The subcompact car segment has grown 3% in the first quarter of 2015, which is slower than the overall market, but up from almost zero growth in 2014.
As traditionally, the Ford Fiesta has held on to its lead, although the competition is getting stronger. The top-4 of the model ranking are within 10.000 units of each other, and only has its strong showing in the UK market in March to thank for its continued dominance. In January and February, the Volkswagen Polo was the segment leader, followed by the Renault Clio, pushing the Fiesta down into third place both months. But its best month in three years has helped the little Ford recover in March. It sold over 47.700 units in Europe that month, more than January and February combined, and more than 27.000 of those sales were registered in the UK.
It will be interesting to see if the aging Fiesta can hold on to its crown until the end of the year, with the Clio seemingly on a strong run, unaffected by cannibalization from the Captur small crossover, and both the Polo and the Corsa recently having been facelifted. Yes, I know General Motors calls it a new generation, but we all know they had no money to develop an all-new Corsa, so they took the old one and slapped the front of the Adam on it. Opel then hoped consumers would fall for this lipstick-on-a-pig strategy, but for now most of the 21% growth of the Corsa is the result of a huge batch of self-registrations by GM’s fleet company Opel Rent in Germany, where even the “new” generation Corsa doesn’t reach a higher private sales ratio (up to February) than 22,3%, compared to 47,6% for the Polo and 41,7% for the Fiesta.
A bit further down the ranking, we see the Toyota Yaris continue to improve in sixth place, while the Dacia Sandero holds on to its impressive seventh spot, challenged by the facelifted Seat Ibiza and the New generation Skoda Fabia. Both these VW Group subcompacts have leapfrogged the Citroën C3, while the surging all-new Hyundai i20 is hoping to do the same.
The Nissan Micra improves further on its best year since 2011, this generation’s first full year of sales, and outselling the struggling Fiat Punto for the first time ever. The Suzuki Swift miraculously improves its sales by a third, the best of the top-15, without any major changes or updates that I’m aware of.
The Honda Jazz and Mazda2 both await their replacements later this year, while the all-electric Renault Zoe moves into the segment top-20 with sales more than doubling on last year thanks to Renault’s decision to give customers the option to buy the car including the battery outright instead of charging for battery rental. A technically updated version with improved range is due later this year and should help the Zoe progress even further.
Toyota Urban Cruiser
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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