European sales 2017-Q1 Midsized car segment

Midsized_car-segment-European-sales-2017_Q1-Volkswagen_Passat-Skoda_Superb-Ford_MondeoSales 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.

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

Opel_Insignia-2017-car-sales-EuropeThe 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.

Also check out the midsized car segment in the US, where the #5 Subaru Outback is the only model in the top-8 to add volume.

Midsized segment 2017-Q1 2016-Q1 Change
1 Volkswagen Passat 45.143 53.266 -15%
2 Skoda Superb 23.033 21.812 6%
3 Ford Mondeo 16.975 21.407 -21%
4 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia 15.255 20.507 -26%
5 Renault Talisman 9.415 4.989 89%
6 Peugeot 508 7.986 10.872 -27%
7 Toyota Avensis 7.439 10.360 -28%
8 Mazda6 7.283 9.224 -21%
9 Hyundai i40 4.346 5.347 -19%
10 Kia Optima 4.129 1.786 131%
11 Citroën C5 1.848 2.717 -32%
12 Subaru Legacy / Outback 1.839 2.129 -14%
13 Subaru Levorg 775 1.289 -40%
14 Opel/Vauxhall Ampera 68 13 423%
15 Honda Accord 5 30 -83%
16 Suzuki Kizashi 1 0
Segment total 145.540 165.920 -12%

Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2016 and monthly sales from 2012 to 2016, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site.

Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.

  1. Thw Passat suffers from delivery problem on parts. A friend of mine just had his delivery postponed by 1½ month. According to the importer it’s problems with parts for the glove compartment and affects many deliveries.

    1. Hi Martin C,
      thanks for this additional information. It appears the glove compartment of the Passat is indeed made by the same supplier which had that fire at its Czech plant in January which has also caused supply issues at Renault and Peugeot.

  2. Too bad the terrific Talisman is unable the succeed to its full potential. This segment is under siege by the Triple German premium brands and suffers from the massive shift towards SUV’s. Luckily for Renault the Korean Talisman version adds 50.000 units per year.

  3. Together with the sales in South Korea, the Talisman is making 100k sales per year. Not bad at all considering the miserable state of this market segment.

  4. Pricing of the Talisman is wrong. Here in Denmark you end up paying way more for a Talisman than a Passat Highline+ with the same specs, and you can only get diesel engines in that range on the Talisman, and diesel cars are taxed much higher than petrol cars.

  5. The problem with Talisman is the poor support of the media system as well the fact it is not sold everywhere (UK for example). Also Renault have just added Android Auto/Apple Car play to models made in April – screwing up all the people who have bought cars made before April 17. It is also the issue with top engines being no more than 1.6 diesel (130 to 160hp) and also 1.6 petrol (up to 200hp). A lot of people don’t like that.

    In Eastern Europe pricing is right for a car in this class, especially if you compare it to the price of Passat.

    1. Three words. Value for money. Well that, and bigger dealer network, more marketing, etc.. Subaru is pretty much non-existent in the EU, Mazda is more present, but still its a relatively small brand.

    2. In my opinion Skoda lost their value for money image, because their pricing has raised significantly over the years compared with other mainstream brands. The main factor for Skoda’s success is the VAG corporate marketing strategy. That works in the predominantly artificial European car market in which customers in the corporate sector don’t have much freedom of choice at the expense of non-European brands.

    3. Are you serious? No idea why? There are dozens of reasons, not the least because EU lease cie’s are heavily under the spell of almighty VW Group. Take the largest, LeasePlan. LP has a huge fleet. Which is good for VW, while VW owns part of LP.

      Subaru, curious name to bring up. Subaru exists because of the USA. It sells appr. 80% of its output in NA. And in the US, it does a remarkable job: 600k units p/y easily, with increasing sales EVERY month for the past 4 years.

  6. I wonder how much the forced use of D Sedans cars by Uber and Taxis has damaged this segment image among private buyers.
    In Paris, almost all the Talisman / 508 / Passat I see are coming from this selling channel.

    I assume some people would not appreciate to be mistaken out as Uber drivers…

  7. Maybe I can bring some insights to this topic since we are looking into buying Passat or Talisman. That Passat fall so much because the problems of availability is true, reading German forums some people only got the Passat they oredered in the end of October now.
    Onto Superb, which I reall dislike but oh well, it is selling so well because of bussines leases. I talked to someone who has company car and even the size of wheels make difference , 18 inches and above and the leasing plan is more expensive. In those plans is also included expected loss of value, and that is where Skoda comes in, it losses way less money than competition. For example Passat is cheaper to lease than Talisman.
    Now we are with Talisman. Someone up said they f****d customers because only now it gets Android Auto. Well that’s not everything. In a month or 2 Talisman will get better materials on the interior, LED fog lights, LED brake light and a bit revised bumper. About engines, Espace already got 1.8 TCE 225 HP from Alpine/Megane RS, it is comming for Talisman next year. What is also comming for Talisman next year are new diesel engines. All that is great but it got me thinking if it isn’t a too litle to late.

    1. Hi Blaz,

      Regarding car play and people complaining you can see the comments over at this link (please disable ad-block to be able to see facebook comments):

      Are you suggesting we are going to see a facelifted Talisman so soon? I own Laguna 3 phase 2 2.0dci 150 and generally I like it, naturally I am also interested in the Talisman one day. What I don’t like in the Talisman is the area around the screen tablet – fingerprints are left easily on the side touch buttons and some of the buttons bellow could be designed better to fit the modern design around. More or less that is the only thing to complain. I would be fine with 1.6 TCE 200, but don’t like that fuel tank went down from 66 to around 50 litres. Many people believe that 1.6 litre engines are not enough and Renault should do better, especially in this segment. Everyone else offers 2.0, why not Renault? I believe this policy lost quite a lot of customers. For example the new Koleos still got 2.0 diesel, the Korean Talisman also offers 2.0 engine althought a different one. Can’t wait to see what an updated Talisman will offer, so far I have little reason to change the Laguna 3. And my experience with Renault made me always by the facelifted model.

  8. Up to 20.000 Passats has been and are stored at the Emden plant and surrounding area waiting for fitting of the glove compartment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.