After a stable 2018, sales of subcompact cars in Europe declined by 8% in Q1 of 2019, to 749.634 deliveries. Europe’s largest segment by volume now accounts for 18,4% of the total market. The Renault Clio holds on to its top spot despite being replaced by a new generation this year while its closest two rivals have already been updated recently. The French hatchback (and station wagon) delivers 2% fewer vehicles this year, which enables it to keep a significant distance to the #2Volkswagen Polo while clearly distancing the former segment leader Ford Fiesta, which is down 24% as the new generation celebrates its first birthday. The Fiesta is now nearly outsold by the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa which is also due for a redesign this year but manages a 12% improvement, probably thanks to discounts and rental company sales. The car on which the next generation Corsa will be based, the Peugeot 208, is down 11% as it too will be replaced this year. There are less than 5.000 sales separating the #3 and the #7 in this segment, and as you see there will be quite a few model changes this year, so it promises to be a volatile ranking in 2019. The Toyota Yaris has improved every year for the past five years and shows no sign of ending that streak in 2019 with a 3% gain in the first quarter, which means it actually gains 0,8 percentage points of share of the segment. The Citroën C3 also continues to improve with a 2% gain on the first quarter of last year.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off
Speaking of models that manage to continuously improve, the Dacia Sandero, fresh on the back of a 7-year winning streak, looks set for yet another gain in the books with 8% growth in Q1 and more than 1 percentage point of share gained. It is followed by four models with double digit declines: the Skoda Fabia and Seat Ibiza, models which are still relatively fresh but whose brands have also recently launched small crossovers that may cannibalize their hatchback offerings. The Hyundai i20 also loses ground and still doesn’t manage to enter the top-10 but it does pass the Nissan Micra, the biggest loser in the top-20. Its hard to understand Nissan’s decision to invest its resources in developing a new Micra instead of a timely replacement to the once-popular Juke. The Micra hasn’t hit 85.000 sales in the last decade, while the Juke topped 100.000 sales for four years and that segment as a whole is still one of the fastest growing in Europe. The Suzuki Swift is the biggest gainer in the top-25 with a 40% increase in sales, allosing it to move ahead of the Ford Ka+. The Renault Zoe also continues to outperform the segment and is closing in on a mainstream position. It will be interesting to see how the arrival of the Peugeot e-208 will affect the Zoe.
We’ve stopped separate reporting of the small MPV segment as just four players remained in that class, so we’ve combined them with the subcompact cars. The Fiat 500L is still the best seller among small MPVs but loses a third of its sales and ranks 17th in this class. The Kia Rio seems affected by the launch of the Stonic and the Honda Jazz is due for a redesign soon. Biggest gainer in the segment is the MG3, still only available in the UK but enjoying increasing popularity now that the MG brand has been put on the map thanks to the ZS crossover.
We expect the new generation Clio and the second generation Zoe this year, as well as the new 208 and its electric version. As mentioned above, the new Corsa will also arrive on that same platform and will eventually also have an EV version. 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.
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