Sales of midsized cars in Europe have returned to decline in 2017 after a sharp rebound in 2015 and stable sales in 2016. The segment which sold over 1 million units as recently as 10 years ago is now down to its second lowest volume ever, after 2014. At nearly 543.000 sales, mainstream midsized cars now account for just 3,5% of the European market, down from 4,2% in 2016 and from 6,9% in 2007. Only one nameplate in the segment has been able to add volume last year and only three saw single digit declines with the remaining players in double digit decline. Segment leader Volkswagen Passat did slightly better than the rest of the segment at -11% to increase its share to over one third of the segment. Its platform sibling Skoda Superb holds on to 2nd place which means that for the first time ever, a VW-Skoda duo finishes on top of the annual ranking in both the compact and midsized segments. VW Group increases its share of the segment to 48,8% with these two models. The Opel/Vauxhall Insignia is the only model to even come close to the dominant players, with stable sales for the year but a 62% gain in Q4 thanks to the new generation. In fact, the Insignia outsold the Superb in both the third and fourth quarter and should be able to claim second place in 2018.
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 Ford Mondeo is the biggest loser in the top-5 with a 21% loss and 1 percentage point of share lost. At least it has a large enough buffer to the rest of the segment, as the Renault Talisman suffers a 43% loss in Q4 to finish its second full year in the red with a 6% decline. The Toyota Avensis, Mazda6 and Peugeot 508 all lose more than 20% of their volume, with the latter as the hardest hit but at least a replacement is expected to be revealed at the Geneva Auto Show in March. It will be a traditional sedan but with a much sleeker design, as opposed to Citroën which will replace the C5 with a crossover. The Mazda6 has just been slightly updated and the Avensis may be replaced by the US Camry as it’s just not profitable anymore to develop a Europe-only model in this class. The only winner in the segment is the Kia Optima, up 70%, helped by the addition of a station wagon version which allows it to overtake its stablemate Hyundai i40, subsequently down 25%. Combined, the two models are up 5,5% for the year, but down 14,9% in Q4, more than the overall market which dipped 10% in the last quarter.
In 2018 the new generation 508 will be the only big news in this segment. Ford will give the Mondeo a facelift to freshen the model up and so will Skoda with the Superb, while the i40 is expected not to be replaced after the current generation but it will be updated once more.
Also check out the midsized car segment in the US, which is down by even more and which is dominated by 3 Japanese players and the VW Passat is down in 9th place.
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