The midsized car segment in Europe is in continuous decline as it is in the US. An 11% drop in sales in Q3 leads to a 14% loss in the first three quarters of the year. So far this year, only 2 nameplates manage to improve year-over-year and all but one of the other models show double digit declines. In the third quarter, 2 of the top-3 manage to improve their volume, but the distant segment leader VW Passat is still down by 8% this quarter. It still holds a one third share of the segment and like its smaller sibling Golf outsells its closest rival by more than a 2-to-1 margin and like in the compact car segment that #2 is a Skoda. That means the Volkswagen Group controls almost half of the sales in this segment. However, the Skoda Superb was outsold in Q3 by the all-new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, which moves back onto the segment year-to-date podium by passing the Ford Mondeo, down 17% for the quarter and down 22% for the year.
The Renault Talisman is down a worrying 31% in Q3 but is still up 15% year-to-date, and its closest two challengers lose even more this quarter, with the Toyota Avensis down 34% and the Peugeot 508 down 39%, both are also down by large double digits so far this year. In fact, both were outsold by the Mazda6 in Q3 even though that model was also down 28%, and the Mazda is on the verge of climbing to 7th place for the full year, ahead of the 508. The big winner in the segment this year is the Kia Optima, up 76% for the quarter and more than doubling up for the year, and leapfrogging its sister model Hyundai i40, which is down by more than 20%. And Kia has another ace up its sleeve with the recently launched Stinger, which sits on a rear-wheel drive platform and is marketed as a sports sedan to rival the luxury brands. In its first 2 months, Kia sold just over 200 units, mostly demo models, and its true potential won’t be revealed until next year.
Ford will give the Mondeo a facelift to freshen the model up and so will Mazda with the 6, the i40 is expected not to be replaced after the current generation reaches the end of its life cycle, and the fate of the Avensis seems similar, as well as that of the Citroën C5. Peugeot is still planning a new sedan to replace the 508, but promises it will be different than the rest of the segment.
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