The premium compact car segment in Europe loses volume for the third consecutive quarter in Q3 of 2017, with an 8% decline in sales. Year-to-date, the segment is down by 6% to nearly 671.000 sales. The ranking is relatively stable, but some individual models still show significant volume decreases or increases. The dominant segment leader Audi A3 is down 6% in the third quarter and its closest two rivals are closing in. The 2nd placed Mercedes-Benz A-Class improved 3% while the BMW 1-series saw stable sales in Q3. All three models have sold over 100.000 units so far this year and combined they control more than half of the segment. However, that does not paint the full picture, as Audi sells its hatchback, sedan and convertible models all under the A3 monicker, while Mercedes-Benz and BMW have split off some of those versions under different names. Mercedes-Benz is the segment leader in terms of brand sales, with the A-Class hatchback, B-Class MPV and CLA sedan and station wagon at 210.606 sales, stable on the year before. BMW follows closely with 205.950 sales of its 1-Series hatchback, 2-Series MPV and 2-series Coupe & Convertible as well as the i3 EV, down 2%.
Volvo is best of the rest, as usual in Europe, with the V40 down 17% in Q3, when it was outsold by the B-Class and CLA, and the former has passed it in the year-to-date ranking to claim 5th place of the segment. The V40 may run into more trouble when the XC40 crossover is launched later this year, which may cannibalize some of its sales. The CLA also lost 17% in Q3 but was still the #5 of the segment in that quarter. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is in need of a replacement but there hasn’t even been a decision about whether that will be developed or not, so even if so it’s going to take a while until that car arrives. In the meantime, Alfa’s best seller in Europe loses more than a fifth of its sales and was outsold in Q3 by the Mini Clubman and BMW 2-series Coupe & Convertible, even though both of these nameplates were down by 14%. The electric BMW i3 is up 10% in the third quarter and has improved by 62% so far this year. The DS4 is about to be discontinued and loses more than a quarter of its volume, and so does the Infiniti Q30 which hasn’t even come close to reaching its target. Just 1.702 sales in the third quarter is less than the Lexus CT, an already almost 7-years old model that’s been pulled from the US market but continues to be sold in Europe, for now. A minor facelift helps the CT200h to improve 11% in Q3 and return to positive for the year so far.
The premium small car segment is down a worrying 13% in the third quarter, pulling down the year-to-date figure to -9% at nearly 250.000 sales as all nameplates lose volume in Q2 and only one manages to improve year-to-date, by just 1%. Segment leader Mini (including the 4-door and convertible versions) improves its share of the segment by 4 percentage points to 42,1% as it loses 9% in Q3 but is still in the black year-to-date, although barely. The Audi A1 takes a worrying hit in the third quarter wiht sales down 19%, bringing its YTD figure down 15%. The Lancia Ypsilon is surprisingly stable with just a 6% loss in the third quarter, despite its advanced age and the fact that 99% of its sales were in its home market Italy now that the brand has been pulled out of the rest of Europe. The DS3 is the big loser of the segment with a 24% loss in Q3 and sales down by a third so far this year as the French luxury brand is suffering from a lack of new products or significant updates. The Alfa Romeo MiTo sold less than 1.000 copies a month this year as the Italians refuse to pull the plug on the aging model, but it’s actually surprisingly stable as well, considering its age.
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