The large MPV segment in Europe has returned from its artificially high growth rate of 35% in the first quarter of 2014, which was due to sell-out pricing of the outgoing models of the Ford S-Max and Galaxy. In the second quarter, large MPV sales were down almost 7%, leading to a first half increase of 9%.
The S-Max enjoyed only two quarters in the lead of the segment, the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, until the Volkswagen Sharan struck back in the second quarter of this year, its 6% increase was enough to give it the edge over the S-Max in the first half.
Similarly, the Sharan’s sibling Seat Alhambra was outsold by the Galaxy in the fourth quarter of last year and had that model breathing down its neck in the first quarter of this year. In the second quarter, the Alhambra took some distance, as Ford’s sell-out pricing was apparently reduced.
Production of the two Fords will continue at full pace in the factory in Belgium until the end of 2014, when production of the next generations will start in Spain. It will be interesting to see if they can make another last comeback in one or both of the next quarters or if the Sharan can enjoy a second year in a row as the segment leader. With the new generation Fords arriving next year, they are likely the S-Max is likely to take back the crown in 2015.
Behind these four, which combined take about 86% of the segment, the Renault Espace is desperately awaiting its successor which is supposed to look like the Initiale Paris concept model. Leaving the segment to replace the inventor of the segment in Europe by a crossover model makes perfect sense considering the shrinking size of the segment and the fact that the Espace hasn’t topped the charts since 2006, but it may still leave some die-hard fans sad to lose such an iconic name.
Amazingly, the rumors that Lancia would be withdrawn from all markets outside of its home country Italy hasn’t at all hurt sales of the Chrysler-based Voyager, which has enjoyed an increase of over 26% in the second quarter, helping it to a first half sales increase of 13%, which is faster than the segment as a whole.
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