Sales of small MPVs in Europe accelerate their decline in Q3 of 2017. After a 14% loss in 2016, a 10% decline in Q1, a 23% decline in Q2, the segment loses 35% in the third quarter, bringing the year-to-date figure to just over 190.000 sales, down 22% on last year as we continue to lose players in the segment. Surprisingly, one nameplate manages to improve its volume in Q2 and does so with double digits. The Ford B-Max, which has seen its sales decline every year since 2013, gains an impressive 34% in the third quarter, which makes it the best selling model in the segment for that period. However, that party won’t last too long as production of the model has ended last September. The traditional segment leader Fiat 500L is down at a similar rate as the rest of the segment and holds on to its 27% share of the segment.
In third place in Q3 was the Hyundai ix20, which has kept its sales volume impressively stable over the course of its life cycle and has been moving up the charts as its rivals have withdrawn from the segment. The same goes for its sibling Kia Venga in 6th place, and even though both brands have just launched small crossovers that most brands have replaced their small MPVs with, the stable sales of these two models has given them another lease on life and they will continue as long as there’s demand for them. With a reduced number of rivals, chances are that they will take a fair share of the buyers that still prefer an MPV over a crossover.
Those disappearing rivals include the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, down 77% in Q3 as it has been replaced by the Crossland X, the Citroën C3 Picasso, down 59% in Q3 after having been replaced by the C3 Aircross. Both these new crossovers have already had better sales than their MPV predecessors had since at least 2012. Nissan already had a small crossover with the Juke and is not replacing the Note. The Toyota Verso-S and Lancia Musa had already been withdrawn in the last couple of years and sold off remaining stock models.
We do have one newcomer to the segment, and it’s a bit of an odd one out: the all-electric Opel Ampera-e. However, Opel now falls under the umbrella of PSA and that means the French have to buy the Ampera-e from General Motors which has developed and produces the model in the US as the Chevrolet Bolt. And Opel under GM ownership so badly needed the Ampera-e to reduce Opel/Vauxhall’s fleet CO2-emissions as the brand was an estimated 7 years behind the industry on engine development after GM failed to continue the required investment in new models and technology during times of heavy losses, that it was prepared to take huge losses on each copy sold. PSA is not willing to do the same and has already halted or reduced sales of the Ampera-e in Europe and has raised the prices, making the model less attractive for European buyers. Less than 500 were delivered during Q3.
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