Sales of premium compact cars grow slightly faster than the overall market in the first three quarters of 2016 at +9% vs. +7,5% and at more than double the growth rate of the mainstream compact car segment at +4%. Only four of the 14 models lose volume, among which the dominant leader Audi A3, down 4% but still almost as untouchable as its platform sibling VW Golf is in the mainstream segment. However, as I explain every quarter, Audi isn’t really as dominant as the ranking suggests. Mercedes-Benz is the real leader of the segment, with a 30,1% share (down from 30,6% in 2015) from its three models, followed by BMW with a 29,6% share (up from 29%) from its 4 models, while Audi only has a 20,7% share with its single model (down from 23,6%). Since the latter is unlikely to introduce a luxury MPV based on the Touran or Sportsvan, Audi will have to make do with just the 3- and 5-door hatchback, sedan and convertible versions of the A3.
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
Best of the rest, as usual in Europe, is Volvo with the V40 in 6th place, relatively stable considering the facelifted version is just around the corner. After its update it may challenge the Mercedes-Benz B-Class for 5th place again. In fact, these two models were separated by just 60 sales in Q3, but both were outsold by the Mercedes-Benz CLA, the #5 of the segment in the third quarter. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is surprisingly stable, thanks to a very minor facelift, and the BMW 2-Series Coupe and Convertible were outsold by the Mini Clubman in Q3, and the British station wagon could climb to the #9 spot by the end of the year. The DS4 improves a bit faster than the segment thanks to its facelift and the addition of the Crossback version, while the BMW i3 benefits from the introduction of EV subsidies in Germany. The Infiniti Q30 appears to be stuck in 13th place, unable to pick up pace for now, but at least it’s above its Japanese rival Lexus CT200h.
One segment smaller, sales of premium small cars improve less then 1% in the first nine months of 2016 as only one of the four models in the segment gains volume. In Q3, sales were actually down by 2,8%. The Mini, in 3-door, 5-door and convertible versions, is virtually stable on last year, down by just 500 units, but the Audi A1 is unable to challenge it despite a 9% gain thanks to its facelift. This 9% is just too little to make 2016 the year that the smallest Audi finally breaks the 100.000 sales barrier, which it has been trying to break unsuccessfully since 2011 already, and last year it was actually the furthest away from that target, with just under 91.500 sales. The DS3 doesn’t benefit from its facelift, with sales down 10%, while the Alfa Romeo MiTo is the segment’s biggest loser at -11%, not surprising considering it’s by far the oldest model in the class. With that in mind, one might say a loss of 11% is not even that bad at all.
Premium small car segment
Alfa Romeo MiTo
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