European sales 2017 Q1-Q3: Subcompact car segment

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2017_Q2-Renault_Clio-Volkswagen_Polo-Ford_FiestaAfter a 6% growth rate in the first half of 2017, Europe’s largest segment by volume declines 2% in the third quarter. That brings the year-to-date figure to 2,17 million, up 4% on the same period of 2016. Major culprit of this slowdown in Q3 is the former segment leader Ford Fiesta which suffers a 44% decline in Q3 as it is changing over to the new generation. That has dropped the Fiesta to 9th place in Q3 although it holds on to its third place year-to-date, helped by a 17% decline in Opel/Vauxhall Corsa deliveries as a new generation of that car is long overdue as the Corsa is still based on a platform launched in 2006. The Renault Clio continues to sell strong and is the only model in the top-5 to grow in the third quarter, doing so by 11%. That allows it to stay ahead of the Volkswagen Polo which was running on its last legs as it too has a new generation arriving in Q4. The Peugeot 208 holds on to its 5th place while its sister model Citroën C3 stroms up the charts from #9 last year to #6 thanks to the successful launch of the new generation. However, the C3 was outsold by both the Dacia Sandero and Toyota Yaris in the third quarter. The Sandero keeps going from strength to strength even without any major updates, while the Yaris has recently been facelifted.

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2016-Nissan_MicraThe Skoda Fabia was down 5# in Q3 but is still up by 2% year-to-date, while its sister model Seat Ibiza also lost 2% in the third quarter, despite having an all-new model fresh in showrooms. At least it held on to its top-10 position ahead of the Hyundai i20 and Nissan Micra, the latter of which has been renewed as well and gains 54% in Q3 on its predecessor. That allows the Micra to outsell the also still very fresh Kia Rio, which doesn’t seem to vibe with European consumers as it only grows 2% in Q3, compared to the outgoing model last year. As the only subcompact sedan in Europe (not counting the very low volume Lada Granta), the Dacia Logan shows a similar double digit growth in Q3 as its hatchback version Sandero, up 18% in the third quarter and moving up to #14 year-to-date, ahead of the Ford Ka+ and the aging Fiat Punto. At the bottom of the top-10 we find the all-electric Renault Zoe showing significant improvements, while just behind the Suzuki Baleno is already down by 27% after just celebrating its first birthday. Similarly, its sister model Swift is down by 5% in Q3 as its new generation fails to impress buyers so far.

With the all-new versions of the Fiesta and Polo in showrooms, and the C3, Ibiza, Micra and Rio also still fresh, the segment is expected to pick up its growth again in Q4. For 2018 sales are predicted to remain flat as there won’t be a lot of news for the segment. The new Opel/Vauxhall Corsa was supposed to arrive in 2018, but the PSA takeover has delayed that project to 2019.

Subcompact segment 17 Q1-Q3 16 Q1-Q3 Change Share
1 Renault Clio 243.587 229.678 6% 11,2%
2 Volkswagen Polo 226.472 237.668 -5% 10,4%
3 Ford Fiesta 196.404 230.375 -15% 9,1%
4 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa 189.649 208.963 -9% 8,7%
5 Peugeot 208 180.207 192.409 -6% 8,3%
6 Citroën C3 157.505 97.562 61% 7,3%
7 Dacia Sandero 151.409 132.123 15% 7,0%
8 Toyota Yaris 149.794 147.483 2% 6,9%
9 Skoda Fabia 135.577 133.317 2% 6,3%
10 Seat Ibiza 90.417 94.831 -5% 4,2%
11 Hyundai i20 78.008 74.201 5% 3,6%
12 Nissan Micra 66.641 45.927 45% 3,1%
13 Kia Rio 56.517 53.218 6% 2,6%
14 Dacia Logan 41.433 38.174 9% 1,9%
15 Ford Ka+ 40.837 1.791 2180% 1,9%
16 Fiat Punto 40.611 49.864 -19% 1,9%
17 Honda Jazz 28.944 30.220 -4% 1,3%
18 Suzuki Swift 27.888 35.814 -22% 1,3%
19 Mazda2 25.368 29.168 -13% 1,2%
20 Renault Zoe 22.969 15.537 48% 1,1%
21 Suzuki Baleno 15.205 10.526 44% 0,7%
22 MG3 2.444 2.574 -5% 0,1%
23 Lada Granta 738 481 53% 0,0%
24 Lada Kalina 494 750 -34% 0,0%
25 Chevrolet Aveo 3 36 -92% 0,0%
26 Peugeot 207 2 16 -88% 0,0%
27 Mitsubishi Colt 1 0 0,0%
Segment total 2.169.124 2.092.706 4%

Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2016 and monthly sales from 2012 to 2016, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site.

Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.


  1. It’s an absurd that fiat doesn’t have a competitive model in a segment which it used to be the lider in the 90’s.

    1. Absolutely, in the 00’s too. Fiat to recover its leadership should do the same strategy as it was done in the citycar segment with two models in the subcompact segment also, one based on 500’s platform named 600 to replace Ypsilon and another based on Tipo’s platform, a new Uno. The first one would be a four door 500 and the second a kind of big Panda, more utilitary oriented.

  2. Next year Clio will be surpased probably, if they start giving discounts on Polo and Fiesta. Over here they are too expensive, same goes for Ibiza.

  3. the new Clio and 208 will dominate the segment in 2019 and in 2018 this good old clio could still dominate the segment

  4. I’m wondering which brands will join Renault, Dacia and Skoda by building a compact station wagon. Such a car offers enough room for a lot of people like small families. Some compact crossovers can’t match the practicality of a small estate. So it’s strange there aren’t more alternatives in this large and popular segment. The Clio Estate and Fabia Combi are very successful. However, Seat axed the Ibiza ST due to disappointing sales.

    Of course I wish everyone from CSB and all its readers happy holidays!

    1. The last compact SW of Brazil Fiat Weekend was phased out this month, everybody here wants a subcompact or a compact crossover/SUV. Merry Christmas to everybody.

      1. That’s about time after almost twenty years. Although the (Palio) Weekend was developed as a budget car for the South American and Eastern European market, twenty years is too long for any compact car to stay relevant. Even an icon like the first generation 500 ‘only’ made it to eighteen years. I admire Fiat for their compact car range, but they should renew them sooner. Especially because it’s their bread and butter.

  5. Dear Losange, I agree with you specially about what you said regarding Fiat, but besides Palio Weekend beeing in the market for such long time without any major improvement, the subcompact and compact crossovers are the most desirable vehicles here and nobody wants a SW in any size.

    1. I know, crossover models have always been popular in South America.

      The European market for compact cars is quite large, but lacks enough station wagons.

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