The subcompact car segment in Europe is still up 5% after the first three quarters of 2015, which is slower than the overall market. At over 2 million units, it remains the highest volume segment of the continent. The traditional leader Ford Fiesta remains untouched despite starting to show its age, but below it there’s an interesting battle for 2nd place. So far, the Renault Clio is able to hold on to its position, but the VW Polo has come within 300 units. And considering the Polo outsold the Clio by more than 6.500 units in Q3, it’s safe to predict it will move up one spot by the end of the year. In fact, the Polo might even be challenging the Fiesta for the Q4 top spot, as it came within 2.500 units in Q3. The full-year crown looks like a one-horse race, but perhaps will 2016 be the first time since 2009 that the Fiesta doesn’t top the subcompact segment. [Read more…]
The Subcompact segment shrank by 6%, a slightly faster decline than the 4% at which all the mainstream segments shrank compared to the first half of 2014. This is goes against the trend in recent years when subcompacts have been growing in popularity, and is probably driven by factors such as an aging line-up for most carmakers and lower gas prices compared to last year. It also seems like it might get worse for the segment before it gets better, seeing as there are no new models on the horizon beyond the Scion iA, a Mazda2 sedan in drag.
H1 2015 sales figures suggest there are three tiers of cars in the Subcompact segment. First, there are the market leaders – Kia Soul retains its position at the lead, though its lead over the second-placed Nissan Versa shrank to just around 1,000 units. It should be noted that while the Soul is only sold as a hatchback, the Versa comes in two flavors – a modern hatchback (Note in Europe) and an ugly, cheap 4-door sedan whose USP is that it offers the largest amount of interior space for a car in this price bracket.
Sales of subcompact cars in Europe have grown 5% in the first half to more than 1,4 million units, which is an improvement from a stable 2014 and a 3% growth in the first quarter, but still lags the overall market at +8%. The Ford Fiesta holds on to its traditional leadership of Europe’s biggest segment with growth only slightly below the segment average, despite being the oldest model of the top-8.
Behind the Renault Clio, segment leader in April, the Volkswagen Polo has passed the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa this quarter to reclaim third place. Both models are up 13% year-on-year thanks to their facelifts earlier this year. The Peugeot 208 has also been facelifted recently and is recovering from -3% after Q1 to +1% in the first half.
The all-new Skoda Fabia is storming up the charts, already having passed its sibling Seat Ibiza this quarter, the Czech hatchback and wagon will undoubtedly grab 7th place from the Dacia Sandero in the next quarter. The Fabia also outsold the Toyota Yaris every month in Q2, but by such a small margin that the best selling Japanese subcompact appears safe in 6th place for the rest of the year. [Read more…]
The subcompact car segment has grown 3% in the first quarter of 2015, which is slower than the overall market, but up from almost zero growth in 2014.
As traditionally, the Ford Fiesta has held on to its lead, although the competition is getting stronger. The top-4 of the model ranking are within 10.000 units of each other, and only has its strong showing in the UK market in March to thank for its continued dominance. In January and February, the Volkswagen Polo was the segment leader, followed by the Renault Clio, pushing the Fiesta down into third place both months. But its best month in three years has helped the little Ford recover in March. It sold over 47.700 units in Europe that month, more than January and February combined, and more than 27.000 of those sales were registered in the UK.
It will be interesting to see if the aging Fiesta can hold on to its crown until the end of the year, with the Clio seemingly on a strong run, unaffected by cannibalization from the Captur small crossover, and both the Polo and the Corsa recently having been facelifted. [Read more…]
In the late 1990’s, Nissan was Europe’s best selling Asian car brand thanks to the Micra, Almera and Primera, which were the epitome of Japanese cars in that period: not very exciting, but extremely reliable. But in the early 2000’s, they tried to bring more frivolous design into their cars with the 2002 Micra K12 and 2002 Primera P12, and as a result, the once faithful customers looking for anonymous transportation stayed away. At the same time, the newly formed alliance with Renault caused the Japanese engineers to lose their focus on bulletproof reliability, and Nissan’s sales dropped from almost 440.000 units in 1998 to just over 300.000 in 2007. Contrastingly, Toyota was growing fast, and it has held the title of biggest Asian brand in Europe since 2000, even more than doubling Nissan’s sales between 2004 and 2008.
As Nissan realized that they could no longer be competitive in the regular compact hatchback and midsized sedan and station wagon segments with the Almera and Primera, they made a very risky but brave decision: abandon Europe’s second and third largest segments with combined annual volumes of 4.3 million units in 2006 (5.9 million including premium brands) in favor of relatively small, but fast-growing niche segments. [Read more…]
Sales in the European subcompact segment have stabilized in the second half of 2014 after increasing slightly in the beginning of the year. With over 2,5 million cars sold, it remains Europe’s largest segment.
Even though sales of the model slowed in the fourth quarter, the segment’s bestseller Ford Fiesta has managed to fend off a simultaneous coup by the Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo. However, both these models outsold the Fiesta in each of the last four months of the year, so taking the 2015 crown again is not a matter of course for the small Ford.
Add to that a facelift (although GM likes to call it a new generation) of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa in the beginning of the year, and the subcompact segment may turn out to be one of the most heavily contested in the market this year. [Read more…]