European sales 2017 Compact car segment

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2017-Volkswagen_Golf-Skoda_Octavia-Opel_AstraSales of compact cars in Europe declined 2% in 2017 to nearly 2,34 million units after 4% declines in each of the last three quarters. Europe’s second largest segment accounts for 15,1% of the total market, down from 15,8% in 2016. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf is completely on par with the rest of the segment and holds on to its 20,6% share thanks to a facelift in Q2. Its stablemate Skoda Octavia is stable for the year, gaining less than 500 sales but that still means a new volume record for the nameplate, knocking down the Opel/Vauxhall Astra which was down 35% in Q3 after a 28% decline in Q3. Like the Corsa in the subcompact segment, the Astra suffers from Opel/Vauxhall’s new owner deciding not to chase volume at all cost as General Motors used to do. This means lower discounts and reduces deliveries to daily rental fleets, leading to a sales shock in the short term but should be beneficial for the brand in the long run. Fourth placed Ford Focus is also stable despite being in the final year of the current generation and despite the overall decline of the UK market, its most important market with a third of its European volume. In the battle of the French, the Renault Megane jumps ahead of the Peugeot 308 to take 5th place, but I´m sure Renault expected more from this new model.


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

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2017
Photo credit: Turbo.fr

Setting a new sales record for the fourth consecutive year, the Seat Leon is up slightly but remains in 7th place, ahead of the Fiat Tipo which sets a new ranking record for an Italian model in this segment at #8. The Tipo has proven to be a hit for Fiat and underscores there was an unfilled potential for a no-frills model now that the Octavia has moved into mainstream territory. And the great news for the brand is that the success of the Tipo is not only limited to Italy, as its home market accounts for 45,3% of its European volume, less than any other Fiat model except for the 500. When including its production home Turkey where it is sold as the Egea for an additional 47.700 sales, Italy’s share of its sales are down to less than a third of its volume. The Toyota Auris is due for a redesign and dips with double digits, making its 9 models to sell over 100.000 units in this segment. The top-10 is finalized by the Hyundai i30, down 2% but up by double digits in the second half of the year thanks to its new generation, which allows it to distance its stablemate Kia Cee’d which will be replaced in 2018. The new generation Honda Civic is unable to improve on the outgoing version, potentially handicapped by the loss of the station wagon version, but perhaps also because its design may not appeal to European tastes. It is distanced by the much older Mazda3, although the Civic came out ahead in Q4. The Nissan Leaf takes a big hit in the fourth quarter as the new generation was due in early 2018, allowing the Hyundai Ioniq to move ahead into 18th place, although the electric version accounted for 27,7% of the volume for the nameplate. The hybrid was the most popular at 63,9% which means it outsold its rival Toyota Prius by 185 units.

We anticipate a lot of news in this segment in 2018, with all-new generations of the Focus, Auris and Cee’d, as well as a new Jetta, Impreza and the second generation Leaf, while the i30 family will get a third version: the fastback. The 308 is expected to be facelifted, while its stablemate C4 is destined to be axed after this generation, just like the Pulsar.

Also check out the compact car segment in the US where three Japanese models dominate ahead of a South Korean contender and the locals are left in the dust.

Compact segment 2017 2016 Change
1 Volkswagen Golf 482.177 491.681 -2%
2 Skoda Octavia 227.213 226.737 0%
3 Opel/Vauxhall Astra 216.515 250.410 -14%
4 Ford Focus 212.353 212.083 0%
5 Renault Megane 167.836 148.213 13%
6 Peugeot 308 157.422 194.650 -19%
7 Seat Leon 144.951 143.938 1%
8 Fiat Tipo 123.762 60.286 105%
9 Toyota Auris 114.105 128.906 -11%
10 Hyundai i30 75.802 77.011 -2%
11 Kia Cee’d 68.443 76.530 -11%
12 Skoda Rapid 66.512 67.423 -1%
13 Mazda3 43.794 45.889 -5%
14 Honda Civic 41.285 45.299 -9%
15 Citroën C4 32.673 46.939 -30%
16 Nissan Pulsar 25.183 31.699 -21%
17 Volkswagen Beetle 22.360 25.127 -11%
18 Hyundai Ioniq 22.007 4.066 441%
19 Nissan Leaf 16.832 18.210 -8%
20 Citroën C-Elysee 15.620 14.138 10%
21 Toyota Corolla 14.382 14.030 3%
22 Toyota Prius 13.630 16.348 -17%
23 Volkswagen Scirocco 8.657 10.752 -19%
24 Volkswagen Jetta 6.906 8.947 -23%
25 Seat Toledo 6.726 9.071 -26%
26 Hyundai Elantra 2.485 2.173 14%
27 Peugeot 301 2.397 2.164 11%
28 Mitsubishi Lancer 1.806 2.665 -32%
29 Subaru Impreza 1.010 865 17%
30 Lada Vesta 829 0 New
31 Renault Fluence 202 3.862 -95%
32 Chevrolet Cruze 16 21 -24%
33 Fiat Bravo 3 20 -85%
Segment total 2.335.894 2.380.153 -2%

Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2016 and monthly sales from 2012 to 2016, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site.

Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.

  1. So, the most reliable car by any consumer reports, from all over the world, sold only 14 382 units in Europe. Even if we add the sales of its hatchback sibling, which by the way is sold under Corolla name on many locations worldwide, again we have a total number, which puts the best selling car on the planet 4 spots behind an ancient model like Focus!

    1. Consumer reports…. that unreliable study about reliabitlity of cars. You can’t believe any inform based in surveys, becouse most of people have slants and prejudices, and human thinking is based in expectatives and stuff like that.

      Anyway, en Europe the Corolla is a 4 door compact car, and we don’t like 4 door compact cars. So the compact Toyota here is the Auris, since 2 generations. A boring car, but with a good hybrid version at very competitive price. I think most of Auris sold, were hybrids.

      1. OK, how a hatchback is a better looking car in comparison to a sedan/saloon? Hatchback is a small car with a backpack on its bag! 😉 🙂 I don’t get it!
        Plus when you drive it, you have all the noises coming from its trunk directly to the passenger, because the trunk is not separated from the passenger’s part of the car in any way!

      2. Jonny B, you have a point but I think that we, Europeans, have started to have a negative image of the saloon in the late 70’s, early 80’s. By then, the trendy cars were the hatchbacks like the Golf, Alfa Sud and Citroën GS with their comfortable yet sporty independent suspension, safe and predictable front wheel drive and excellent use of space, enabling a small car, important to us because of our medieval city centres, to feel spacious inside. A saloon has a bigger boot, yes, but how often do you fully load a trunk? When a new wave of saloon cars started to appear in the 80’s with the same characteristics, the damage was done and the saloon was mostly driven by elderlys or taxi drivers which made them even more uncool, hence their very very low sales today.

      3. Jonny B, in Europe doesn’t like 4 door compact sedans, at least in most of the countries. In Spain where I live, they were very, very popular a years ago, but today, nobody wants one.

        Yes, some of them are nice an elegant, and look “more car” than a 5 doors hatchback. But, in Europe the distances are short, tha families are small, so the luggage space is not so critical as could be in USA. And our cities, are old (sometimes very, very old) cities, with old urban design and lots of traffic problems. A shorter car, is apreciated due of this for many people.

        And, I think we like practicality. Why do you want to buy a 4 door compact sedan if you need more space, if you can buy a 5 door family/break/tourer version plenty of space and with a practical big door?. Not only for bags, I can load 2 bikes in my 5 door break, or some ikea furniture or any other large objet without problems. And I don’t need to put my back in risk, loading and unloading.

        For example, this is the Renault Megane Hatcback:

        If you need more space… Why to buy this:

        if you can to buy this:

        Anyway, I’m fascinated from years, about how the cars evolution is different in every place. How as it they were live organisms, they adapt to the enviroment (market) in different ways to survive.

  2. Renault can’t be happy with Megane sales. It’s a good car, better than its predecessor, but it just doesn’t seem to be getting buyers. Wonder what they need to do to be considered an option, seeing as, even in France, its sales are middling.

    As for the Civic, No Break + No Diesel + Less Practicality = Less Sales. Who would have known… :s

    Next year should be interesting. I’m expecting a lot from the new Focus, and the new Ceed is, according to Autocar, a really good drive now. Also curious to see if Toyota will be dropping the diesel option from the Auris ( like Javi said, most where Hybrids, but diesel still outsold petrol ), and how will Golf sales fare with the arrival of the T-Roc and T-Cross.

    1. I would say lackof modern gaslone engines hampered Megane a bit. I really don’t get why it is selling worse then 308 in France, I don’t really like 308. Another car I don’t really like is Octavia, 2nd, I mean why would you buy something like this if you can getGolf for the same price.

      1. VW always asks more money for an equally equipped/powered Golf. Ironically the Golf is less expensive as a corporate car than the Skoda. Personally I would buy another C segment car, but given the choice Golf vs. Octavia I would pick the Skoda in a second. Same engines, same boring interior (materials), but better looking and more spacious.

      2. Megane will get new engines this year. 1.3TCe with very good parameters. Also the range of engines will increase. Let’s see the results.

    2. Well, is the only important compact car who increase the sales. And the new range of petrol engines developed with Nissan and Mercedes, is near to arrive and will improve its appeal.

      But It’s obvious that many people are buying SUV instead compact cars, and the segment is going on decline.

  3. It might only have been a 1% increase on 2016, but it seems 2017 was the Leon’s best ever year, in any generation of model.

    1. You´re actually completely right there, AndyT. In fact, the Leon has had 4 consecutive years of setting a new annual sales record in Europe, quite an impressive performance. Thanks for pointing that out, I completely missed that but will add it to the text.

  4. Segment: -2%
    Megane: +13%

    Why is that supposed to be bad? Especially considering the popularity of the Captur and the introduction of the Kadjar, the Megane is doing fine.

    Looking forward to the new Focus. Spyshots were very promising!

  5. I think the Megane is doing great? This segment is not growing so the Megane did good. The main problem for Renault is the Kadjar and Koleos. They’re not competitive. The Kadjar doesn’t have a nice design and the interior is derivative. The Koleos lacks a seven seat version.

    The Tipo has really impressed me. Maybe FCA will take a lesson from this, that they shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel and come out with farfetched ideas to compete in the compact segment. Just do the basics right: a innofensive styling, the three body types and an honest price for what it offers.
    If FCA now invests in the Tipo and introduces dual climate AC, replaces the geriatric 1.4 engine by the new Firefly engines and maybe launch a mild-hybrid and a PHEV then the Tipo will be a runaway success. I wuold also love to see an Abarth version. Maybe with the 2.0 GME engine that equips the restyled Cherokee and the Giulia?

  6. In true essence the Megane should be 4th or 3rd(what Renault was expecting), main reason why it’s not is is bevvause of weak sales in France: it’s a new model and has not outsoled the peugeot 308. However on a good note it outsoled the Astra in q4 again last year, and could threaten it this year for 4th place. At least it fares better than the Kadjar.

  7. First pictures of the new generation Focus are online and it looks great at first sight! Perhaps due to some influences of other cars just like the vast majority in this class, but I’m impressed. Finally Ford dares to draw a different car instead of relying too much upon older generations or simply copying the outgoing model like they did with the Fiesta.

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