Sales of compact carsin Europe increased 4% in the first quarter of 2017, half the growth of the overall market at +7,8%. Total volume of the segment was just over 636.000 sales, which means it remains the second-largest segment in Europe. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf is in trouble with a loss of 11% as it has just been facelifted but also feels some in-house competition from the new generation Tiguan, and possibly even from the Seat Ateca crossover. The new generation Opel/Vauxhall Astra continues to outperform the segment, but is still way too far behind to even remotely threaten the Golf’s domination. Like the Fiesta one segment down, the Ford Focus traditionally has a good start of the year thanks to its popularity in the UK, but its 7% gain is nonetheless impressive considering it is one of the oldest models in the top-6.
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
That means the Skoda Octavia, the #3 of the segment in the full year 2016, is back into 4th place, but with a more than comfortable distance from its two French rivals Peugeot 308 (down 17%) and Renault Megane (up 56%). Big surprise in the top-8 is the Fiat Tipo, helped by a record volume in March (although perhaps as a result of questionable tactics, as described in our March 2017 sales analysis). Still, the Tipo manages to outsell the Toyota Auris and has sold more units for a compact Fiat model in a single quarter since the last 12 years. The Hyundai i30, due for a replacement, loses 15% and drops out of the top-10 for now, and the Honda Civic loses 21% as it awaits the arrival of the new generation in showrooms anytime now. The Citroën C4 isn’t due for a replacement, which makes its 25% loss even worse than it seems, and so it the 17% loss of the Nissan Pulsar, the model that never lived up to the brand’s (unreasonably high) expectations. Newcomer Hyundai Ioniq continues to outsell its direct rival Toyota Prius.
In 2017 the Golf and Octavia have already been facelifted and the 308 will follow soon. The i30 will be replaced this year, which means its sibling Cee’d will soon follow suit, and their rival Auris will also be renewed on Toyota’s new platform. Nissan is expected to facelift the Pulsar, while Volkswagen will renew the Jetta sedan. 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.
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