The small crossover segment has already topped half a million sales after three quarters of the year and has already broken the full year 2013 tally by a large margin. By the end of the year, a total of 670.000 small crossovers may have hit European streets, of which the top-5 players take a combined share of 92%.
Thanks to the popularity of the segment in their home market France, the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008 and Dacia Duster take the podium positions of the segment. Or is it the other way around? Are small crossover sales in France ahead of the rest of the continent because their incumbent brands have introduced the hottest new models last year? Either way, the Captur remains the leader of the pack and the only model above 20% segment share, but behind it is a tight three-way race. Year-to-date, the 2008 is well ahead of the Duster and the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, but when looking at the third quarter, less than 125 sales separate the three models.
The Duster almost outsold the Captur in July and actually did so in the slow month of August, but it fell back in September. Sales of the Mokka have headed in the opposite direction, losing ground in July and August, but making it all up in September at it came within 400 units of the Captur. This can be explained by the relatively high dependence on the British market for the Mokka, as one third of all European registrations in September were in the UK due to the twice yearly license-plate changeover. With the Duster only introduced in the British islands last year, only a small portion of its European sales are right-hand drive. This also explains why the Nissan Juke outsold the Duster in September, as the Juke is built alongside the larger Qashqai in Nissan’s factory in the UK, so the models are considered domestic for many British buyers.
The Juke lead the segment until last year when the new entrants hit the market and was kicked down to fifth place. With the recent facelift it should be able to make up some of the lost ground, but I’m not sure if it could make it back up to the podium next year, as the competition between the models is fierce and new models continue to enter the segment.
One of these new models make their first appearance in the ranking as the Jeep Renegade has officially started sales in September. Expect the Renegade to storm up the charts next year when customer deliveries pick up steam. Passing the Suzuki SX4 should be an easy target for the Italian-American SUV, but with Jeep’s limited dealer network and its twin similar Fiat 500X in the making, I don’t expect the Renegade to come close to the Juke. The 500X should be better equipped to challenge the small Nissan next year, although it may start slow as sales are still ramping up in the first few months.
Honda will re-enter the segment with a new HR-V by the summer that should give the struggling brand a desperately needed boost, Suzuki will have the (no longer Grand) Vitara in showrooms early next year and Mazda has only just presented its all-new CX-3 at the LA Auto Show, so don’t expect that model in European showrooms until 2016.
In the meantime, the Ford Ecosport should be able to pass the Suzuki Jimny and the Chevrolet Trax by the end of the year to move into 7th place, as stocks of the Trax almost dried up, with only 500 sales in the third quarter.
Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2013 and monthly sales in 2012, 2013 and 2014, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.
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