The compact car segment in Europe showed a 4% decline in sales in the third quarter of 2017 as it did in the second quarter as well, which means the year-to-date figure is down 1% the same period last year. Just over 1,8 million compact cars were sold in the first nine months of 2017. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf is back into positive territory with a gain of 6% in Q3 but is still down by 6% year-to-date. It still sells more double the figure of the #2 player in the segment as the Opel/Vauxhall Astra was lost a horrid 28% in Q3 and was down to fourth place this quarter. If it proves unable to turn its fate around, the VW Group looks set to grab the top-2 spots for the first time ever with the Skoda Octavia moving up to second place. The aging Ford Focus lost 3% in Q3 but will be replaced in 2018 so in fact its 1% decline so far this year is actually pretty impressive considering most of its rivals are much fresher.
That includes the Renault Megane, which was up 6% in the third quarter but is still up 24% YTD which allows it to move into 5th place ahead of its French rival Peugeot 308, which was down by almost a quarter in Q3 and has lost 20% this year as it faces cannibalization from the brand’s new crossovers 3008 and 5008. The Seat Leon is stable in Q3 and outsold the 308 as well, but not by a large enough margin to threaten its rival for the year-end ranking. The Fiat Tipo is already above 100.000 sales after three quarters this year, as most of you already predicted it would sell for the full year, but it was marginally outsold by the Toyota Auris in Q3.
The Hyundai i30 moves into the top-10 ahead of its sibling Kia Cee’d, and both South-Korean models stay ahead of the Skoda Rapid and the Japanese rivals Mazda3 and Honda Civic. The Civic was still down by 7% in Q3 even though the new generation is already in showrooms. Perhaps the loss of the station wagon version is costing it sales. The Citroën C4 is down 33% in the third quarter as the French brand has announced the model will be phased out in favor of the C4 Cactus. The Hyundai Ioniq, for now available as a hybrid and as an EV with the PHEV coming up later, moves ahead of the EV-only Nissan Leaf, while the hybrid and PHEV only Toyota Prius loses more than a third of its volume in Q3, bringing its YTD score down 18%.
The Golf and Octavia have already been facelifted this year and the 308 will follow soon. The i30 has been replaced this year, which means its sibling Cee’d will follow next year, and their rival Auris will also be renewed on Toyota’s new platform. Nissan is expected to facelift the Pulsar this year, while Volkswagen will renew the Jetta sedan. The second generation Nissan Leaf will rival the Opel Ampera-e and 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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