Growth has stalled in the premium compact car segment in Europe, as the segment is down 8% in Q2 of 2017, leading to a 5% loss in the first half of the year to 468.243 sales. The ranking is relatively stable, but some individual models still show significant volume decreases or increases. The dominant segment leader Audi A3 is down 15% in the second quarter and sold just 4.500 cars more than the #2 Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The A-Class has enjoyed increasing interest from buyers, as it was one of the fastest growing models in the segment in 2016 and continues to gain share in 2017. It distances the BMW 1-series for which the facelift effect already appears to be wearing off. Sales were stable in Q2 reducing the first half gain to 8%. The next generation 1-Series will become more of a follower than an individualist, losing its rear wheel drive platform and the 6-cylinder engine option, as well as its somewhat controversial styling in favor of more vanilla styling and mechanics. Undoubtedly that will only help it increase sales further and to become a real challenger for the segment lead.
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If we look at total brand sales in this segment, Mercedes-Benz’ three models (145.206 sales) have reclaimed the lead from BMW’s four models (143.745 sales) as the former gains a percentage and the latter loses a percentage of sales, but Audi is distanced with sales of its single model down 13%. Volvo is best of the rest, as usual in Europe, with the facelifted V40 down 4% in Q2 for stable sales in the half, but distancing the Mercedes-Benz B-Class which drops 7%. The CLA benefits from incentive spending to improve 14% in Q2 and 6% year-to-date. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is now starting to show its age with a loss of 20% as last year’s minor facelift has had very limited impact. In 9th place we find the Mini Clubman station wagon, which suffers an 18% loss in the second quarter as the new generation Countryman crossover is cannibalizing the formerly largest Mini. The top-10 is completed by the BMW 2-series Coupe & Convertible, down a harsh 22% in Q2. The electric BMW i3 more than doubles up and takes more than 2% of the segment thanks to its upgraded battery with improved range. The DS4 loses almost half of its volume in Q2 as it barely sells more than 1.000 monthly units as it fades into oblivion. At least the DS4 still outsells the flopped Infiniti Q30, which only beats the already 6-year old Lexus CT, but that’s just about the only bright spot in its forgetful career so far.
The premium small car segment is down a worrying 12% in the second quarter, pulling down the first half figure to -8% at 178.563 sales as all nameplates lose volume in Q2 and only one manages to improve year-to-date. Segment leader Mini (including the 4-door and convertible versions) improves its share of hte segment by 5 percentage points to 41,3% as it loses 4% in Q2 but is still up 5% in the first half. The Audi A1 reduces its losses of the first quarter to -7% in the second quarter but is still down 13% year-to-date. At least it reclaims the 2nd place from the Lancia Ypsilon, whose sales tumble 22% in Q2. 99% of its sales were in its home market Italy, but even there the Ypsilon seems to be losing interest from buyers. The DS3 fares even worse with a 37% loss as the French luxury brand is suffering from a lack of new products or significant updates. The Alfa Romeo MiTo sold less than 1.000 copies a month in Q2 as the Italians refuse to pull the plug on the model.
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