The midsized MPV segment in Europe has declined for 6 consecutive quarters and finishes 2017 with a loss of 8% on 2016 to just over 746.000 sales. This means the segment accounts for 4,8% of the total European market, down from 5,4% in 2016. Only three nameplates increase their volume this year, of which two come from the same manufacturer, although they’re technically not related: the Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic and the Dacia Lodgy. The Scenic was the segment best seller in Q2 and Q4, but that’s not enough for the model to top the chart this year as the Volkswagen Touran is ahead for the second consecutive year, although this time by just 2.138 sales. Other brands offer their two-row and three-row versions under the same name, as the Scenic, C4 Picasso, 2-Series and C-Max do, but VW splits them into two distinctive models. When combining the Touran with the (Golf) Sportsvan, the brand holds more than a quarter of the sales in this class. The Citroën C4 Picasso is knocked down into third place and is below 100.000 sales after 3 years above that level. The biggest loser in the top-5 is the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer with a loss of 15% and more than a percentage point of share.
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The Sportsvan is up in Q4 but still down 9% for the year. These 5 make up about two thirds of the segment and leave behind three models that lose share in 2017: the Ford C-Max down 17%, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class down 12% and the Opel/Vauxhall Zafira down 9%. The Zafira is being continued despite the launch of the Grandland X as Opel sees the need for the additional practicality of a 7-seat MPV over a crossover. The Dacia Lodgy is the second model to grow its volume in this segment, and it has done so for the fourth consecutive year. The Lodgy is up 14% to its second-best ever annual score after its first full year of sales, 2013. The only other model to improve is the Toyota Prius+ thanks to its facelift and perhaps from picking up some sales from the controversially styled Prius liftback. Despite its growth, the Prius+ is still far behind the Toyota Verso, even though the latter sees its sales plummet by 19%, the worst performance of the segment’s remaining models. At least it manages to remain ahead of the Kia Carens.
For 2018 we can expect facelifts for the the Sportsvan and 2-series Active/Gran Tourer and perhaps the new B-Class including a 7-seater version, but that could also be 2019. Ford could surely do with a new generation C-Max, but logically it prioritizes the new Focus and a crossover below the Kuga which will be specially developed for Europe as opposed to the only moderately successful EcoSport. This is a warning sign that this segment may go the same way as the small MPV segment before it and the large MPV segment in the US: unprofitable, low-volume models will be phased out and/or replaced by a crossover (if not already), reducing the number of players which helps the remaining models keep up enough volume. The Altea and 5008 have already gone that way and the Zafira, Verso and Carens are the most likely next candidates not to be replaced by another generation MPV, besides the aforementioned C-Max and perhaps the Prius+. Even the C4 Picasso may not survive as an MPV beyond its current generation.
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