Sales of subcompact cars in Europe grew by 10% in the first quarter of 2017, faster than the overall market growth of 7,8%, and it remains the largest segment in Europe by a large margin, at more than 793.000 sales. This growth is fueled by a number of renewed or facelifted models, but also by continued strength of older models. At the top of the ranking, we have once again a change of guard as the Ford Fiesta reclaims its top position after being outsold by the Renault Clio in the full year 2017. The Fiesta is traditionally strong in Q1 thanks to its popularity in the UK and it therefore benefits from large volumes in March. In fact, this March the Fiesta was even the best selling nameplate overall, even ahead of the VW Golf, even despite being due for replacement this year. The Clio is still the fastest growing model in the top-5 and overtakes the Volkswagen Polo when compared to Q1 of 2016.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off
The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa remains in fourth place as its closest rival Peugeot 208 is one of just 3 models in the top-15 to lose volume.Big winner is the new generation Citroën C3, storming up the charts to #6 ahead of the Toyota Yaris, while the Dacia Sandero continues to improve, moving ahead of the much fresher Skoda Fabia. With a new generation around the corner, the Seat Ibiza loses 9% of its volume, but should be able to make up for that later this year. The Hyundai i20 still seems stuck outside the top-10 and now feels the new generation Nissan Micra breathing down its neck. The Micra was #10 in March and finally has the looks and the size to seriously compete in this segment, so it will be interesting to see how high it can climb.
The Kia Rio has also just been renewed and improves 16%, while the newcomer Ford Ka+ enters the top-15 thanks to a strong performance in March. The all-electric Renault Zoe, thanks to its upgraded battery with longer range, has now connected wiht the mainstream models thanks to a 53% increase in sales. It’s ahead of the Suzuki Swift, which did not yet benefit from its next generation which entered showrooms in April. The Swift may also be cannibalized by the Suzuki Baleno, which is larger and more practical compared to the more sporty Swift.
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