Sales of premium compact cars Europe are back to their 2015 volume after peaking at almost 940.000 units in 2016. With nearly 874.000 sales in 2017, the segment accounts for 5,6% of the total European car market, down from 6,1% the year before. The average age of the models in this segment is relatively high which explains some of the decline. The top-10 models ranking is exactly the same as 2016 but there have been some individual fluctuations and we have a new leader in the brands ranking. Audi still holds the top spot with the A3, but its 14% loss means a 1,5 percentage point of lost share as its rivals are closing in. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is pretty stable for a model that will be renewed in 2018 and stays ahead of the BMW 1-series as both models add more than a full percentage point of share. As a result, this top-3 increases its share of the segment to 51% and they are the only nameplates with 6-figure sales. The BMW 2-Series Active and Gran Tourer MPVs are down 15% as they’re being updated early 2018, but at least they remain well ahead of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, whose next generation will also include a 7-seater option. In fifth place, Volvo is best of the rest as usual in the premium segments in Europe, with the V40 pretty stable at -6%.
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…]
The midsized MPV segment in Europe has declined for 6 consecutive quarters and finishes 2017 with a loss of 8% on 2016 to just over 746.000 sales. This means the segment accounts for 4,8% of the total European market, down from 5,4% in 2016. Only three nameplates increase their volume this year, of which two come from the same manufacturer, although they’re technically not related: the Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic and the Dacia Lodgy. The Scenic was the segment best seller in Q2 and Q4, but that’s not enough for the model to top the chart this year as the Volkswagen Touran is ahead for the second consecutive year, although this time by just 2.138 sales. Other brands offer their two-row and three-row versions under the same name, as the Scenic, C4 Picasso, 2-Series and C-Max do, but VW splits them into two distinctive models. When combining the Touran with the (Golf) Sportsvan, the brand holds more than a quarter of the sales in this class. The Citroën C4 Picasso is knocked down into third place and is below 100.000 sales after 3 years above that level. The biggest loser in the top-5 is the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer with a loss of 15% and more than a percentage point of share.
Segment loses more sales than any other bar the small sports segment, with only Infiniti QX30 seeing sales rise
Sales in the US premium compact segment fell by 27.5% to 19,531 in the fourth quarter of 2017, pretty much in line with the segment’s form in 2017, when sales fell overall by 25.9% to 86,495. Such a decline made this the second-fastest shrinking segment in the US in 2017, behind only the sports small segment, which experienced a [Read more…]
The premium compact car segment in Europe loses volume for the third consecutive quarter in Q3 of 2017, with an 8% decline in sales. Year-to-date, the segment is down by 6% to nearly 671.000 sales. The ranking is relatively stable, but some individual models still show significant volume decreases or increases. The dominant segment leader Audi A3 is down 6% in the third quarter and its closest two rivals are closing in. The 2nd placed Mercedes-Benz A-Class improved 3% while the BMW 1-series saw stable sales in Q3. All three models have sold over 100.000 units so far this year and combined they control more than half of the segment. However, that does not paint the full picture, as Audi sells its hatchback, sedan and convertible models all under the A3 monicker, while Mercedes-Benz and BMW have split off some of those versions under different names. Mercedes-Benz is the segment leader in terms of brand sales, with the A-Class hatchback, B-Class MPV and CLA sedan and station wagon at 210.606 sales, stable on the year before. BMW follows closely with 205.950 sales of its 1-Series hatchback, 2-Series MPV and 2-series Coupe & Convertible as well as the i3 EV, down 2%.
Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe are down for the fifth consecutive quarter in Q3 of 2017, with a loss of 9%. In the first 9 months of 2017, nearly 580.000 units were sold, also down 9% from a year earlier. Only three nameplates increase their volume so far this year, of which two come from the same manufacturer, although they’re technically not related: the Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic and the Dacia Lodgy. After leading the segment in Q2, the Scenic is down into 2nd place in Q3 but that’s not enough to overtake the Citroën C4 Picasso for the segment #2 spot year-to-date, let alone that it’s able to retake the segment lead from the Volkswagen Touran. The last time the inventor of the segment, now already in its fourth generation, was the best selling midsized MPV in Europe was in 2013. If the Scenic fails to top the segment for the full year, it has the first quarter to blame, when it was only in 6th place due to supply issues after a fire at one of Renault’s suppliers. Keep in mind, both the C4 Picasso and the Scenic are available in 2 sizes, like the Ford C-Max and BMW 2-Series, while the Touran is one size only but Volkswagen also offers the slightly smaller Golf Sportsvan. When combined, the Touran and Sportsvan hold a quarter of the segment volume in the first three quarters of the year. [Read more…]
Every single model loses sales, with the exception of the new Mini Clubman
The decline in the Premium Compact segment in the US slowed down in the third quarter of the year, but the segment still shrank by 5% over the period, bringing the YTD decline to 18.1% – worse only than the Minicar, Subcompact and Small Sports segments. While the one new entrant, Mini Clubman, has done reasonably well to bring in new customers, as did the Infiniti QX30 (which we officially classify as a Premium Compact SUV, and only include here for reference) , every other model in the segment saw its sales fall by 20% or more since the beginning of the year. With the new Mercedes-Benz A-class and BMW 1-series sedans still at least a year away from market, the prospects for this segment are not looking very bright.
Growth has stalled in the premium compact car segment in Europe, as the segment is down 8% in Q2 of 2017, leading to a 5% loss in the first half of the year to 468.243 sales. The ranking is relatively stable, but some individual models still show significant volume decreases or increases. The dominant segment leader Audi A3 is down 15% in the second quarter and sold just 4.500 cars more than the #2 Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The A-Class has enjoyed increasing interest from buyers, as it was one of the fastest growing models in the segment in 2016 and continues to gain share in 2017. It distances the BMW 1-series for which the facelift effect already appears to be wearing off. Sales were stable in Q2 reducing the first half gain to 8%. The next generation 1-Series will become more of a follower than an individualist, losing its rear wheel drive platform and the 6-cylinder engine option, as well as its somewhat controversial styling in favor of more vanilla styling and mechanics. Undoubtedly that will only help it increase sales further and to become a real challenger for the segment lead.
The midsized MPV segment in Europe slows down its decline in the second quarter of 2017, to a loss of 5%. The first half figure now stands at 416.044 sales, down 9% from a year earlier. The race for the segment lead is getting tighter, with the top-3 within 3.700 sales, while the #3 outsold both its rivals by a margin of 3.600 sales or more. Still, 7 out of the 12 remaining models show double digit declines in Q2 as MPVs are losing terrain from increased rivalry by crossovers. The Volkswagen Touran holds on to the #1 position it acquired in 2016, but the gap to the #2 Citroën C4 Picasso is only 1.500 sales. What’s more worrying for the Touran is the new generation Renault Scenic, which was the best seller in Q2 and is closing in quickly. The Scenic was only in 6th place in Q1 as it was hampered by supply issues but is now at full strength for the rest of the year, ready to reclaim the segment lead it last held in 2013. Fair enough, both the C4 Picasso and the Scenic are available in 2 sizes, while the Touran is one size only, and Volkswagen also offers the slightly smaller Golf Sportsvan. When combined, the Touran and Sportsvan hold almost a quarter of the segment volume in the first half. [Read more…]
Segment down 22% in Q2, oldest 2 models perform best
The Premium Compact segment was the fastest declining segment in the US car market in the first quarter with sales down 27%, and the situation only gets worse with a 31% decline in Q2. That brings the first half figure to just 42.519 units, down 29% on the same period in 2016, which means it remains the fastest declining segment in the US so far this year. The main culprit for this demise is the premium compact crossover segment, which grows 27% in the first half of the year and becomes larger in volume than the regular sedans, hatchbacks and station wagons. Only two out of the 8 players in the segment show single-digit growth in Q2, while all others lose volume by at least 25%. These two happen to be the oldest of the bunch, as the Lexus CT200h has been on the market virtually unchanged since 2011 and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class was first launched that same year, even though sales in the US only started in 2014 as an electric-only model.
Even with the addition of the Infiniti QX30 the segment would be deep in the red. The Qx30 is marketed as a crossover, while in fact it’s really just a hatchback. Then again, following the same reasoning the Mercedes-Benz GLA should be classified as a hatchback as well, so we’re not sure how to classify it. We’re interested in what our readers have to say about this matter. In Europe, it is sold under two different names for both segment: the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover, even though the only distinction between the two is the higher ground clearance of the latter. In the US, the Q30 is sold as the QX30 Sport, but Infiniti does not specify the take rate on that version, which would have made things a bit easier for us. For now, we’ll display it here for reference (it would instantly have become the segment leader), but keep it officially in the small SUV segment.