The compact car segment in Europe showed a 4% in sales in the second quarter of 2017, which means the first half figure is stable on that of the same period last year. At 15,2% of the total market with over 1,27 million sales, the compact segment is the second-largest segment in Europe after the subcompact segment. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf loses 2,5 percentage points of share but still sells more than the #3 and #4 of the segment combined and the gap to the #2 is still more than 100.000 sales. One of the reasons for its 12% loss is the recent facelift which hurt availability, but it also suffers from in-house competitions from crossovers like the new generation Tiguan, Seat Ateca and perhaps even the Skoda Kodiaq. Coincidentally with its shift from GM to PSA, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra starts to slip with a 7% decline in Q2, although it’s still in the black for the first half. The battle for 3rd place remains close, but the recently facelifted Skoda Octavia outsold the aging Ford Focus by 5.800 sales in Q2 to edge out a narrow lead to reclaim 3rd place. The new generation Focus won’t arrive until next year, so the Octavia is expected to finish the year on the podium for the second year in a row.
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The Peugeot 308 is the big loser in the top-10, as it too faces some cannibalization from the newly launched 3008 and 5008 SUVs, as well as from the Renault Megane which is finally fully available. The Megane already outsold its French rival in Q2 and is only 133 sales behind in the half. Big surprise in the segment is the Fiat Tipo, with a whopping 76.000 sales in just 6 months, which means it challenges the Seat Leon for 7th place in the segment. Fiat’s strategy to launch it as a budget alternative is clearly paying off. Add to that the more than 20.000 units it sold in its “home market” Turkey as the Egea, and Fiat has already sold almost 100.000 units of the Tipo this year. It’s the brand’s #3 seller after the two minicars Panda and 500, and what’s even more important: only 47,9% of European sales (excluding Turkey) of the Tipo were from Italy, the lowest figure of any Fiat model besides the 500. That means its success is carried across Europe and not only dependent on the Italian market.
The Toyota Auris is starting to lose volume now that the C-HR crossover has been launched, but it has a very comfortable gap to the nearest 2 rivals: the South-Korean duo Kia Cee’d and Hyundai i30. The latter of these has just been renewed and is now more Golf than ever but is so far unable to turn that into a sales gain, as the i30 is down 10% in Q2. Perhaps the upcoming station wagon version (and “fastback”) can turn the model around. The Cee’d won’t be replaced for another year, but is already down 18% in Q2. The new generation Honda Civic is starting to make an impact on the nameplate’s sales, as the 21% loss of the first quarter has improved to a decline of just 6% in Q2. That still leaves the Civic behind perennial underperformer Mazda3, which sees stable sales. At least the Civic outsells the aging Citroën C4 and the flopped Nissan Pulsar. The Hyundai Ioniq, available as a hybrid and EV (the PHEV will follow later this year), handily outsells its rival Toyota Prius, which is down 29% in Q2 despite its new generation. Or perhaps because of that, as its polarizing design may scare away a few potential customers. But the Ioniq is also quite a bit cheaper so may steal away sales from the Prius.
The Golf and Octavia have already been facelifted this year and the 308 will follow soon. The i30 has been replaced this year, which means its sibling Cee’d will follow next year, and their rival Auris will also be renewed on Toyota’s new platform. Nissan is expected to facelift the Pulsar this year, while Volkswagen will renew the Jetta sedan. The second generation Nissan Leaf will rival the Opel Ampera-e and finally the next generation Focus will be revealed this year, but it isn’t likely to hit showrooms before 2018 as the brand first wants to focus on the new generation Fiesta.
Also check out the US compact car segment, where the leaders Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla lose volume but the Chevrolet Cruze in 4th shows double digit growth.
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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.