The small van-derived car (or Ludospace in French) segment in Europe in 2013 is down slightly more than the average of all cars, at -4% vs -2% for the whole market. Traditionally, the cargo versions of these cars sell much better than their passenger versions, but there is a loyal and happy customer base of people looking for an affordable and spacious no-frills car, and who don’t mind the lack of refinement and the utilitarian looks.
In 2013, every model is down, except for two newcomers of late 2012: the Dacia Dokker and Mercedes-Benz Citan Combi. In fact, with the exception of the segment leader Volkswagen Caddy Life, all models are down double digits.
The Dacia Dokker makes a smashing entrance, straight up to 5th place, within arm’s reach of its cousin Renault Kangoo, while the Mercedes-Benz Citan Combi, which is a rebadged Renault Kangoo stays stuck at the bottom of the charts. It is the second attempt at this segment for Mercedes-Benz, after the Vaneo in the beginning of the new millennium was not very successful either, sales peaked at 15.500 sales in 2002 but the model was pulled off the market after just five years.
The Fiat Doblo outsells its rebadged Opel/Vauxhall clone by a 3:1 ratio as the Combo is already down again.
This year, Ford is making an entrance with two all-new models in the segment: the Tourneo Connect, which will compete with the Caddy Life, Citroën Berlingo etc. and the Tourneo Courier, which will compete with the triplets Fiat Qubo, Citroën Nemo Multispace and Peugeot Bipper Tepee. Both should be able to fight for the lead of their respective subsegments..
The larger vans, which are mostly used by taxi companies and as camper vans, are down 12% in 2013, with all models in the top 10 down, with the exception of the Opel Vivaro Tour, which closes in on its original, the Renault Trafic.
The Volkswagen Multivan is still in the lead by a large margin, selling twice as many passenger vans as the number two Mercedes-Benz Viano. The Viano is renewed for 2014, so is likely to rebound this year, but don’t expect it to fight for the lead.
The Fiat Ducato is the most popular chassis for coachbuilders to use as a basis for camper vans, and despite the financial downturn, the Ducato is down only slightly on its record year of 2012, outselling its clones from Citroën and Peugeot by a large margin. One size smaller, the Scudo is the slowest selling model of the French-Italian triplets.
The smaller Ford Tourneo Custom more than makes up for the loss of the soon-to-be-replaced Transit Tourneo and may be able to outsell its larger sibling in 2014.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been facelifted late 2013 and should be able to increase its sales in 2014.
Note: not all cars in this segment are specified, but most other models are minor players.
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