The highest volume segment in Europe grows by just 3% in Q1 of 2016, compared to 8% for the overall market. The Ford Fiesta, segment leader for the past 7 years is now under serious attack with sales down 4%, while the Volkswagen Polo adds 4% and is less than 3.000 sales behind after leapfrogging the Renault Clio and the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa. The facelifted Peugeot 208 is closing in on the top-4 as well with sales up 13%, but the big winner of the top-15 is the new generation Skoda Fabia, adding a third to its volume of last year, and passing the Dacia Sandero and Seat Ibiza for 7th place, despite continuous growth for the French-Romanian model. The Citroën C3 also gains market share and a position against the Ibiza.
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 new generation Hyundai i20 keeps losing ground, after being one of my disappointments of 2015, and is unable to finally enter the top-10 as the South-Koreans had hoped. The Nissan Micra is due for a replacement and drops 16%, but the Fiat Punto and Suzuki Swift fare even worse. The Punto has been on a continuous sales slide since 2009 and has losst 80% of its volume since, while the Swift is due to be replaced by the end of this year or early next, and was just joined by the Suzuki Baleno, a hatchback that fits between the subcompact and compact segments, and a more practical alternative compared to the Swift’s more sporty positioning. It will be interesting to see how high the Baleno can climb the rankings, but I doubt it will reach the top-18 of the segment.
The new generation Honda Jazz is up 14%, which is a bit disappointing, but there could be two possible explanations: one is that the model was launched way too late, it has been on sale in Japan for more than two years, a similar fate is haunting the Ford Mondeo. The other explanation is that the Jazz is facing cannibalization from its crossover sibling HR-V. Then again, the Mazda2 is closing in on the Honda and appears to be much less affected by the CX-3. The Renault Zoe EV is the fastest growing model of the segment as it almost doubles its volume, but that’s not enough to connect with the mainstream models, it would need to double up again. The UK-only MG3 continues to improve on its record year, but remains even more of a niche player than the Zoe.
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