After 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.
The 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.
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