Europe’s second biggest segment keeps growing faster than the overall market, but only slightly at 10% for the compact car segment vs. 8,3% for all cars. The tight grip the Volkswagen Golf has held on the segment the last few years seems to soften a little bit, as the Golf grows slower than the segment. Still, more than one in every five compact cars sold in Europe is a Golf, and the VW Group has a 40% share of the segment, although that’s admittedly lower than 2014’s 44%.
The Ford Focus is stable on the first quarter of last year, despite its recent facelift. It does hold on to its second place, but just like its smaller sibling the Fiesta, it has strong March volume in the UK to thank for that. In January and February, the Skoda Octavia clearly outsold the Focus and even the Peugeot 308 came within 1.000 units for the two months combined. With over 32.000 units, more than half of the Ford’s volume in this quarter was registered in March alone.
The aforementioned 308 is the strongest gainer in the top-20 of the segment thanks to the new generation, its station wagon version and the European Car Of The Year award in March of last year. This also means it’s now officially outselling the Opel/Vauxhall Astra for the first time since 2004 and is likely to continue to do so for the rest of the year, as the latter won’t be replaced until the end of the year.
A similar trend is visible between the Seat Leon and Renault Megane. The Spanish challenger has all stars aligned with the all-new third generation Leon and the addition of a station wagon version, while the Megane is eagerly awaiting its replacement next year. At least the Megane is still in positive territory, while the Toyota Auris takes a hit at -7% as a facelift of the model is on its way.
The Citroën C4 Cactus impressively enters the top-10 in 9th place with over 21.000 sales in the quarter, almost 10.000 more than the regular C4, down more than a third possibly due to some sibling rivalry but also as its facelifted version wasn’t yet fully available across Europe.
Some of my readers have brought up that the Citroën C4 Cactus is on the border of being a small crossover, competing more with the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 than with the Megane and 308. Citroën has even started calling it a crossover in some of their marketing. Let me know what you think in the comments below: keep it in the compact car segment or move it to the small suv segment?
The Mazda3 keeps improving and is just over 1.000 sales away from a top-10 position, while the all-new Nissan Pulsar outsells its British-made fellow Honda Civic, despite sales increasing 10% for the latter thanks to the addition of a station wagon version.
The Nissan Leaf also continues to improve, the first EV to sell more than 5.000 units in a quarter and more than double the selling rate of the hybrid Toyota Prius.
The last remaining Fiat Bravo and Linea in stock are being sold off, before the all-new Fiat Aegea sedan starts production in Turkey, at first for the local market and other Southern European countries where sedan models are still in demand, before the hatchback version will be launched across Europe to replace the Bravo.
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