The premium compact car segment grows faster than the overall market in the first half of 2016 at +10% vs. +8,8% and especially compared to the mainstream compact car segment at +6%. The German brands increase their dominance of the segment with over 83% share, and are competing fiercer than ever to attract younger, mostly first-time luxury buyers so they can try and keep them faithful to their brand when they move up the ladder. The model-ranking leader Audi A3 loses 3% of its volume as the competition heats up, but BMW becomes the biggest brand ahead of Mercedes-Benz. The 1-series hatchback, 2-series MPV, Coupe and Convertible and the i3 electric car add up to a combined 145.000 sales, compared to 144.000 sales for the A-Class hatchback, B-Class MPV and CLA sedan and station wagon. Despite having the A3 hatchback, sedan and convertible at the top of the ranking, Audi is a distant third with “just” 104.500 sales in the first half.
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 Mercedes-Benz A-Class gains an impressive 21% of volume while the BMW 1-series adds just 4%, but the big winner of the segment is the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer, the brand’s first front-wheel drive model and its first MPV, now also available as a 7-seater. The 2-series gains 56% on its volume of last year and outsells its main rival Mercedes-Benz B-Class by a large margin. As usual, a Volvo is best of the rest, with the V40 hatchback in 6th place, down 4% as the model is starting to age, although Volvo’s are known to keep their sales very stable during their life cycle. The Mercedes-Benz CLA gains 16% thanks to an excellent performance in Q1, while the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is surprisingly stable for an Italian model of its age. A minor facelift should keep the model fresh until the brand decides on whether it will develop a next generation, perhaps on the rear-wheel drive platform of the larger Giulia sedan.
The BMW 2-series coupe & convertible improve nicely, adding almost 50% to their sales of last year and the DS4 gains 16% after its facelift. We welcome the Infiniti Q30 to the ranking at #12, already ahead of the Lexus CT. The Q30 is based on the A-Class and uses the engines and gearbox of that model. Its design is totally different though, and that’s what should set the model apart from the rest of the segment. Infiniti’s small dealer body and low brand recognition (which the Q30 is supposed to fix), will keep a cap on its potential as much as not being German does.
One segment smaller, sales of premium small cars improve just 2% in the first half of 2016 as only one of the four models in the segment gains volume. The Audi A1 improves its sales of last year by 15% but is unable to challenge the Mini hardtop for segment leadership. However, bear in mind Mini sales include those of the 3-door, 5-door, convertible and Clubman station wagon, despite the latter being a much larger car which should be classified in the compact segment. Unfortunately, our source doesn’t yet specify sales of the Clubman separately. The DS3 loses 8% despite its facelift, while the Alfa Romeo MiTo is down 9% as it is getting a bit long in the tooth now.
Premium small car segment
Alfa Romeo MiTo
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