The large MPV segment in Europe lost volume for the 10th consecutive quarter in Q2 of 2019 with a 12% decline to just under 24.000 sales. European families, businesses and car rental companies continue to lose interest in this type of vehicle and the future of the segment looks bleak as fewer brands see profitability at these volumes while 7-seat crossovers cannibalize their MPV rivals, even though the latter are still way more space efficient and practical. Of the six remaining players in this segment, only one manages to improve its sales with four of the other five down by double digits. The Seat Alhambra holds on to its top spot, a position it was unable to maintain for the entire year in 2018, but it outsold all of its rivals in both quarters of 2019. With a loss of 12%, the Alhambra loses slightly faster than the overall segment, which is not surprising considering it’s also the oldest model in the class, together with its identical twin Volkswagen Sharan, which is down by a similar percentage in the first half, but was down 22% in Q2. VW Group now holds 48,1% of all large MPV sales in Europe. The segment best seller for the past three years, the Ford S-Max loses 10% of its sales and is for now relegated to the #2 spot. The S-Max may strike back later this year unless Ford decides to pull the plug on its large MPVs early.
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Then again, the S-Max’s sibling Ford Galaxy is the only nameplate in the segment to improve its sales, at +37% in the second quarter and adds 3,5 percentage points of share so far this year, which means Ford improves its share to 39,3%. Then again, the segment as a whole is still shrinking fast and the still relatively fresh Ford models (they were renewed in 2016) are being handily outsold by models that were launched in 2010 and look like that too. It also must have been painful for Ford to see its biggest single client for the Galaxy place a huge order of VW MPVs earlier this year, as Addison Lee, London’s private hire company, ordered 1.200 black Sharans into its 5.000 vehicle fleet. The Renault Espace, the struggling grandfather of the segment, is down by 24% and holds just 12% share, despite being one of the freshest models in the class. It only outsells the SsangYong Rodius, which is down 72% and is now more of a niche player than it already was.
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