Sales of premium compact cars in Europe grew faster than the overall market in Q1 of 2016, at +10%. The long-standing leader of the segment, the Audi A3, stays firmly in control despite flat sales and therefore a diminished share. Bear in mind Audi sells all versions under the same name: three-door, five-door, sedan and convertible, while its main rivals use different names to differentiate the body types. At brand level, Mercedes-Benz remains the best seller of compact luxury cars with its four vehicles under three nameplates: the Mercedes-Benz A-Class adds 19% to its volume thanks to its facelift and moves past the also facelifted BMW 1-Series for the #2 spot. The 1-series has flat sales, but the Bavarian brand still is the fastest growing brand in the segment thanks to the 61% increase of the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer, which beat the Mercedes-Benz fairly and squarely to become the best selling premium MPV.
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 Volvo V40 holds on to its 5th place despite a loss of 7%, but the Mercedes-Benz CLA four-door coupe and Shooting Brake station wagon is closing in fast, adding almost half to its volume of Q1 2015. That puts it ahead of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, which adds 8% to its forgettable score of last year. A minor facelift for the model is on its way, but won’t hide the fact that the model is starting to age. The BMW 2-series Coupe & Convertible also improve impressively, while the facelifted DS4 grows slower than the rest of the segment. In the race of green luxury hatchbacks, the BMW i3 distances the Lexus CT and will do even more so for the remainder of the year thanks to the generous subsidy of € 4.000,- on an EV and € 3.000,- on a PHEV the German government will offer together with the participating automakers. We welcome the Infiniti Q30 to the segment, still in start-up mode, but aiming for a top-10 position by the end of the year.
One segment smaller, the premium small car segment grows at less than half the rate of their compact rivals. And that’s thanks to just one of the four models, with the Audi A1 adding more than a quarter to its volume of last year, while the other three show single-digit declines. The ranking remains unchanged, with the Mini holding on to its first place with still a comfortable margin to the little Audi. The DS3 is about to be facelifted, but as I’ve said before, that doesn’t do the design any favors in my opinion, so we’ll have to see how that helps the model recover some of the lost ground. The Alfa Romeo MiTo benefits from a recovery of the overall Italian market, where half of its sales are registered.
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