European sales 2016 Premium Compact segment

Compact_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-Audi_A3-Mercedes_Benz_A_Class-BMW_1_seriesIn an overall market up 6,2%, the premium compact car segment in Europe grows 8% in 2016, to top 900.000 annual sales for the first time ever. Growth slowed down a bit in the last quarter, when the segment grew by just 2%. Segment leader Audi A3 sees its sales fall by 4%, but still comfortably leads the segment if we’d only look at nameplates. This is relevant to mention, because Audi only has one nameplate in this segment, under which it sells four different bodystyles: 3-door and 5-door hatchbacks, a sedan and a convertible. Its main rivals have at least 3 different nameplates each in this segment, and if we’d look at total brand volume, Mercedes-Benz would be ahead of BMW by the tiniest of margins (281.348 vs 281.249), both selling Audi by more than 90.000 sales. Then again, Audi also has a smaller model, as you’ll see below, and this A1 coincidentally sells enough units to put Audi back on top by just 5.000 sales (286.532 units).

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

volvo_v40-facelift-2016Mercedes-Benz takes 2nd place in the models ranking with the A-Class hatchback leapfrogging the BMW 1-series hatchback, as both were facelifted this year, but the BMW had stable sales while the A-Class surged 19%. BMW also sold just over 100.000 MPVs to take 4th place with the 2-Series Active and Gran Tourer, comfortably ahead of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, which is only available in one size (5-seater). In between those two MPVs we find the best non-German of the segment: the Volvo V40 hatchback, which also has just been facelifted but sees its volume drop 7%. Mercedes-Benz’ third model keeps 7th place, as the CLA sedan and station wagon improve 6%. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is stable, also helped by a facelift this year, and it holds on to its 8th place, although the Giulietta was down 11,6% in Q4 when it also was outsold by the new generation Mini Clubman. Mini’s station wagon has grown significantly in size and now competes with the “big boys” and it doesn’t do so all that bad with an 8th place in the last quarter.

DS4-sales-disappointment-Europe-2015The DS4 has stable sales on 2015, but this hides an abysmal performance in Q4 when it lost more than 29% of its volume. The DS4 was up 11% until Q3. The BMW i3 is helped by Germany’s EV subsidy to improve 27% for the year ant +40% in Q4, when it outsold the DS4 by 2.400 units. Newcomer Infiniti Q30 becomes the first Infiniti to outsell its direct rival from Lexus, but its volume is nonetheless a huge disappointment for the Japanese brand, which has capacity to build 60.000 annual units of the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover (same model, only higher ground clearance) in the UK, of which half was supposed to be sold in Europe, so less then 600 a month in Q4 isn’t going to cut it, especially considering the QX30 sells even much less.

Also check out the premium compact car segment in the US, where the Audi A3 sedan holds on to the lead as well, but the BMW 2-series is the big (and only) winner.

Premium compact car segment 2016 2015 Change
1 Audi A3 / S3 / RS3 189.956 198.663 -4%
2 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 141.800 119.475 19%
3 BMW 1-series 132.287 130.494 1%
4 BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer 100.502 85.734 17%
5 Volvo V40 75.178 80.843 -7%
6 Mercedes-Benz B-Class 73.768 79.721 -7%
7 Mercedes-Benz CLA 65.810 62.100 6%
8 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 41.528 41.767 -1%
9 Mini Clubman 34.959 6.245 460%
10 BMW 2-series Coupe & Convertible 33.461 27.443 22%
11 DS4 17.636 17.610 0%
12 BMW i3 14.999 11.851 27%
13 Infiniti Q30 8.453 19 New
14 Lexus CT 8.001 9.794 -18%
15 Lancia Delta 11 282 -96%
Segment total 938.349 872.041 8%

Premium small car segment

Small_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-Mini_Cooper-Audi_A1-DS3One segment smaller, sales are down 1% for the year and down 6% in Q4, as only one model improves sales: the aforementioned Audi A1, whose sales are actually amazingly stable over the course of its life cycle: since its launch in the 2nd half of 2010, the A1 has consistently sold between 90.000 and 100.000 annual units for 6 years in a row. Mini has stable sales of its 3-door, 5-door and convertible models and maintains a comfortable lead. The DS3 is getting a bit long in the tooth now, despite its facelift last year, and is down 15% for the year and down 35% in Q4. Speaking of long in the tooth: who remembered Alfa Romeo still sells the MiTo? At least 13.000 people still do, apparantly. That’s how many were sold in 2016, down only 6% on 2015. Surprisingly, the MiTo increased its sales 11% in the fourth quarter, making it the only model in the segment with double digit growth in Q4, as the Mini was stable and the other two lost volume.

Premium small car segment 2016 2015 Change
1 Mini 136.265 136.769 0%
2 Audi A1 96.576 91.481 6%
3 DS3 38.690 45.665 -15%
4 Alfa Romeo MiTo 12.944 13.839 -6%
Segment total 284.475 287.754 -1%

Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2016 and monthly sales from 2012 to 2016, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site.

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.

  1. I wonder whether Audi will finally take a plunge and produce a compact MPV. Both M-B and BMW seem to be doing well with their compact MPVs, but then again, Audi may simply prefer to sell the (presumably more profitable) Q3 instead

    1. Let’s hope not, because then the Audi brand would become ever more interchangeable within the VW Group. A characteristic which BMW and Mercedes-Benz don’t possess and why in my opinion these two are the only German top brands.

      The stable performance of the DS 4 (small interior) surprises me. Giulietta is a great car and deserves every sale.

  2. Brilliant article, as always, but just wondering why Lancia’s Ypsilon isn’t included in the premium small car segment?

    1. @toby2449 true, I have the same opinion.

      When it comes to DS4 -> I think this is the prettiest and the best DS. The interior is also perfect and good looking. And there is a crossover-type version.

      1. DS4 has a very interesting feature (or flaw), you cannot lower the window AT ALL in rear doors.Presumable they thought that its going to make it look more coupeish, for me its simply stupid.

  3. @Fokker,

    Just on the DS4’s rear window. I own one & I have to admit if i had kids to carry around in the back it would be an absolute pain about the rear windows – & would probably have stopped me buying the car. I don’t understand how Citroen couldn’t have gotten around this!! Its ok though as the rear opening is so tiny no one can fit in the rear 🙂
    But apart from a rather silly rear window design its actually a very good car. For me when i bought it it was a choice of Giulietta or DS4, & having owned lots of Alfas (& I still have a GTV), I decided I wanted something very different (flawed but different!).

  4. To me DS4 is a glamour, funcar. Not a family car. Not the first and only in the family.

    Interior is much better than in DS3. The Spheric windows is so fantastic.

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