Sales of midsized sedans (and station wagons) are crashing down hard in Europe just as they are across the Atlantic. In Q1 of 2017 sales were down 12% to just 145.500 units in an overall market up 7,8%. Only 3 nameplates in the segment improve year-over-year, and all others show double digit losses. In this depressed context, the Volkswagen Passat holds on to its commanding lead despite a 15% loss of volume. It still sells almost twice as many units as its closest rival, its platform sibling Skoda Superb. The two models increase their combined share of the segment to 46,9%, as the current generation Ford Mondeo just never really caught on in Europe and the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia suffers from its model change. As a result, the Mondeo is temporarily back onto the podium, but will be knocked off once deliveries of the new Insignia pick up steam. Perhaps it can even threaten the Superb for 2nd place over the course of the full year 2017.
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The Renault Talisman is unable to fight for a podium position, despite being one of the strongest designs in the segment in my opinion, and when the new Insignia arrives it will have even more trouble catching up. At least it outsells its aging French rival Peugeot 508, which loses more than a quarter of its volume. The same goes for the Toyota Avensis, while the Mazda6 and Hyundai i40 also lose around a fifth of their volume. For the latter it may also be a case of cannibalization from sister model Kia Optima, which finally breaks out of its niche position now that it’s available as a station wagon. The still relatively fresh Subaru Levorg is already down by 40% on its low volume of last year.
In 2017 only the Insignia will be renewed and the Mondeo will receive a facelift. The i40 is expected not to be replaced after the current generation reach the end of its life cycle, and so were rumors about the Avensis, but there have been spy shots of a Toyota sedan testing in Europe which was too large to be the next generation Auris. Still, considering the volume potential of this model which is almost exclusively sold in Europe is way to small to justify the investment, as buyers are shifting towards the premium brands and crossovers. Therefore Citroën will replace its C5 sedan and station wagon with the C5 Aircross SUV.
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