The minicar segment shows a slight recovery in Q3 of 2017 with a gain of 1% but is still down by 1% for the first 9 months of 2017, with almost 980.000 sales. Fiat’s share of the segment is down on the first half of the year but up on the first three quarters of 2016, with 30,6% share of the segment and holding on to the top two positions with the 500 and Panda. The Volkswagen Up! remaims #3 of the segment, with less than half the sales of the best seller, but was the only model in the segment that showed double-digit growth in Q3. However, it was still outsold by the Hyundai i10 in the third quarter, the fastest growing model in the year-to-date top-5. The gap between the two models is too large to be closed in the last quarter, so another podium finish for the Up! seems to be wrapped up. The fifth placed Toyota Aygo is the best seller of the Kolin triplets, built together with PSA, and also the only of the three to continue growing its sales, as the Peugeot 108 and Citroën C1 are both down by double digits. The same can be said of the remaining two members of the VW triplets, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii.
The new generation Kia Picanto is the fastest growing model of the segment in the first nine months of the year with a gain of 15%, although its Q3 growth somewhat slowed to 6% as the outgoing generation was sold off at a discount during this period last year. Still, the Picanto jumps to 7th place, passing the Smart Fortwo since the first half ranking and up from 11th in the first three quarters of 2016. The Opel Karl and Vauxhall Viva duo is down by double digits and barely managed to outsell their upmarket Adam sibling. The only newcomer to the segment is the Suzuki Ignis, which is stuck in 13th place for now, reaching sales figures that the brand last saw in 2010 in this segment with the Alto, and that was a low budget model while the Ignis is commanding premium prices for a car of its size. However, it is slightly cannibalizing sales of the Celerio which is down by 16% in Q3, but of course overall sales of the brand are still way up, proving once again that offering a hip and trendy model next to a functional, value for money model, improves both volume and margins, as Fiat and Opel/Vauxhall have also experienced. The Smart Forfour was up 3% in Q3 but was outsold by the Mitsubishi Space Star (up 41% thanks to a minor facelift), but is still down 10% for the year, compared to a gain of 13% for the Space Star.
If we look at the ranking for those combined platforms, we see that behind Fiat with the aforementioned 30,6% share, the Kolin triplets of PSA and Toyota hold 15,7% of the segment, Renault-Daimler(Smart) holds 13,6%, while Hyundai-Kia at 12,4% overtakes the VW Group triplets which hold an 11,6% share of the segment. Among the triplets, the Up! is the most dominant with 65,9% of the volume, while the Aygo and Twingo are less dominant at 43,3% and 43,9% share respectively.
There won’t be a lot of news in the minicar segment for 2017, now that the Picanto has already been renewed. The Adam is expected to be facelifted and Smart will launch electric versions of its Fortwo and Forfour.
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