At just over 150.000 annual sales, the large MPV segment is the second smallest mainstream segment in Europe, but it’s also the fastest growing segment in 2016 at +32%, although that requires a sidenote that the segment was actually down by 4% in Q4. Only one of the remaining models loses volume for the year and that’s the former segment leader Volkswagen Sharan, which is clearly outsold by the Ford S-Max. The S-Max is the first large MPV to top 40.000 annual sales since 2011 when its previous generation hit that volume, as well as the Sharan which was brand new at that time. Close behind the Sharan in third place we find its Spanish clone Seat Alhambra with sales up 17% despite being the oldest of the remaining models by a large margin (together with the Sharan, of course).
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 age of the VW Group twins doesn’t withhold the company to command a 41,6% share of the segment, trumping Ford’s 39,7% share of the segment with its two still very fresh models. The Renault Espace may be up a promising 27% for the year, but remember the new generation was only launched in Q2 of 2015. More worrying is the 36,4% loss for the model in Q4, when it outsold the Ford Galaxy by just 1.000 units, although it improves volume on Q3 when the Galaxy was actually just ahead. The reasons for the apparent lack of success for the grandfather of the segment and its former leader have been discussed here before: it took too long for the new model to arrive so customers had already flocked to competing brands, it’s not available in the UK and its focus on styling and a premium positioning instead of interior space and value-for-money makes it unattractive to rental companies, the biggest customers for the VW Group twins and the Galaxy. On a more positive note: 2016 is still the best year for the Espace since 2007, the last year the nameplate topped 40.000 annual sales.
In last place of the remaining models we find the SsangYong Rodius, up 8% but down 13% in the fourth quarter, indicating the 1.800 annual units it sold is likely the model’s peak. In the table below I’ve thrown in the Mercedes-Benz V-Class as a large MPV as well for comparison. It will be featured in the passenger van segment together with its less luxurious twin Vito and other van-derived MPVs. The V-Class would be in fourth place but only 2.500 sales off the #2 spot. Impressive for a vehicle with its price point, but unsurprising if you’ve ever driven one, as its interior is more than a notch above the others in this segment in terms of space as well as fit and finish.
For 2017 we don’t expect any big news, as Volkswagen hasn’t revealed any plans about the future of its models, when they will be replaced, if at all.
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