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.
Sales in the Mid-sized segment fell by 10.1 percent in 2016, a performance so bad it almost matched the 11.0 percent fall in sales registered by the Minicar segment (the worst among all mainstream segments). Midsized cars used to be the segment where the money was made, even when SUVs and crossovers started to gain a foothold in the US car market during the 1990s and early 2000s. But that boom has started to pick up speed this year, fueled by hot new models and affordable gas. In contrast there haven’t been many major model updates in the midsized segment lately. As a result, the largest-selling segment in 2016 by far was Compact SUVs (sales up 3.9 percent), with Mid-sized cars coming in second, followed closely by the Large Pickups and Compact segments (sales up 3.6 and down 4.5 percent, respectively). With new models like Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima failing to connect with buyers, only the new Toyota Camry and Honda Accord stand between the segment and losing third spot in the standings to the Large Pickups segment.
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.
Sales of Mid-sized cars in the United States fell by 16 percent in the third quarter of 2016, as the freefall of sales in the segment accelerates. Midsized cars used to be the segment where the money was made, even when SUVs and crossovers started to gain a foothold in the US car market during the 1990s and early 2000s. But that boom has started to pick up speed this year, fueled by hot new models and affordable gas. In contrast there haven’t been many major model updates in the midsized segment lately. As a result, compact crossover are expected to become the biggest segment this year, with even the full-sized pickup truck and the compact car segments closing in on midsized cars in recent months and even threatening to push the segment to fourth place. Until the segment gets an injection of fresh product, for example from the next generation Toyota Camry next year, there will be little that can turn this fate around. Out of the 14 midsized models, only 3 improved their sales in Q3, with 9 models showing double digit losses.
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…]
Sales of midsized cars have rebounded hard in 2015 from over a decade of losses to add over 100.000 units of volume in 2015, an increase of 20% to 619.474 sales. That’s still just over a third of the almost 1,8 million non-premium midsized cars sold in 2001. Two renewed models carry all of the segment increase: the Volkswagen Passat and the Ford Mondeo. The Passat adds almost half to its 2014 volume to take 36,5% share of the segment. It is the only model in the segment above 200.000 sales, and even the only model above 100.000 sales for that matter. Its closest competitor Opel/Vauxhall Insignia drops 4%, which is not too bad considering there are now two fresher competitors around. The biggest winner of the segment is the Mondeo, but that’s not so hard if you consider how deep it had fallen while customers were waiting for the new generation to arrive, 2 years late. Even then, it took the Ford until December to finally outsell the Insignia, and I’m afraid the very evolutionary styling compared to the outgoing model is to blame for that. The Mondeo just too much like the old one in my opinion, especially 3/4 from the rear. [Read more…]
The European midsized car segment keeps outpacing the market in 2015, growing at almost twice the rate of the rest of the car market, but keep in mind this is a segment that has been declining for a long time already. Unsurprisingly, the Volkswagen Passat tightens its stranglehold of the segment by increasing its share to 35,8%, meaning more than one in three midsized cars sold in Europe bear the VW logo. This is the highest segment share of any model in the European mainstream segments.
In Q3, the all-new Ford Mondeo is still way underperforming on its expectations, as it’s still being outsold by the 7-year old Opel/Vauxhall Insignia. So far this year, the only month the Mondeo outsold the Insignia was July, by a mere 214 units. It probably doesn’t help that it took Ford more than two years to launch the model in Europe and that it looks a lot like the outgoing model, especially from the rear 3/4, although the Passat proves that that doesn’t have to translate into slower sales. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized car in Europe are back up thanks to the new generations of two important players. With an increase of 12% in the first half, the segment recovers from its record low in 2014, and its growth even outpaces the overall market. However, the love isn’t shared evenly, as only 6 out of 19 models (not counting the already killed models: 6 out of 16) show a year-over-year increase. And the new generation Volkswagen Passat accounts for more than 30.000 of the 33.600 additional sales for the entire segment. So with the all-new Ford Mondeo also adding almost 15.000 sales, the picture for most other models is still quite bleak.
Despite being all-new (for Europe, that is. It’s been on sale in the US for over 2,5 years already), and despite sales up more than 50%, the Ford Mondeo hasn’t been able to outsell the 7-year old Opel/Vauxhall Insignia even a single month this year. It the Passat has still outsold it by a 2,5 : 1 margin every single month but March. So it’s safe to say European midsized car buyers are yet to be impressed by the new Mondeo. The previous model sold twice as many times in 2008 and the generation before it again twice as many in 1999. Of course, the segment as a whole was much bigger at that time, but Ford can be glad they’re selling the same car in the US and China as well now, so they can still gain economies of scale. Or perhaps the fact that it’s no longer a European design, but a world-car instead has something to do with the lack of interest in the new generation? [Read more…]
At around the same time Renault introduced the (in my opinion) strikingly handsome and very promising Talisman four-door sedan to replace its struggling Laguna midsized hatchback and station wagon, Citroën CEO Linda Jackson announced that the next generation of its midsized car the C5 will be produced in China and is unlikely to be exported to other parts of the world, including Europe.
According to Jackson, “In China there is clearly a requirement for a C5 segment car, and that is clearly going to be within our product plan. But we need to ask ourselves: Is there opportunity in other regions? I don’t know the answer to that.” That makes perfect sense, considering the company sold just 18.000 units of the model in Europe last year, down from a peak of 145.000 in 2002 with the previous model. Until May, sales are down another 28% this year. Contrastingly, the C5 sold 33.000 units in China last year, where it’s produced since 2010 at the joint venture plant with Dongfeng Motor in Wuhan. 2015 sales are down 22% until May. Jackson didn’t indicate when China sales of the new C5 would start. The current model was introduced in 2008.
What’s clearly missing from this picture is that Citroën should be focusing on finally getting a proper SUV in its line-up, because that’s the way the market is heading right now. The midsized segment is in deep crisis in Europe, and Chinese preferences are shifting from sedans to SUVs at an amazing pace. [Read more…]