The minicar segment shows a slight recovery in Q3 of 2017 with a gain of 1% but is still down by 1% for the first 9 months of 2017, with almost 980.000 sales. Fiat’s share of the segment is down on the first half of the year but up on the first three quarters of 2016, with 30,6% share of the segment and holding on to the top two positions with the 500 and Panda. The Volkswagen Up! remaims #3 of the segment, with less than half the sales of the best seller, but was the only model in the segment that showed double-digit growth in Q3. However, it was still outsold by the Hyundai i10 in the third quarter, the fastest growing model in the year-to-date top-5. The gap between the two models is too large to be closed in the last quarter, so another podium finish for the Up! seems to be wrapped up. The fifth placed Toyota Aygo is the best seller of the Kolin triplets, built together with PSA, and also the only of the three to continue growing its sales, as the Peugeot 108 and Citroën C1 are both down by double digits. The same can be said of the remaining two members of the VW triplets, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii.
The collapse of the Minicar segment continues
After briefly returning to growth in the first quarter of 2017, the minicar segment in the United States fell back into the red in the second quarter of this year, and firmly remained there in the third quarter, even if the 36% fall in sales in Q3 was slightly less bad than the 47% drop recorded in Q2. All in all, sales in the minicar segment were only 63,023 over the first three quarters of 2017, down from 90,095 in 2016, which is roughly how many Toyota RAV4s are sold in a month and a half!
Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles and the Plug-In Hybrid segments, let’s look at the final Alternative Power segment: regular hybrids. This segment is the most well-established of the three, with sales in the first half of 2017 almost twice as high as sales in the other two segments combined. As a result, the growth in the segment was not as high as for the other two, but 24.9% is nothing to be sneered at, as it was still higher than any non-Alternative Power segment bar the SUV Premium Compact segment.
Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles segment, let’s look at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs for short. The segment enjoyed a growth rate of 61.6%, the highest of all segments, though its total sales remain below those of pure Electric Vehicles, at just over 40,000 in the first half of the year.
Sales of Alternative Power cars in the United States increased by a substantial 32.2%, a rate of expansion considerably faster than that of the second fastest-growing segment, SUV Premium Compact. Comprising of regular hybrid, PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and EV (electric vehicle) segments, Alternative Power cars ended the first half of 2017 with almost 260,000 cars sold, more than the Subcompact segment, and not far off the Minivan segment. For accounting purposes, keep in mind that we classify many of the Alternative Power cars in other segments too e.g. Toyota Prius liftback figures in the Compact segment, while Ford Fusion PHEV figures in the Mid-sized segment. At least part of the reason for this growth is that EVs and PHEVs continue to benefit from Federal and State rebates, which lower their price even before consumers consider the lower cost at the pumps/mains.
First, let us look at the EVs segment, which grew by 41.2% in the first half of 2017, to a total of 45,150 cars.
The minicar segment continues to shrink in 2017 as has been forecasted by analysts, before it is expected to stabilize until 2020. Since minicars are unaffected by competition from crossovers, the segment is expected remain stable after a second year of small declines. Despite the downturn for the segment, minicars still account for 8,3% of new car sales in Europe with just over 692.000 sales in the half. Fiat retains the 31,5% share of the segment it held in Q1, up from 30,1% in the first half of 2016 and 28,1% in all of 2016. Both of its models, the Panda and the 500, improve their sales and each sells more than double the volume of any other nameplate in the segment. But while the 500 is popular across most of Europe, the Panda remains extremely dependent on its home market Italy for almost 80% of its sales (vs. 30,5% for the 500). Thanks to a strong second quarter, the 500 closes the gap to the #1 position and could reclaim the segment leadership after just one year of Panda domination. The Volkswagen Up! is down by 3% but holds on to its third place, although the Hyundai i10 is closing in thanks to a 10% increase. In the first half of last year, the i10 was in 6th place but it finished 2016 in 4th place before dropping back to 5th in Q1. This may be the year the South-Korean hatchback jumps onto the segment podium.
Minicar segment collapsed in the second quarter of 2017, with only Mitsubishi Mirage recording YTD sales gains
After briefly returning to growth in the first quarter of 2017, the Minicar segment in the United States fell back into the red in the second quarter of this year. And what a fall it was – sales fell by almost a half compared to Q2’16, to only 19,019 units, the largest fall from among all segments by a wide margin.
Sales of minicars in Europe lost 5% in the first quarter of 2017 with 360.000 units sold, compared to an overall market growth of 7,8%. Fiat remains segment leader with two models on top, and both outgroing the rest of the segment, to increase its total share to 31,5%. After reclaiming the lead from its sibling Fiat 500, the Fiat Panda consolidates its first place, but once again it is extremely dependent on its home market Italy which accounts for 81,8% of its total European sales (up from 78,4% in 2016-Q1), compared to “just” 31,6% for the 500. In third place we still find the Volkswagen Up!, but the Toyota Aygo is just 700 units behind after taking third place in February. And the Hyundai i10 isn’t far away in fifth place either, after being the fastest growing model in the segment top-10. [Read more…]
Sales of Alternative Power cars in the United States increased a hopeful 47.2% in the first quarter of 2017 to 41,132 units, or 1% of the total US market. This is a combination of a 39.4% growth for EVs to 21,379 sales and a 56.7% growth for PHEVs to 19,753 sales. The EV segment is still slightly larger but the PHEV segment grows faster and is catching up, as especially luxury brands are entering this niche of the market before making a switch to full electric models. While regular (non-plug in) hybrids are struggling due to low gas prices, EVs and PHEV continue to benefit from Federal and State rebates that stimulate sales of these vehicles. And new entrants will keep arriving in showrooms this year, so expect the growth to continue.
The Minicar segment in the United States has returned to growth in 2017 after an abysmal 2016 when sales dipped with double digits. In the first quarter of 2017, sales of North America’s smallest vehicles grew by 8.5% to 27,388 units. Fueling this increased demand were the new generation Chevrolet Spark and the facelift of the Mitsubishi Mirage, which have now taken over the first two spots of the segment podium, knocking the former leader Mini Cooper down to third. The Fiat 500 appears to have hit rock bottom and slightly recovers this year