At +4% in the first three quarters of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew faster than the minicar and subcompact segments, but slower than the overall market. The traditional leader Volkswagen Golf is feeling the competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, but its top spot is in no way threatened. In fact, VW feels so confident about the strength of the Golf nameplate, its upcoming facelift will keep exterior design updates to a minimum. The Golf will be made up-to-date on in-car technology, with gesture control for its multimedia system and semi-autonomous features. Meanwhile, the Astra is the biggest winner of the segment in volume terms and is now the only other compact car with a double digit share of the segment. After narrowly edging out the Ford Focus for 3rd place in the first half of 2016, the Skoda Octavia firmly consolidates that position in Q3, as the Focus is the biggest loser in the top-10.
Sales in the compact segment slightly improve to a loss of 3% in the third quarter of 2016, as the year-to-date loss stays at -6%. The top-3 of the segment remains fairly stable, but most of the “challengers” is having a hard time keeping up, as consumers still favor crossovers over the traditional sedans. Still, after only 4 out of the segment 17 models improved year-over-year in the first half, that figure improved to 7 models in Q3. [Read more…]
At +6% in the first half of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew faster than the minicar and subcompact segments, but slower than the overall market. In Q2 the compact car segment grew by 10%, which is just ahead of the market’s 9,8% gain. The Volkswagen Golf remains untouchable despite the diesel scandal and renewed competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, but it is one of only 3 models in the top-10 to lose volume. The Golf’s closest rival from a year ago, the Ford Focus, loses even more and is pushed down into fourth place by the new generation Astra, up 27%. With the Skoda Octavia in third place and the Seat Leon in sixth, the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform takes almost 37% of sales in the second largest segment in Europe. With the Focus starting to age, the Peugeto 308 has a shot at grabbing fourth place in the segment by the end of the year, a ranking last achieved by the previous generation in 2008. The 308 already outsold the Focus in May and was just 750 units behind in Q2. The new generation Renault Megane has started deliveries and is aiming for 6th place in the segment by year-end, as it already outsold the Leon and the Toyota Auris in Q2.
Sales in the compact segment fell by 6 percent in the second quarter, exactly the same rate at which they fell in the first quarter of the year. This is a disappointing performance, given that the second quarter saw two high-selling models hit the market (Chevy Cruze and Hyundai Elantra), joining the Scion iM that was released in the fall of 2015. From among 17 models in this segment only 4 saw their sales rise in the first half of the year relative to 2015, leaving a few models to hold sales up the segment. [Read more…]
At +4% in Q1 of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew at a similar rate as the minicar and subcompact segments, at half the growth rate of the overall market. The perennial leader Volkswagen Golf is still firmly in control despite losing 2% of its volume on last year. Its nearest competitor from a year ago, the Ford Focus, also loses a percent and is overtaken by the surging Opel/Vauxhall Astra, up 30% thanks to the new generation. That still leaves the Golf untouchable, selling more than the #2 and #3 combined, but at least the competition doesn’t sit still like in the midsized segment. The Skoda Octavia is kicked off the podium, which it has impressively held for two years. And the Peugeot 308 is closing in quickly, as it already did in the final months of 2015. The Seat Leon is surprisingly stable and stays ahead of the facelifted Toyota Auris, while the Renault Megane is the biggest loser of the top-10 and drops a spot as it awaits the arrival of the new, fourth generation.[Read more…]
Sales in the compact segment fell by 6% compared to Q1 2015, the second-worst performance from among all mainstream segments, better only than the minicar segment. While one could be inclined to continue the narrative that it’s the low gas prices that are driving consumers to the segment above, my feeling is that few consumers are abandoning compact cars from mid-sized ones for economy reasons. Rather, the compact segment is full of aging cars that are nearing their retirement, with only the hot (sales-wise) new Honda Civic, refreshed Nissan Sentra and niche Scion iM providing any new blood. But, unlike for the subcompact segment there is hope on the horizon in the form of a refreshed Toyota Corolla, as well as a new Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Subaru Impreza.
The 2016 New York Auto Show has started, and while it’s not as important as the show in Detroit, nor as West-Coast flashy as the show in LA, a handful of automakers still picked it to reveal their new or updated models, or concepts of upcoming models. We’ve picked the 7 most significant ones and compared notes. Let us know what you think of them in the comments below.
Acura MDX facelift
I’m glad they finally ditched the chrome shield in the grille, but the downside is that the MDX has become even more anonymous than it was before. Acura’s design is apparently going the complete opposite of that of Lexus, who are getting more extreme with every launch. That probably makes the MDX the perfect minivan-that’s-not-a-minivan, so they’ll probably continue to sell a ton of them. They also have a hybrid now, with the same system as the NSX. The MDX surely has a lot of good things going for it, otherwise it wouldn’t be the #2 of its segment. And yes, the Q7 is shockingly awful and Mercedes hasn’t gotten the styling quite right in any of the ML/GLE generations, but I think the X5 beats the MDX in styling, even if for the simple fact that it actually gets noticed.
It’s funny, you say “Miss”, but I read a lot of good things: “ditched the chrome shield grille”, “perfect minivan-that’s-not-a-minivan”, “hybrid with the same system as the NSX”. I had a soft spot for the MDX Mk II, and while the new model is not quite as muscular-looking as that, I think the facelift makes it into a rather handsome car, better-looking than any of the German trio (Q7, X5 and ML). In my mind Acura would do best to emulate the inoffensive Audis of late 1990s/early 2000s, and this fits the bill perfectly.
Sales in the second-largest segment in Europe are up 5% in 2015 to 2.317.728 units, which is a slower growth than the overall market as customers continue to switch to crossovers. The Volkswagen Golf loses half a percentage point of share, but that still leaves it with 23,1% of the segment. 2015 is probably the last year in a while the Golf tops half a million registrations, as it will start to feel increased competition from the new generation Opel-Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane. The outgoing Astra is kicked down into 5th place by the Peugeot 308 but should easily finish 2016 in 2nd place. The Skoda Octavia barely holds on to its third place as the surging 308 adds almost a third to its volume and two percentage points of share to come within 2.000 units of its Czech rival. Some stats even put the Peugeot ahead of the Octavia in the Full Year data, but when I add up their monthly sales this is what they add up to. Whichever way you look at it, this has been a stellar year for the former Car of the Year as it is single-handedly responsible for half of the segment increase and has more than doubled the nameplate’s sales in two years time. [Read more…]
Sales in the compact segment grew by 1% compared to 2014, a better performance than in either the minicar or subcompact segments, thought still behind the industry average of 5% growth. With the latest crop of compact cars being large enough to accommodate a whole family sales in this segment are less sensitive to gas prices – consumers are less likely to migrate to the segments above simply because they no longer need an economic car now that gas is super-cheap. For many people a compact car is all they need. [Read more…]
While the compact segment was the only mainstream segment to grow in the first half of 2015, it was a growth it could not sustain into the third quarter, when its sales fell by 1%, bringing the total gains for the year so far down to 2%. Not a bad performance, given that many of the segments mainstays are about to be replaced or updated (Civic, Elantra, Cruze, Sentra). Still, with the mid-sized segment picking up steam the gap between the two is widening, and it may take more expensive gas for it to start closing again. [Read more…]