After an 8% decline in Q1 of 2019, sales of subcompact cars in Europe continue their decline in Q2 with a drop of 7%, to nearly 750.000 deliveries. In the first half of the year, Europe’s largest segment by volume accounts for 18% of the total market with sales down 7% on the same period in 2018. The Renault Clio takes firm control of the segment, outselling its nearest rival by almost 30.000 sales in Q2 and showing stable sales in the first half, leading to almost a full percentage point of additional share of the segment, to 12,3% (and even 13,3% in the second quarter). The Clio is enjoying a smooth changeover to the new generation which arrived in showrooms in Q2 while the outgoing model is still selling strong. Its rivals Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta are losing ground, with especially the latter falling behind quickly since its new generation was launched last year. The Fiesta was nearly outsold by the aging and soon-to-be-replaced Peugeot 208 in Q2 and all three sold fewer units than the surprise #3 of the segment in the second quarter: the Dacia Sandero. Despite being launched in 2012, the Sandero has managed to improve its sales every year since and its success is showing no signs of slowing down, with a 5% increase so far this year and adding nearly a percentage point of share, in the meantime passing hte Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and closing in on the 208 and Fiesta. Combined with the Zoe EV, the Nissan Micra and hte Renault Logan, the Renault-Nissan Group held a 28,3% share of the segment in the second quarter of 2019, compared to 23,4% for PSA and 19% for the VW Group.
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Just 10.000 sales separating the #3 and the #8 in this segment, and as you see there will be quite a few model changes this year, and the ranking is already proving quite volatile so far in 2019.The Toyota Yaris drops from #6 in Q1 to #8 after the second quarter as the Citroën C3 reclaimed its spot above the French-made Japanese hatchback. The VW Group siblings Skoda Fabia and Seat Ibiza are losing ground as their sales are compromised by their brands’ crossover launches, a similar fate that the Hyundai i20 is facing. The Nissan Micra‘s loss of nearly a quarter of its sales is more difficult to explain, as we’re also still waiting for the new Juke, which is arriving about 2 years to late. Perhaps the brand’s lack of new products overall and seemingly lost interest in the European market is hurting sales of even its relatively fresh models.
The best performing model in the top-15 is the Suzuki Swift with a gain of 26% in the first half, making its sibling model Baleno (-2% in 22nd place) even more redundant, even though the two models clearly cater to a different audience. The Ford Ka+ is being phased out again by the end of this year and sales are down 10% on the already unimpressive figures of last year. Biggest loser in the top-20 is the Fiat 500L with a loss of 28% in the first half, altough it’s still the best selling small MPV ahead of other big losers Honda Jazz, Hyundai ix20 and Kia Venga. The Renault Zoe is the big winner in the top-20 with a gain of 40%, placing it ahead of mainstream models like the Kia Rio (down 19%) and Mazda2 (up 11%), even though it is due for a replacement by the second generation. And with orderbooks already open for the Peugeot e-208 and Opel/Vauxhall Corsa-e, it will be an interesting battle to follow in the not so distant future. Still a niche player, but worth mentioning is the 44% increase in sales for the MG3, so far only available in the UK but on its way to its best year ever.
The new generation Clio is already in showrooms and dealers are taking orders for the new 208 and Corsa. We also expect the second gen Zoe this year, which will be much less revolutionary in terms of design than in terms of technology. The electric Honda E will be another rival for the Zoe, but we’re not sure if that will be in showrooms this year or next. We do expect a new Jazz this year, and the Mazda2 and the Rio are due to be updated.
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