Sales of small MPVs continue to nosedive, as 2016 segment volume is down 12% in the fourth quarter and down 14% for the full year, barely staying above 300.000 sales. That means the entire segment sells fewer units than the Renault Clio by itself. This also makes it by far the fastest shrinking segment in Europe for the second year running. Until 2014, more than 400.000 small MPVs were consistently sold every year. Unsurprisingly, all models share the pain, with not a single nameplate growing its volume in 2016, after only one model improved in 2015. The segment leader Fiat 500L shows the slowest rate of decline at -4% and improves its share of the segment to 27% and logically remains on top of the ranking, followed by the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, which will be replaced in 2017 by the Crossland X. This will be a more crossover-like model, co-developed with PSA which will launch a new generation Citroën C3 Picasso on the same platform. The Ford B-Max is unlikely to be replaced when it hits the end of its life cycle, but holds on to the third spot is took from the Nissan Note in the beginning of this year.
The small MPV segment in Europe is dying quickly at -15% in the first three quarters of 2016, and it may drop below 300.000 units this year, down by a third on 2013 when Europeans bought more than 450.000 small MPVs. Those customers have switched to buying small crossovers, which are more trendy and also offer a higher seating position, one of the main selling points of these cars. Not a single of the still existing models in this segment improved its sales on last year, with the Nissan Note taking the biggest hit, losing almost a quarter of its volume and the Citroën C3 Picasso performing the best at just -2%. The Fiat 500L remains the distant leader thanks to its home market Italy which buys 2 out of 3 500L’s sold in Europe. The Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Ford B-Max complete the top-3. GM and PSA are developing the next generation Meriva and C3 Picasso together and are designing more crossover-like models to appeal to a wider audience. The Meriva will be renamed Crossland X.
Sales of small MPVs in Europe are slowing down fast, as customers are switching away from these roomy alternatives to subcompact hatchbacks in favor of the more trendy crossovers that are gaining popularity quickly. And the manufacturers are giving the people what they need: there are no new models entering the segment, and the existing models that are due to be redesigned are all switching to a more SUV-like design. All of the top-5 players in this segment also have a crossover model in their line-up and all of those are outselling their MPV counterparts, making this segment a difficult business case to spend money on developing a next generation small MPV. As a result of that, the aging segment (not only in terms of model age, but also the age of the prospective buyers) is down 15% in the first half of 2016, dipping below 200.000 sales as only one of the players in this segment sells more than it did last year, and by a tiny margin.
The demise of the small MPV segment in Europe accelerates in the first quarter of 2016, as sales plunge by 20% after a 15% drop in 2015. Just one model shows an increase in sales (with the exception of the 3 sales of the Lancia Musa, a model that ended production in 2012), and two more lose single digit volume, while 7 models show double digit declines. This is partially due to a lack of new products, but also a result of cannibalization from small crossovers, the fastest growing mainstream segment in Europe. These are similarly priced and sacrifice a bit of practicality for less awkward design. The Fiat 500L gains market share with sales down “just” 15% and is now at 26% of the segment. The Opel/Vauxhall Meriva loses just 3% even though a replacement is due later this year. That new generation is being co-developed with PSA who will market a new C3 Picasso version of that same model. And to reflect the shift of interest by consumers from MPVs to crossovers, the new Meriva and Picasso will have a more SUV-like design, similar to the current generation Peugeot 3008 and the latest version of the Renault Espace.[Read more…]
The small MPV segment in Europe is under stress from the small crossover segment, with sales down 60.000 units or 15% in 2015 to 354.425 sales. This is the lowest figure for the segment since 2003 when the first generation Opel/Vauxhall Meriva had just been introduced and none of the other current contenders were around yet. The pain is shared among all players with the exception of one: the facelifted Kia Venga manages to improve 13% and leapfrog the Skoda Roomster, which ended production in April and sold just a handful of remaining stock models in the last few months of the year. The Fiat 500L remains the best selling small MPV thanks to its home market Italy, which takes mroe than 58% of the total European volume. Serbia, where the 500L is produced, is the only country in the world where it’s the best selling model overall, albeit with a humble 1.819 sales.
The decline of the small MPV segment continues in Q3 of 2015, as customers flock to the increasingly popular small crossovers. So far this year, there’s only one model in the segment to improve its sales year-on-year, and that’s unsurprisingly from a brand that doesn’t (yet) offer a small crossover. Nonetheless, the Fiat 500L keeps its crown as the best selling small MPV in Europe, but has been outsold by its crossover sibling 500X in every month of Q3.
The Opel/Vauxhall Meriva follows at a distance, holding on to the second spot it took from the Nissan Note in Q2. The Note is even under fire from the Ford B-Max, the car that once led the segment before falling out of grace when newer and better alternatives appeared onto the market. However, Ford is the only brand where the small MPV outsells its crossover rival, with the Mokka-Meriva at a 3:1 ratio and the Juke-Note at 2:1, while the B-Max still outsells the Ford Ecosport. [Read more…]
The small MPV segment accelerates its slowdown in Q2, as sales of small MPVs are down 13% in the first half, from -9% in Q1. As mentioned before, this is undoubtedly due to the growing popularity of small crossovers and an influx of models into that segment. In fact, with the introduction of the Fiat 500X, all top-5 players in the small MPV segment now also have a crossover sibling/competitor within their brand. And it can’t be a coincidence these are the MPVs that are showing the steepest declines.
As a result, only three out of the nine surviving models show an increase in sales (and none of the top-5), while four others show double digit contractions (all in the top-5). The leader Fiat 500L keeps its share of the segment stable thanks to sales down “just” 11%, and the Fiat consolidates its first place as the its nearest competitor of last year Nissan Note drops even further at -27% and down into third position. The Opel/Vauxhall Meriva moves into second place as it does slightly less bad than the overall segment at -6%. Despite sales down 20%, the former segment leader Ford B-Max holds on to its 4th place thanks to the Citroën C3 Picasso’s even bigger drop at -28%. [Read more…]
After stabilizing at just over 400.000 sales in 2014, European sales of small MPVs are down as the segment is hurt by the thunderous arrival of small crossover models, which offer a similar high seating position, in an equally practical but much more attractive looking package. And considering the top-5 players in this segment now all offer an attractive crossover alternative (counting the Citroën C4 Cactus as one) and all are faced with declining sales, I predict the segment is pretty much doomed. Renault has realized this early by not replacing the Modus small MPV in favor of the Captur small crossover.
The Fiat 500L keeps its lead of the segment thanks virtually flat sales and now commands an almost 25% share of the segment. However, with the arrival of the 500X and its sibling Jeep Renegade in showrooms now, the visibly much less attractive 500L (in my opinion) seems destined to spend the rest of its life cycle in rental car lots, as the utterly hideous 7-seater 500L Living has done since its inception. [Read more…]
Sales of small MPVs in Europe have seem to hit a ceiling at just over 400.000 annual sales, as customers prefer the much more trendy small crossovers. Only two models manage to increase sales and do so by a large margin, while the rest of the segment is struggling. With the segment leader 500L soon to get internal competition from the 500X crossover, and no new models planned for the year, I predict the segment to take a big hit in 2015 and easily fall below 400.000 sales for only the second time in a decade. It may even drop as low as 350.000 sales, while the overall market remains stable or may even show a slight increase again.
Sales of the two segment leaders Fiat 500L and Nissan Note were both down in each of the last two months of the year, indicating their impressive winning streak in 2014 isn’t likely to continue into 2015. The 500L reaches record sales for the model at 94.000 units, while the Note clocks its best year since 2007. Contrastingly, even though sales of the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva remain relatively stable, the model is still down more than half on as recent as 2011. [Read more…]