Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe continue to decline with a loss of 13% in the first quarter of 2017, to just over 200.000 units. Only 4 nameplates improve their volume over the same period last year, of which one by less than 100 units, as consumers are showing a growing preference to crossover models that offer a similar high seating position but are more hip and trendy than MPVs, despite the obvious benefits of the latter in terms of interior space and practicality. Volkswagen increases its dominance of the segment and now controls over 25% of the segment sales with its two nameplates Touran and Golf Sportsvan, as both lose less than the segment average. The Citroën C4 Picasso also does slightly better than average but drops to second place from first in the same quarter last year, before the Touran passed it to take the full-year crown.
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In third place we find the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer, combined with its 7-seater version Gran Tourer, one of the biggest losers in the segment with sales down 16% year-over-year. The BMW’s advantage over the #4 Volkswagen Sportsvan is less than 200 units and the Ford C-Max isn’t far behind either, both with single digit losses. The new generation Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic gain just 5% due to supply issues after a fire at a supplier factory but will catch up from Q2. Considering Renault has chosen to prioritize exterior design at the cost of practicality, especially for the regular Scenic, it will be interesting to see how the model performs. If it ends up being a slam-dunk success, others may follow suit, but if it fails, Renault may be in trouble in the segment it created. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is stable and holds on to 7th place, ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Zafira which will remain on sale next to the new 7-seater crossover Grandland X, as opposed to the Peugeot 5008 which will be replaced by a crossover on the same platform as the Grandland X, just like the 3008. The launch of the 5008 SUV has been delayed to the end of summer due to the same issues with the supplier fire that the Scenic suffered from.
For 2017 we can expect a slight facelift for the the VW Sportsvan, but besides the disappearing of the 5008 from this segment, there won’t be much news this year. 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.
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