The compact car segment in Europe slows down its decline in the second quarter of 2019, with a loss of 8% to just over 557.000 sales, but is still down 11% for the first half as Europe’s second largest segment now accounts for 13,1% of the total market, down from 14,1% in the first six months of 2018. In both quarters the compact car segment showed lower sales than the small crossover segment (up 11% to 14,2% share of the market) and that makes the small crossovers are now the second largest segment in Europe, pushing the compact cars to #3. At least the overall best selling model still comes from the compact car segment, although the Volkswagen Golf is under threat from the Renault Clio now that a redesigned Mk VIII Golf is on the way and Volkswagen has an internal competitor with the T-Roc. Among compact cars, the Golf is still the dominant leader, even though its share is down by 0,7 percentage points to 20,4%, as it lost 14% of its sales in the first half of 2019. The already renewed Ford Focus is still in 2nd place but its margin over the Skoda Octavia was significantly smaller in Q2 with less than 700 sales separating them. The Focus is the only nameplate in the top-7 to improve its sales.
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The Peugeot 308 holds on to its #4 spot for the first half, but it was down into 7th place in Q2, as the Toyota Corolla jumped up to 4th place with over 40.000 sales, just ahead of the Seat Leon and the Renault Megane. The Corolla hits a sweet spot with its two different hybrid versions: one aimed at buyers looking for maximum fuel efficiency and one aimed at buyers looking for a power boost, both available in hatchback and station wagon versions. The Corolla is the overall best seller in Ireland, Latvia in the first half of 2019, Poland (each of the last 3 months, #3 first half), Estonia (July, #2 first half) and Lithuania (July, #3 first half). That leaves the Opel/Vauxhall Astra in 8th place for the second quarter as that model is in danger of ending the year in that same spot, its lowest position since 2015, just when the current generation was launched. The Kia Ceed is showing some impressive sales figures, helped by the Proceed version as the nameplate is on track to reach its highest European sales volume since its launch in 2007, and remember that the segment as a whole was about 50% bigger back then compared to nowadays. The Ceed has a 5% share of the segment so far this year, while its share has only once been above 4%, at 4,2% in 2013.
The Fiat Tipo is down 24% in the first half of 2019 after a promising start of its career, while the Hyundai i30 is down by 13% and is now outsold by its sibling Kia Ceed for the first time since 2010. The Honda Civic loses 10% and was outsold in Q2 by the Hyundai Ioniq and all-new Mazda3. The Nissan Leaf is also down by 10% in the half, despite a 12% gain in Q1, as its Q2 sales were down by 31% as the second generation was just lauched then. The Skoda Scala lands at #18 both in Q2 and H1.
We anticipate a lot of news in this segment in the rest of 2019, as the segment leader Golf will launch its 8th generation, which will be followed by also new versions of its siblings Octavia and Leon, as well as the highly anticipated all electric ID3 for which the company has already started taking deposits. Peugeot is planning a new generation of the 308 and the C4 may be revived after all, but rumors are it won’t be on the same platform as the 308 but instead on a low-cost B-segment platform in a similar strategy as the Skoda Scala. The Leaf will get a much needed optional bigger battery pack giving it a longer range and Hyundai will bring technical updates to the Ioniq including longer ranges as well. The Astra will be updated and the Megane and Civic are due to receive the same.
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