Sales of minicars in Europe are growing again in the first quarter of 2014 after a slight decline in 2013, although the growth is still behind other segments, at 3% vs. 7% for the whole market. Forecasts for this segment are showing a 20% growth in the next three years, thanks to new arrivals like the Renault Twingo, the PSA-Toyota triplets and the Smart Fortwo this year . As a result of this product offensive, 6 out of the top 15 models will be either all-new or just refreshed by the end of 2014, and 13 out of the top 20 will have been renewed or refreshed in the last four years. Another reason for the expected boom in this segment is the rebound of sales in Italy, which is Europe’s largest minicar market. Italy has been in a sales slump in the last couple of years, dipping to levels not seen since the 1960’s.
The Fiat 500 is holding on to the first position it took from the Fiat Panda last year. After 2 months, the Panda was in the lead of the segment, but the 500 had an excellent month of March, outselling its sister by almost 7.000 units. This underscores the popularity of the 500 in the UK, where the model regularly scores a monthly top-10 position. It was the 8th best selling car in the UK in March, which is traditionally by far the biggest selling month of the year, thanks to the changeover to the new license plates. [Read more…]