The compact car segment in Europe has grown by 3% in 2016, half the growth of the overall market at +6,2% and equal to the subcompact car segment, which remains Europe’s largest segment ahead of this one. Expectedly, the dominant leader of the segment Volkswagen Golf drops back below half a million sales after two years, due to increasing pressure of fresh rivals. The main culprit to the Golf’s demise is the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, movin up from fifth place to #2 for the first time since 2011 thanks to a 30% sales increase on last year, topping a quarter million sales also for the first time since 2011. The bang-for-your-bucks Skoda Octavia holds on to its third place with sales up 5%, helped by the 9% loss for the Ford Focus, dropping from 2nd place to #4. The Peugeot 308 loses a similar share of 9% and drops a place to #5 after topping 200.000 sales for only one year.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off
Thanks to the full availability of the station wagon version of its new generation in the last quarter, the Renault Megane recovers from a 20% loss in Q1 to a 20% increase for the full year, jumping two places to #6, but more impressive is its 4th place in Q4, outselling both the Focus and the 308, a sign that it may challenge the Octavia for a podium position in 2017. However, the Octavia will be facelifted this year, giving it double headlights very similar to the previous generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Holding on to 6th place is the Octavia’s sibling Seat Leon, followed by the Toyota Auris with almost stable sales.
The Hyundai i30 will be renewed in 2017 and loses 14% to stay only just ahead of its sibling Kia Cee’d. The Skoda Rapid also has virtually stable sales and still doesn’t manage to enter the top-10. In fact, it’s threatened by the all-new Fiat Tipo, which was the #9 of the segment in Q4 boosted by the introduction of the hatchback and station wagon versions. The Citroën C4 and Mazda3 both slightly lose volume and barely manage to stay ahead of the Honda Civic, up 4%. In contrast, the Nissan Pulsar loses over a quarter of its volume to less than half of its projected sales, which I’ve always found overly ambitious to begin with. The Nissan Leaf continues to improve with sales up to a record 18.210, keeping it ahead of the renewed Toyota Prius which more than doubles the volume of its predecessor last year.
At the tail end of the top-20, we find the Citroën C-Elysee, also more than doubling up now that the brand has decided to make it available in more countries, most notably France and Germany, even though most of its sales in those countries will be fleet sales like to taxi companies. Still, the C-Elysee becomes the best selling sedan-only model of the segment ahead of the Toyota Corolla, Seat Toledo and Volkswagen Jetta. The Hyundai Ioniq has been launched as a hybrid first, before the EV and plug-in hybrid versions arrive in 2017, but it already outsold its rival Prius in Q4. This promises to be a tough fight in 2017!
In 2017 the Golf, Leon and Octavia will be facelifted early 2017, followed by the 308. As mentioned, the i30 will be replaced this year, which means its sibling Cee’d will soon follow suit, and their rival Auris will also be renewed on Toyota’s new platform. More product news from Asia: Honda has already revealed the new generation Civic hatchback, and Nissan is expected to facelift the Pulsar. Volkswagen will renew the Jetta sedan, and the e-Golf will get more range. Finally, the next generation Focus will be revealed at the end of this year, but it isn’t likely to hit showrooms before 2018.
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