The minicar segment in Europe grows at half the pace of the overall market, at +4% in the first quarter of 2016. The two Italian segment leaders grow faster than the rest of the segment on average and boost their share from 26,4% to 29%, helped by the strong recovery of their home market so far this year. The Fiat Panda has overtaken the Fiat 500 to reclaim its leadership thanks to a very strong first two months, but I don’t think it will hold on to that lead until the end of the year, as the 500 has proven very strong, even though its facelift last year was only minor. The Volkswagen Up! loses 12% but holds on to its third place as last year’s closest rival Renault Twingo loses a painful 22% and drops to sixth place.
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
Fourth place is now occupied by the new generation Toyota Aygo, ahead of the Hyundai i10. The last remaining Lancia, now only sold in Italy shows its survival instinct with sales up 17%, also helped by the strong Italian market. The Yp is under threat from the Opel Karl / Vauxhall Viva duo, which after a slow start finally took off in March. That moved them past the other two Kolin sisters, the Peugeot 108 and Citroën C1, the latter of which is the only of the triplets not to lose volume on last year. The Smart Fortwo loses the top-10 position it held for the full-year 2015 but gains 32% on the model changeover last year, while the Forfour is stable.
The Ford Ka is the biggest loser of the top-20 as Ford will slowly phase out the model for which no third generation is planned. The Skoda Citigo is relatively stable but far behind its sibling Up! while the third triplet Seat Mii loses 19% and drops even further behind. The Suzuki Celerio shows nice growth compared to its first full quarter of sales, but remains a niche player and is unable to offset the sales lost from the discontinuation of the Alto. Suzuki will introduce a second minicar later this year, resurrecting the Ignis name. The Ignis will be a more trendy car aimed at younger buyers, so let’s see if the Japanese minicar specialist can return to some of its former glory.
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