The large MPV segment in Europe has given a small sign of life in the last quarter of 2013. Sales had been down 25% from January through September, but sales were up 14% from October through December.
Ford is to credit for this, as it is heavily discounting the outgoing S-Max and Galaxy, as the new generations will finally be presented at the Geneva Autoshow in March 2014, although they might not hit showrooms until early 2015. In the last quarter, S-Max sales are up 60% on 2012 and Galaxy more than doubles its sales on last year.
Despite this last-minute surge, the S-Max has had to give up the segment’s top spot to the Volkswagen Sharan and the Galaxy has been knocked off the podium by the Sharan’s cousin Seat Alhambra, the only model in the top 8 with a year-on-year gain.
For 2014, it’s hard to say who will be on top, as the VW-Group MPV’s are clearly the more modern and more sophisticated models, but may not be able (or want to) compete with the Fords on price. From 2015, Ford will be back on top for sure, but the segment may have shrunk below 100.000 total units by that time.
Below this top 4, all models will be axed or have been axed already, as the Espace will be replaced by a crossover in 2015 as well and Lancia will retreat to its home market.
Where does that leave the SsangYong Rodius? Ok, this won’t be axed, and it is in fact the biggest gainer of the segment, but it has been and always will be a marginal contender, as a small dealer network, a relatively unknown brand and far from appealing stand in the way of its success.
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