After a 6% growth rate in the first half of 2017, Europe’s largest segment by volume declines 2% in the third quarter. That brings the year-to-date figure to 2,17 million, up 4% on the same period of 2016. Major culprit of this slowdown in Q3 is the former segment leader Ford Fiesta which suffers a 44% decline in Q3 as it is changing over to the new generation. That has dropped the Fiesta to 9th place in Q3 although it holds on to its third place year-to-date, helped by a 17% decline in Opel/Vauxhall Corsa deliveries as a new generation of that car is long overdue as the Corsa is still based on a platform launched in 2006. The Renault Clio continues to sell strong and is the only model in the top-5 to grow in the third quarter, doing so by 11%. That allows it to stay ahead of the Volkswagen Polo which was running on its last legs as it too has a new generation arriving in Q4. The Peugeot 208 holds on to its 5th place while its sister model Citroën C3 stroms up the charts from #9 last year to #6 thanks to the successful launch of the new generation. However, the C3 was outsold by both the Dacia Sandero and Toyota Yaris in the third quarter. The Sandero keeps going from strength to strength even without any major updates, while the Yaris has recently been facelifted.
The latest, fourth generation Nissan Micra is a huge step-change from its dour predecessor, and a welcome return to form for the Japanese manufacturer. The latest European sales figures for the Micra suggest that consumers appreciate the new car, with sales over the past few months being almost twice as high as they were for the old model in 2016. A huge part of the new model’s appeal is its exterior styling – it is as bold as the third-generation model was shapeless. What’s more, it looks coherent even though the designers seem to have thrown every single design cues that’s trendy: strong character lines, creases, hidden rear door handles and a blacked-out C-pillar. Combined, they all give the Micra a look that’s unique in almost every way.
The subcompact car segment in Europe grew by 6% in the second quarter of 2017 and a similar rate in the first half. It remains the largest segment in Europe by a large margin, with an 18,6% share of the total market, at almost 1,56 million sales in the half. The segment is very dynamic thanks to a number of new and updated models, with plenty more to come later this year. But some of the existing models also show continued strength. At the top of the ranking, the top-3 is back to how it was for the full year 2016 with the recently facelifted Renault Clio in the lead ahead of the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta. The latter two are about to be replaced by completely new generations and should give the Clio a run for its money if it wants to top the segment for a second consecutive year. The new Fiesta is already in showrooms at the moment this article is published and the Polo won’t be long behind. Big loser in the top-10 is the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa with a loss of 16% in Q2 as its 2014 facelift cannot hide that it’s basically already an 11-year-old design. Unfortunately for the model, its replacement isn’t due until 2019. That replacement will be developed on the PSA platform which also underpins the new Citroën C3.
Sales of subcompact cars in Europe grew by 10% in the first quarter of 2017, faster than the overall market growth of 7,8%, and it remains the largest segment in Europe by a large margin, at more than 793.000 sales. This growth is fueled by a number of renewed or facelifted models, but also by continued strength of older models. At the top of the ranking, we have once again a change of guard as the Ford Fiesta reclaims its top position after being outsold by the Renault Clio in the full year 2017. The Fiesta is traditionally strong in Q1 thanks to its popularity in the UK and it therefore benefits from large volumes in March. In fact, this March the Fiesta was even the best selling nameplate overall, even ahead of the VW Golf, even despite being due for replacement this year. The Clio is still the fastest growing model in the top-5 and overtakes the Volkswagen Polo when compared to Q1 of 2016.
The subcompact car segment grew by 3% in 2016, about half the overall market growth of 6,2%, but it remains the largest segment in Europe by a large margin. At the top of the ranking, we have a change of guard. For only the second time since 2009 the Ford Fiesta is not Europe’s best selling subcompact car and for the first time in a decade the Renault Clio is the segment leader. We’ve had three different leaders in three quarters, with the Fiesta in the lead after the first quarter, but the Clio took over in Q3, while the Volkswagen Polo became the segment best seller in Q3. By year end, the Clio ended up on top with sales up 3% to just 3.500 ahead of the Polo, while the Fiesta lost 5% of its volume to drop below 300.000 annual sales for only the second time since 2002. The Clio has just been slightly facelifted and the Polo will be updated soon, but there will be an all-new generation of the Fiesta later this year, which should help the nameplate recover some of the lost ground.
Sales of subcompact cars in Europe are up just 2% in the first nine months of 2016, and they were flat in Q3. Europe’s biggest segment is in a low point of its product cycle, with a lot of new and updated models due in the coming months, including new generations for the two best sellers and a facelift of the #3. Still, only two models out of the top-12 are down year-on-year, with the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa less than one tenth of a percent. In each of the three quarters we’ve had a different leader this year: we started with the Ford Fiesta on top, then after six months the Renault Clio had taken over, and now in the third quarter the Volkswagen Polo has taken charge, even though the Fiesta outsold it in Q3 despite both being in the final stage of their life cycle. The Peugeot 208 is the big winner in the top-5 and the Dacia Sandero takes those honors for the top-10, even though it was passed by the Skoda Fabia this quarter.
Next weeks the doors of the oldest auto show in the world will open its doors to the public again: the biennial Paris Auto Show. Despite breaking through the 1 million visitors barrier the last time around in 2014, a number of brands have cancelled their stands this year, most notably Ford, Mazda and Volvo, but also many exotic brands: Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce. Still, there’s plenty of news with 4 major premieres and a bunch of interesting concept cars. Bart and Kriss will give their vote of Hot or Not to the most relevant of them. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
After 8 years it’s time to replace the very successful Audi Q5, and why change a winning formula? As we’ve come to expect from Audi, the design of the new Q5 is very evolutionary, with the overall shape staying the same, but a stronger and more swooping crease in the sides and a more pronounced grille. The Q5 sheds some weight compared to the outgoing version and the interior is even more refined.
It’s not ugly like the Q2 and Q7, what was good in the old Q5 has been left alone and they’ve improved the things I didn’t like too much. Impressive how an 8-year old design needs just such subtle changes to remain fresh. But it’s just not very sexy or mindblowing, so I struggle to call it Hot.
It’s no secret that I am a fan of evolutionary design, something that’s normal for most high-end consumer products (think appliances, fountain pens, Apple products, eyewear) but somehow gets lambasted for cars. The new Q5 is a perfect example of that – it takes what was good about the previous model (stance, proportions, gently bulging fenders) and gives it a more modern touch with sharper creases, a clamshell bonnet, and Audi’s new “3D” grille it now gives its crossovers. That it’s lighter and roomier is just the icing on top of the cake.
Sales of subcompact cars in Europe are up just 4% in the first half of 2016, compared to 8,8% for the overall market, as the best sellers are starting to age. Still, it remains the biggest segment of the continent in terms of volume. There’s been a change of leadership in Q2, with the Renault Clio grabbing the lead from the Ford Fiesta, which is due to be replaced later this year. The Fiesta has been around since 2008, and so has the Volkswagen Polo. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is even older, having been developed in 2006, but at least it had an extensive update in 2014. That leaves the Clio and the Peugeot 208 as the freshest models in the top-5, both being introduced in 2012. And it shows: the Clio is the best selling model in Q2 and the first half, while the 208 is the fastest growing model in the top-5. The Fiesta has been the segment leader since 2012 but is now relegated to third place by the Polo. It has even come under threat from the Corsa, which outsold it in May and was just 2.000 units behind for the quarter. Outside the top-5, the Toyota Yaris keeps improving slowly but steadily, although the Dacia Sandero and Skoda Fabia weren’t far behind in Q2. In fact, the Sandero grabbed 7th place from the Fabia, despite the latter being brand new in 2015.
The highest volume segment in Europe grows by just 3% in Q1 of 2016, compared to 8% for the overall market. The Ford Fiesta, segment leader for the past 7 years is now under serious attack with sales down 4%, while the Volkswagen Polo adds 4% and is less than 3.000 sales behind after leapfrogging the Renault Clio and the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa. The facelifted Peugeot 208 is closing in on the top-4 as well with sales up 13%, but the big winner of the top-15 is the new generation Skoda Fabia, adding a third to its volume of last year, and passing the Dacia Sandero and Seat Ibiza for 7th place, despite continuous growth for the French-Romanian model. The Citroën C3 also gains market share and a position against the Ibiza.[Read more…]
The subcompact car segment grows slower than the overall European car market at +6%, as only two models have been renewed last year. Still, 2.646.842 sales mean it’s still the biggest segment in Europe with more than 300.000 units advantage over the compact car segment. The Ford Fiesta leads for the 4th straight year and the 6th time in the last 7 years. The Renault Clio manages to hold on to its #2 spot above the Volkswagen Polo, despite the latter gaining 8% and closing in quickly. All three have sold over 300.000 units last year. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 208 and Toyota Yaris follow in the same order as the year before to keep the entire top-6 ranking stable, but the renewed Skoda Fabia adds almost as much volume as the three competitors ahead of it and moves past the Dacia Sandero and Citroën C3 to take 7th place. [Read more…]