In the top-10, the Golf naturally reigns supreme, and with 61.000 additional sales, it adds “a Citroën C4” to its sales volume compared to 2013. It’s still followed by four subcompacts, of which the Fiesta, Clio and Polo have stayed very close together, each adding between 14.700 and 15.900 sales last year, as the Corsa falls behind a bit. But so does the Peugeot 208, the biggest loser in the top-10.
The Skoda Octavia has its best sales in Europe ever and together with the Audi A3 it kicks the Opel/Vauxhall Astra and BMW 3-series out of the top-10, while the Nissan Qashqai enjoys its fifth straight year with over 200.000 sales.
The Astra on the other hand has its worst year ever, down another 9,5% after dipping below 200.000 sales for the first time last year. The Opel/Vauxhall compact is now threatened by the Peugeot 308, which looks set to outsell the Astra for the very first time ever, although its predecessor 307 has done this as well from 2002 till 2004.
The Fiat 500 breaks its 2009 European sales record, increasing its 2013 sales by 13,5%, despite being on the market virtually unchanged since 2007. And instead of cannibalizing sales of Fiat’s other minicar the Panda, the 500 is more likely stealing sales from its larger sibling, the Punto subcompact, which falls (far) below 100.000 sales for the first time ever at 86.500 units. That’s a harsh landing for a nameplate which regularly sold over half a million units a year until 2002. The Punto will be replaced by a 500 5-door in 2016, which may not be such a bad decision, considering the only other Fiat to increase sales in 2014 was the small MPV 500L.
Like the 500, the Volkswagen Tiguan has been on the market since 2007, although it has had a facelift in 2011. But that hasn’t stopped VW’s midsized crossover to increase its sales by 5,7% and finish 2014 within less than 1.000 sales of its record year 2012.
The Tiguan’s distant relative Seat Leon (+59%) did break its European sales record, and by a large margin. In fact, for the first time since its introduction 30 years ago, the Ibiza (+2,3%) has had to give up its crown of best selling Seat.
With almost 170.000 sales in 2014, the Toyota Yaris, remains the second best selling Japanese and in fact Asian model, but more impressively it has become the first Asian model to have surpassed 3 million cumulative sales in Europe, an impressive feat from the French-built subcompact.
With the BMW 3-series(-16,3% in 2014) no longer including the coupe and convertible versions, which are renamed 4-series, and with the 4-series Gran Coupe also possibly cannibalizing sales of Munich’s traditional best seller, the Mercedes C-Class (+13,5%) has a shot of outselling its arch enemy for the second time ever in 2015, after having already done so in 2011. Almost equally impressive, the Audi A4, despite being replaced in 2015 after seven years of service, manages to keep its sales relatively stable at only -3,2%, although that means 2014 is still a record low in volume for the A4.
The Renault Captur is the winner of the fastest growing segment in Europe, that of small crossovers. Breaking into the European top-15, the Captur almost doubles its sales of 2013, its introduction year. It’s closely followed by the Peugeot 2008 in 23rd place with sales up 131%, the Dacia Duster in 28th, increasing 45% and the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka in 29th, up 80%. The Duster broke through the 500.000 cumulative sales milestone in December, at the same time its little sibling the Sandero registered its 700.000th sale in Europe.
The Volvo V40 has improved further on its already impressive performance in 2013 with sales up another 9% to become the first Volvo nameplate to sell more than 80.000 units in Europe since the V70/XC70 did so in 2002.
The Opel/Vauxhall Adam silences its critics for trying too hard to be a hip Opel or Vauxhall by increasing its sales another 18,5% to 54.200 units, while General Motors had targeted around 45.000 annual sales for its minicar. And with the new generation Renault Twingo also already a hit, Suzuki may find out they’ve chosen the wrong strategy for the A-segment with their Celerio. Although the Japanese say they’re launching a “hip” minicar themselves within two years…..
Surprisingly, the Renault Zoe has started a year-end sprint to become the best selling EV in December at almost double the Nissan Leaf’s tally, but that wasn’t enough for the Zoe to take the full year 2014 EV sales title. It did become the second electric car to break through the 10.000 unit mark, at just over 11.000 sales.
The Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan has made a splashing entry this year into 72nd place, selling almost as many units in only half a year than its predecessor Golf Plus sold in all twelve months of 2013. It does seem to cannibalize on the Touran, which was down harshly in September, October and November.
The Citroën C4 Cactus in 119th spot has sold surprisingly well for such a stand-out design, and it’s a welcome success for Citroën, especially since the Cactus marks a return to the quirkiness that used to define the French brand in better days.
I have mixed feelings about the fortune of the Mercedes-Benz GLA (98th), as it does manage to rack up almost 45.000 sales in its first ten months of sales, selling more than the CLA did in the full year, but the small Mercedes SUV does seem to have trouble catching up with the BMW X1, which is already five years old, and the segment leader Audi Q3.
The Porsche Macan (#157) and BMW X4 (#175) are shaking up the compact premium SUV segment, followed by the Lexus NX (#235), which is set to become the most successful Lexus ever, already outselling the RX (#236) in just four months of sales vs. a full year for its larger sibling, and estimated to take about one third of the brand’s sales from 2015 onwards.
Another successfully introduced crossover is the Jeep Renegade (#201, but #91 in December), already the American brand’s best selling model in October, November and December, and taking Jeep to unprecedented monthly volumes in Europe. The Renegade’s sibling Fiat 500X is due to hit the market this year and should help FCA back above Hyundai-Kia again, after being outsold by the South-Koreans for the first time ever in 2014.
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