Sales of small crossovers in Europe continue their booming growth curve in 2019 with another double digit gain in the second quarter. An increase of 11% to 612.000 sales brings the first half tally to 1,18 million sales, which means this segment already accounts for 14,2% of the overall European car market, up nearly two percentage points in a single year. That also means this segment is now larger than the compact car segment (the “Golf class”) to become Europe’s second largest segment after the subcompact cars. No wonder manufacturers that are not playing in this class yet are rushing to join the party, while existing brands are doubling down on their efforts. As a result, it’s not only one of the biggest segments in terms of volume, but also in the number of players, with no less than 29 and another handful of newcomers arriving this year. After flamboyantly taking the lead in the first quarter, the Volkswagen T-Roc is knocked back down into third place by two Renault Group models, the Renault Captur and Dacia Duster. The Captur reclaims the lead of the segment it has held since 2014, even though the model’s second generation will be arriving in showrooms soon. The Duster meanwhile enjoys it best quarter ever, averaging just shy of 20.000 monthly sales, an incredible performance from the no-nonsense brand. The T-Roc is therefore relegated into third place, and it will be interesting to see how this three-way battle unfolds in the second half of 2019. Will the Captur have a similar change-over to the new generation as the Clio or will there be a hiccup in deliveries? Will the Duster continue to impress or will it (finally) run out of steam? Will the T-Roc strike back or will it suffer from internal competition by the T-Cross and new generation Golf?
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Then there is a potential fourth challenger, although the gap to the top may have already grown too large for the Peugeot 2008 which also is due to be replaced by a second generation. Behind this top-4 there’s a sizeable gap to the rest of the segment, with the Citroën C3 Aircross as best of the rest, but its lead over both the Ford Ecosport and its platform sibling Opel/Vauxhall Crossland X was less than 100 sales in Q2. The Seat Arona is performing as can be expected from the model, taking nearly 5% share of the segment and outselling its rivals from Fiat and the South Koreans. Production has ended for the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka and its sales are bound to continue to fall until the new generation arrives early next year.
The Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade are stable despite the increased competition and should be boosted once they become available as plug-in hybrids. The Hyundai Kona is unable to hold on to the top-10 position it held in Q1, despite a 22,5% take rate for the EV version. The Nissan Juke is surprisingly stable at -9% considering the model should have been renewed about 2 years ago, as the brand has completely spoiled its first-mover advantage in this hot segment. The Juke is now in danger of being outsold by the Mazda CX-3, which is up 13% so far this year. The Citroën C4 Cactus, Kia Stonic and Kia Niro outsold both these Japanese players in Q2. The latter has an impressive take rate of 40% for the EV and PHEV versions combined, which is just about evenly distributed between those versions. This also explains for the most part the model’s 39% gain so far this year.
The Volkswagen T-Cross was in 12th place in the second quarter with just over 25.000 sales. Whereas the T-Roc is slightly larger than the segment average, the T-Cross slots in slightly below, and if it’s successful enough others might follow suit, as Hyundai for example is already planning with the Venue. The Honda HR-V is losing touch with the midfield of the ranking as its sales are down 29%. The Suzuki Jimny on the other hand is up 39% thanks to the new generation. The MG ZS is up 65% and that’s before sales the EV version have started. That version will also become available in continental Europe as the MG brand is finally ready to expand its footprint.
2019 promises yet again a lot of product news, with new versions of the Captur, 2008 and Juke, and the launch of the Skoda Kamiq and Ford Puma. Kia will launch a third generation of the Soul, including an EV version again. Mitsubishi will give the ASX yet another facelift (its third), and the SsangYong Tivoli will be updated as well.
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