Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe are down for the fifth consecutive quarter in Q3 of 2017, with a loss of 9%. In the first 9 months of 2017, nearly 580.000 units were sold, also down 9% from a year earlier. Only three nameplates increase their volume so far this year, of which two come from the same manufacturer, although they’re technically not related: the Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic and the Dacia Lodgy. After leading the segment in Q2, the Scenic is down into 2nd place in Q3 but that’s not enough to overtake the Citroën C4 Picasso for the segment #2 spot year-to-date, let alone that it’s able to retake the segment lead from the Volkswagen Touran. The last time the inventor of the segment, now already in its fourth generation, was the best selling midsized MPV in Europe was in 2013. If the Scenic fails to top the segment for the full year, it has the first quarter to blame, when it was only in 6th place due to supply issues after a fire at one of Renault’s suppliers. Keep in mind, both the C4 Picasso and the Scenic are available in 2 sizes, like the Ford C-Max and BMW 2-Series, while the Touran is one size only but Volkswagen also offers the slightly smaller Golf Sportsvan. When combined, the Touran and Sportsvan hold a quarter of the segment volume in the first three quarters of the year.
Behind the top-3, the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer/Gran Tourer holds on to 4th place despite a 15% loss so far this year, staying ahead of the VW Sportsvan and Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max, both also down while their brands’ crossovers Tiguan and Kuga continue to increase by double digits. The second luxury MPV Mercedes-Benz B-Class even outsold the C-Max in Q3 and is close enough to challenge its rival for 6th place by the end of the year. Even though Opel/Vauxhall has launched the Grandland X crossover and its Astra sales are down harshly, the Zafira Tourer is actually surprisingly stable with single-digit declines on par with the overall segment. As mentioned above, the Dacia Lodgy shows double digit gains of 15% in Q3 as well as YTD, even though the model is already 5 years old without any major updates. The Toyota Verso is being phased out, but the hybrid Prius+ is unable to make up for its loss even though it manages to improve its volume, perhaps because it manages to attract potential buyers who are ticked off by the controversial design of the regular Prius. On the other hand, it seems like in some European cities the Prius+ is only used as a taxi and there are very few private buyers.
For 2018 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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