The midsized MPV segment in Europe has declined for the third consecutive year and 2018 shows the biggest loss yet with a loss of 20% on the previous year to over 600.000 sales, the lowest annual sales since 1999, not long after the Renault Megane Scenic jumpstarted this segment in 1997. Sales of midsized MPVs peaked in 2006 and 2007 at nearly 1,5 million sales in Europe, but are now down 60% from that level and falling quickly, with a loss of 42% just in Q4 of 2018. The segment is down one percentage point to just 3,9% of the overall European car market. Like in all MPV segments, brands are replacing their MPVs by crossovers which are more popular. Only one nameplate in the top-10 managed to improve its sales, two others saw single digit declines while the remaining seven players suffered double digit declines on 2017. In this harsh environment, the Renault Scenic takes the annual lead for the first time since the launch of its fourth generation in 2016 and improves its share of the segment thanks to a decline of “just” 15%. 2016 and 2017 leader Volkswagen Touran stabilizes its share but is down into second place, just ahead of the best seller in 2015 and 2014 Citroën C4 Picasso (now baptized C4 Spacetourer). However, as both the Scenic and the C4 Spacetourer are available in 2 versions, a normal 5-seater and a three-row Grand version, we should also combine the Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan with the Touran for an honest comparison. And then VW is still in the lead, despite a 33% loss for the Sportsvan, which is unlikely to be continued for much longer after the regular Golf is renewed later this year.
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
Our two luxury brand players complete the top-5, with the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer down 20% as even the plug-in hybrid version can’t make up for lost interest in the model, despite a facelift. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class manages to stay relatively stable at just -6% despite being in its final year of the second generation. It will be replaced in 2019. The Ford C-Max won’t be renewed at all and has started its demise, while the Opel/Vauxhall Zafira nameplate will continue to live on, but no longer as a midsized MPV: the name will be used for Opel/Vauxhall’s version of PSA-Toyota’s passenger van (Traveller/Spacetourer/Proace Verso). The Dacia Lodgy once again outclasses the segment and improves its share, for the fourth year in a row. The budget MPV now holds 5% of the segment and was on schedule to break its annual sales record until the new WLTP standards kicked in and sales in the last four months of 2018 averaged just half of the average in the first eight months. The Kia Carens also improves its share thanks to sales up by 1% but it too suffered from a WLTP setback, with sales declining dramatically in the last four months after peaking in August thanks to pre-registration of thousands of non-compliant but unsold versions, almost all of them in Spain where the Carens was the overall best selling car in the August freak month. The big winner in among midsized MPVs is the BMW i3 with a gain of 15% as 2018 was again a good year for electric cars.
For 2019 we welcome the new B-Class including a 7-seater version and that will probably be all the big product news in this chart. Citroën may kill of the 5-seater C4 Spacetourer as the C5 Aircross crossover can cater to those customers but isn’t available as a 7-seater. The C-Max and Carens are probably in its last year, and so is the Zafira in its current guise as mentioned above. Nor are there any concrete plans for replacements of the Toyota Prius+ and the Lodgy, so expect sales of the segment to continue to slide in the next few years.
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