when the new generation has launched, helped by its popularity in the UK market where the Renault is absent.
The midsized car segment in Europe grew sharply in 2015 as two of the best sellers were renewed, but that growth has flattened to just 5% in the first nine months of 2016, slower than the overall market at +7,5%. This hasn’t stopped Volkswagen Group to increase its share of the segment from 43,1% last year to 46,2% this year, and occupying the top two spots of the podium. The VW Passat loses 4% but is still ultra dominant with almost one-in-three sales in this segment, followed by the Skoda Superb which almost doubles its volume of last year thanks to the new generation. In Q3 the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia was only 500 units behind the Superb, despite being due for a replacement early 2017. That leaves the Ford Mondeo in fourth place, unable to make a fist against the much older Insignia.
The midsized car segment in Europe grew sharply in 2015 as two of the best sellers were renewed, but that growth has flattened to 8% in the first half of 2016, slightly slower than the overall market at +8,8%. With sales flat year-over-year, the Volkswagen Passat loses some market share, but is still at 32,7% of segment shares. Combined with sales of its sister model, the Skoda Superb, the Volkswagen MQB platform underpins almost 1 in every 2 midsized cars sold in Europe. The Superb has doubled its sales of last year, thanks to the very successful launch of its new generation, but also because its closest rivals lost volume. The Opel/Vauxhall Insignia is about to be replaced in the second half of this year, and the Ford Mondeo simply hasn’t hit a chord with European buyers. Its design is only evolutionary from the previous generation, especially from the rear three-quarters, and was already two years old in the US (as the Fusion) and China before production in Europe finally started. The Peugeot 508 is aging as well and continues to lose share, but PSA has made clear there are no plans yet to develop another midsized sedan (and station wagon), as the company is focusing on crossovers and SUVs, a segment where it believes it can compete better against Volkswagen and the luxury brands.
After booming last year on the launch of two important new models, the midsized car segment still outgrows the overall market in Q1 of 2016, albeit only slightly at +9% vs. +8,2%. The dominant leader Volkswagen Passat loses a bit of market share, but the VW Group actually increases its stranglehold on the segment from 41,2% in Q1 of 2015 and 44,7% over the full year 2015 to 45,2% last quarter, as the new generation Skoda Superb is the fastest growing model in the top-10. The Superb surges from 5th place to the #2 spot, just ahead of the Ford Mondeo, which continues to improve and finally manages to outsell the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, but not convincingly so, as the Insignia outsold it in March. Still, the Mondeo should be able to hold on to a podium spot by the end of the year, but it won’t threaten the Passat as much as Ford had hoped it would.[Read more…]