At +6% in the first half of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew faster than the minicar and subcompact segments, but slower than the overall market. In Q2 the compact car segment grew by 10%, which is just ahead of the market’s 9,8% gain. The Volkswagen Golf remains untouchable despite the diesel scandal and renewed competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, but it is one of only 3 models in the top-10 to lose volume. The Golf’s closest rival from a year ago, the Ford Focus, loses even more and is pushed down into fourth place by the new generation Astra, up 27%. With the Skoda Octavia in third place and the Seat Leon in sixth, the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform takes almost 37% of sales in the second largest segment in Europe. With the Focus starting to age, the Peugeto 308 has a shot at grabbing fourth place in the segment by the end of the year, a ranking last achieved by the previous generation in 2008. The 308 already outsold the Focus in May and was just 750 units behind in Q2. The new generation Renault Megane has started deliveries and is aiming for 6th place in the segment by year-end, as it already outsold the Leon and the Toyota Auris in Q2.
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
The updated Honda Civic is up 18% to become the #2 Japanese player ahead of the Mazda3 and Nissan Pulsar, both losing a significant chunk of volume. The Fiat Tipo is storming up the charts, in 15th place for the first half and up to #13 in Q2, while deliveries of the hatchback and station wagon versions hadn’t even started. That looks promising for Fiat’s entry-level strategy, and I’d be disappointed if the model is unable to challenge the two South-Korean models for a top-10 place when its three-model line-up is complete. The new generation Toyota Prius more than doubles its volume of the outgoing model and is now back in the top-20 but still behind the Nissan Leaf for the first half, despite outselling the EV in Q2 by a small margin. Expect to find the Citroën C-Elysee in the top-20 by Q3 now that the brand has wisely decided to make its budget sedan available in more countries, most notably France and Germany (where it is also being marketed to taxi companies). If the C-Elysee holds on to that top-20 position depends on the acceptance (or perhaps availability?) of the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid, the Korean Prius-fighter which started sales in July, undercutting the price of its Japanese rival. Starting with the hybrid, a full-electric version will follow later this year and a plug-in hybrid early 2017.
Also check out the compact car segment in the US, where the Nissan Sentra jumps from sixth to third place behind the traditional leaders Civic and Corolla to make it an all-Japanese podium for the first time ever.
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