European sales 2016 Q1 compact car segment

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Volkswagen_Golf-Opel_Astra-Ford_FocusAt +4% in Q1 of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew at a similar rate as the minicar and subcompact segments, at half the growth rate of the overall market. The perennial leader Volkswagen Golf is still firmly in control despite losing 2% of its volume on last year. Its nearest competitor from a year ago, the Ford Focus, also loses a percent and is overtaken by the surging Opel/Vauxhall Astra, up 30% thanks to the new generation. That still leaves the Golf untouchable, selling more than the #2 and #3 combined, but at least the competition doesn’t sit still like in the midsized segment. The Skoda Octavia is kicked off the podium, which it has impressively held for two years. And the Peugeot 308 is closing in quickly, as it already did in the final months of 2015. The Seat Leon is surprisingly stable and stays ahead of the facelifted Toyota Auris, while the Renault Megane is the biggest loser of the top-10 and drops a spot as it awaits the arrival of the new, fourth generation.

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

Fiat-Tipo-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeThe two South-Korean entries take position as the backmarkers of the top-10, the Hyundai i30 gains 9% to leapfrog its sibling Kia Cee’d, down 2% and also the Skoda Rapid, down 13%. Meanwhile the Honda Civic is enjoying a nice improvement of 16% and the facelifted Citroën C4 gains 11%, both move past the Nissan Pulsar and Mazda3, which lose about 30% of their volume. We welcome a newcomer to the segment: the Fiat Tipo in 16th place with almost 7.500 sales in startup mode. Almost half of this volume was registered in March, indicating some upward potential for the model, especially after the hatchback and station wagon versions arrive later this year. Fiat’s value model won’t challenge the top-8 players but should be able to do better than its unfortunate predecessors Bravo and Stilo. So far, the Tipo appears to be the best selling sedan model in the segment, considering the bulk of Rapid sales are of the five-door Spaceback version. The Toyota Corolla, Citroën C-Elysee and Seat Toledo are already beaten fair and square.

The Nissan Leaf EV is boosted by the upgraded version with a 30kWh battery for more range and gains 21% this quarter to take distance from the Volkswagen Beetle, while the new generation Prius hybrid takes off with a 72% increase. We’ll keep an eye on its development in the coming months to see if the Prius name really is so strong that people are prepared to forgive its awkward design and only shop for fuel economy.

Also check out the compact car segment in the US, where the Nissan Sentra grabs third place behind the traditional leaders Civic and Corolla to make it an all-Japanese podium for the first time ever.

Compact segment 2016 Q1 2015 Q1 Change
1 Volkswagen Golf 129.863 132.982 -2%
2 Opel/Vauxhall Astra 61.004 46.863 30%
3 Ford Focus 60.081 60.600 -1%
4 Skoda Octavia 57.725 54.506 6%
5 Peugeot 308 54.657 48.829 12%
6 Seat Leon 38.484 36.301 6%
7 Toyota Auris 36.619 32.846 11%
8 Renault Megane 27.222 34.058 -20%
9 Hyundai i30 20.448 18.777 9%
10 Kia Cee’d 19.208 19.574 -2%
11 Skoda Rapid 16.366 18.834 -13%
12 Honda Civic 14.575 12.602 16%
13 Citroën C4 13.740 12.370 11%
14 Mazda3 12.976 18.443 -30%
15 Nissan Pulsar 9.811 13.904 -29%
16 Fiat Tipo 7.346 0 New
17 Nissan Leaf 6.297 5.222 21%
18 Volkswagen Beetle 5.323 5.170 3%
19 Toyota Corolla 4.874 4.458 9%
20 Toyota Prius 3.643 2.113 72%
21 Volkswagen Jetta 2.624 2.597 1%
22 Volkswagen Scirocco 2.580 3.455 -25%
23 Citroën C-Elysee 2.558 1.293 98%
24 Seat Toledo 2.539 2.725 -7%
25 Renault Fluence 1.588 1.569 1%
26 Mitsubishi Lancer 1.061 1.171 -9%
27 Peugeot 301 626 655 -4%
28 Subaru Impreza 235 171 37%
29 Hyundai Elantra 160 380 -58%
30 Chevrolet Cruze 7 73 -90%
31 Fiat Bravo 2 205 -99%
Segment total 614.242 592.797 4%






  1. Hi Bart amazing info again.And if you have an information can you compare were the sales of the Astra are bigger in UK or in Germany?Thanks!

    1. Hi Phil,
      26% of European Astra sales were in Germany and 24,2% in the UK. So these countries take about half of all European sales for the Astra, while the overall share of the German and UK markets in Europe are 20,1% and 19,6% respectively.
      For comparison: 40% of European VW Golf (including Golf Sportsvan) sales were in Germany and 15% in the UK. Still, the Golf outsold the Astra in the UK.

  2. Thanks again!Great marketing strategy for GM to positioning on the two bigger markets(and the UK market is with great potential for growth) for this segment two different brands with local manufacturing!Now i understand the biggest volume of Golf’s sales.They include the sales of Sportsvan and the augmentation of his sales in the midsize MPV segment are approximately 80%.But if the new Scenic make the success of the Espace model’s augmentation in the sales volume we will speak for the possibilities for dethronement of Golf.But for now is difficult because no other model in the segment have not versions in other segment.

    1. That’s right, GM (and to a lesser degree Ford as well) has played it great with marketing their brands to have a British and German “feel” in those two largest markets in Europe.
      Golf and Golf Sportsvan are only combined in Germany. In all of Europe, the ratio between the two is 5,5 to 1, so the Golf hatchback (and station wagon) is still ultra dominant in this segment, and as the overall best seller for that matter and I don’t think it will be dethroned anytime soon. Volkswagen also still has the Touran to compete against the Scenic et al.

  3. Yep that’s right but the Touran loses sale volume.I think that is not necessary to compete absolutely Golf.The determinant factor is were the clients will go.If the augmentation on the other segment is larger despite good segment positioning the incoming from sales will decreases.

  4. I’m surprised that the Tipo did so well with only the sedan body.
    With the hatch and station wagon body types I can even see it disputing sales with the Toyota Auris and the Mégane.

  5. Mazda3 minus 30% and now even behind the older Citroen C4. That’s very sad. Perhaps they should have introduced a Sport Break to lift the numbers, but the decline is symbolic for European sales in the compact car segments. When your car does not fit it will be ignored, no matter how modern/innovative it is. VW, Ford, Renault and so on offer more cars suitable for the artificial European market. This list is very interesting, but a differentiation between corporate and private sales would make things more clear. We all know the ‘domination’ of scandalous VW is unnatural and detrimental for the market to grow. Anyway, European consumers probably want to be deceived by them.

    1. Quite a lot actually: Croatia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Moldovia, Greece, Latvia, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg, France…

      1. @Losange They just started selling them in France though. Like, literally, last month. And with little to no advertisement behind it.

      2. That’s right, and that also explains why it suddenly broke through the 1.000 sales mark.
        In France, the C-Elysee is actually priced lower than the C3 subcompact hatchback.

  6. Well, I guess, Citroen started offering C-Elysee on the home French market only to fight back Tipo cometition 🙂
    BTW – Tipo IS the best selling sedan in this class. Skoda Rapid is not a sedan at all – it is either liftback or wagon.

  7. We all know that Mazd is a small brand in Europe, despite its excellent cars.

    But I’m very surprised by the extremely low sales of the Nissan Pulsar. They are well below the Civic, i30 and Ceed, not to mention the Auris.

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