The compact car segment in Europe sees 5% fewer deliveries in 2019, as Europe’s #2 segment is down to 2.65 sales, or 16.9% of the total European car market, down from 18% in 2018. Europe’s best seller is obviously also still the segment leader, but the VW Golf is down 8% as the new generation will arrive in showrooms early 2020. The Ford Focus was new for 2019 and makes a 13% jump to leapfrog the Skoda Octavia and get back above 200,000 sales again. The Octavia is surprisingly stable considering it too will be renewed in 2020. The Peugeot 308 is down 8% and moves ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, down 14% as a minor facelift has done little to save the model from falling further. The Astra will have trouble staying ahead of the Seat Leon, Toyota Corolla and Renault Megane in 2020, as the Leon will be renewed, the Megane will get a facelift and an optional plug-in hybrid version and the Corolla has great momentum since its redesign, helped by the two hybrid versions and becoming the overall best selling model in Ireland, Latvia and Lithiania and taking overall 2nd place in Estonia, Finland and Poland.
The Kia Ceed enjoys a 40% jump thanks to the Proceed shooting brake and Xceed crossover-like version, topping 100,000 sales for only the third time ever, after its first two years on the market, 2008 and 2009. The Fiat Tipo is down 17% to dip below the 100k again, while the Hyundai i30 is down 5%. This hides the fact that sales of the i30N hot hatch are up 81.1% to an impressive take rate of 16.5%, beating all expectations from the company and analysts by a large margin and a promising sign for the brand. Sales of the regular i30 were down 11% in 2019. The Skoda Scala lands ahead of the Honda Civic and Mazda3, both losing market share. The Hyundai Ioniq sets a new European sales record, up 200 sales on 2018 and moving ahead of the Nissan Leaf, down 18% despite the addition of the version with a larger battery and longer range. The Toyota Prius is down 39% as the Corolla is luring away hybrid buyers with more palatable styling. The Opel Ampera-e is down 8% but enjoyed a strong Q4 as PSA discounted the model to reduce stocks before killing off the GM-made model. We see record sales for the Lada Vesta, outselling the Subaru Impreza and Peugeot 301.
In the luxury part of the segment, which accounts for 26% of total compact car sales in Europe, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sets a new annual sales record and even manages to claim the #4 spot overall, just 20,000 units (10% of its sales) off the podium. That leaves the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series far behind, both down by low double digits as the A3 is about to be renewed and the 1-Series has just been renewed in 2019. The 1-Series should be able to surpass the A3 in 2020 but the A-Class appears too far out of reach. Mercedes-Benz had a good year with its compact cars overall, with the B-Class up 21% and the CLA up 6%, which means the brand holds 45.7% of the luxury compact car segment in 2019, up from 36.8%, and 11.9% of the overall compact car segment, up from 9.3%. The Volvo V40 is being pulled from the market in favor of the XC40 crossover and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is at the end of its life cycle as well, although nobody knows how long the Italians will keep it around as long as it still gets over 10,000 annual sales which is still significant for the struggling brand. The 2-Series Coupe & Convertible are down 24%, as the Gran Coupe version hasn’t had its effect yet on deliveries, while the Mini Clubman is down 8%, its third straight year of slow but steady declines.
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