European sales 2016 first half Minicar segment

Minicar-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-Fiat_Panda-Fiat_500-Volkswagen_UpThe minicar segment in Europe grows 5% in the first half of 2016, which is lower than the overall market at +8,8%. The two Italian segment leaders benefit from the impressive rebound of the Italian car market, the fastest growing major market in the EU. The Fiat Panda is more dependent on its home market than its sibling Fiat 500, and therefore is able to hold on to the segment lead, which it already claimed in the first quarter. The help Fiat hold a 28,5% share of the segment. The Volkswagen Up! remains a distant third with less than half the volume of the leader with sales down 5%, while the Renault Twingo reclaims its fourth place after having dropped to sixth in the first quarter. The rear-engined, rear-wheel drive Twingo lost a lot of ground in Q1 and has recovered only half of that in Q2, but should be able to hold on to its position for the rest of the year, with not a lot of new or updated models arriving in showrooms the coming months. The Toyota Aygo stays well clear of its PSA siblings Peugeot 108 and Citroën C1, while the Smart Fortwo is the biggest winner in the top-10 with an increase of 26%. It even outsold the 108 in Q2 and looks set to leapfrog the French minicar to steal 8th place. That’s still a long way from the fifth place it held in 2013 and before, but bear in mind there were fewer rivals back then, and the Forfour surely cannibalizes some Fortwo sales as well.

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

Opel_Karl-Vauxhall_Viva-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeThe Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva is the biggest winner of the segment, but that’s not surprising considering it was launched in Q1 last year. In fact, it has dropped to 11th place for the first half, after grabbing the #8 spot in Q1. It was even outsold by its sibling Opel/Vauxhall Adam and by the Kia Picanto in Q2, so it better pick up the pace again. The Ford Ka is the biggest loser in the top-20, losing almost a third of its volume, as Ford has decided to abandon the segment to focus its attention to more profitable types of vehicles. The Ka nameplate will survive in the Ka Plus, a budget subcompact car which will have the exterior dimensions of the larger class, but prices competitive to the minicars. Whether that’s a successful strategy remains to be seen, because for now the premium/trendy minicars appear to be on the winning hand against the no-frills models, proven by the low rankings of the Mitsubishi Space Star and Suzuki Celerio. The latter appears to be doing well with a 25% increase, but if you look further down the ranking you’ll notice that its predecessor Alto was also still on sale last year, and combined sales of the two models are actually down.

Looking at multibrand cooperations in this class, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Fiat-platform is by far the biggest seller with the two Fiats, the Lancia Ypsilon and the Ford Ka together rack up almost 270.000 sales, followed by the PSA-Toyota Kolin triplets with 118.000 sales and the Renault-Daimler triplets with 105.000 sales. That leaves the VW Group Bratislava triplets far behind with just 83.000 sales, because two out of three are underperforming. The Hyundai-Kia duo is not even that far behind, with 72.000 sales combined. These five collaborations account for about 87% of all minicar sales in Europe, making it very hard for others to reach enough scale for profitability. Fortunately for General Motors, it benefits from the additional volume of the Chevrolet Spark in the US, and so does Mitsubishi at a smaller scale with the Space Star (called Mirage in North America), and Suzuki has a large market for the Celerio in India.

In Q2 we’ve welcomed the Citroën E-Mehari to the segment, even though it’s technically not even a minicar, but a quadricycle like the Renault Twizy. Production is limited to 1.000 units in order to be exempted from crash-test and safety regulations, and as a result the E-Mehari will only be sold in France. Later this year, the Suzuki Ignis will be introduced, marking a return of the nameplate which was sold in Europe between 2000 and 2008.

Also check out the minicar segment in the US where the Chevrolet Spark (the US version of the Karl/Viva) climbs to second place behind the Mini Cooper and looks set to grab the lead in Q3.

Minicar segment 2016 H1 2015 H1 Change
1 Fiat Panda 108.798 90.506 20%
2 Fiat 500 103.343 99.371 4%
3 Volkswagen Up! 53.914 56.721 -5%
4 Renault Twingo 46.816 53.209 -12%
5 Toyota Aygo 46.777 45.932 2%
6 Hyundai i10 43.908 46.126 -5%
7 Lancia Ypsilon 40.069 34.211 17%
8 Peugeot 108 36.403 37.412 -3%
9 Smart Fortwo 36.264 28.806 26%
10 Citroën C1 35.687 34.196 4%
11 Opel Karl / Vauxhall Viva 32.678 3.525 827%
12 Opel/Vauxhall Adam 28.811 30.463 -5%
13 Kia Picanto 28.431 28.687 -1%
14 Smart Forfour 22.071 21.809 1%
15 Skoda Citigo 19.033 19.990 -5%
16 Ford Ka 17.621 26.011 -32%
17 Mitsubishi Space Star 16.443 17.328 -5%
18 Suzuki Celerio 14.416 11.492 25%
19 Seat Mii 10.702 12.414 -14%
20 Peugeot iOn 995 575 73%
21 Citroën C-Zero 752 431 74%
22 Citroën E-Mehari 356 0 New
23 Mitsubishi i-MiEV 245 395 -38%
24 Toyota iQ 171 107 60%
25 Mitsubishi Attrage 122 234 -48%
26 Chevrolet Spark 93 328 -72%
27 Opel/Vauxhall Agila 11 1.969 -99%
28 Suzuki Splash 10 2.245 -100%
29 Suzuki Alto 4 5.546 -100%
30 Peugeot 107 4 78 -95%
31 Tata Indica 3 39 -92%
Segment total 744.951 710.156 5%


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Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.