The small crossover and SUV segment is the third largest segment in Europe, behind the subcompact and compact cars, and ahead of the compact crossovers. Sales were up 16% in 2019 to 2.4 million, which is 15.3% of the European car market and just a quarter million sales behind compact cars, which means small crossovers could become the second largest segment in Europe in 2020 if the current momentum is maintained, which is very likely to happen. Only one nameplate in the top-10 doesn’t set a new annual sales record and two of the top-4 models have just been renewed and a number of plug-in hybrid and EV versions will arrive in 2020. After the Dacia Duster surprisingly claimed the top spot after three quarters in 2019, the Renault Captur struck back in Q4 to reclaim the segment crown it has held ever since its first full year of sales 2014. The Captur appears unhindered by a model changeover in Q4 as sales of the outgoing generation have remained flat while the new model is responsible for the additional sales and will reach its full potential only in 2020. An optional plug-in hybrid version should help the segment leader defend its top spot even better this year.
Thanks to four consecutive annual sales records, the Duster finishes the year ahead of the Volkswagen T-Roc, both breaking the 200,000 sales barrier for the first time. The Peugeot 2008 is the only model in the top-10 to not set a new sales record as it is down 7% due to the changeover to the new generation. An EV version of the 2008 should offer some extra volume in 2020, giving the Peugeot a chance to return on the segment podium. The Ford EcoSport benefits from continuous small improvements to the initially somewhat underwhelming model and as a result has recorded higher sales every year since its launch in 2014. The Opel/Vauxhall Crossland X leapfrogs its platform sibling Citroën C3 Aircross despite the former’s arguably more awkward styling. The Seat Arona climbs to 8th place ahead of the Hyundai Kona, which enjoys a take rate of 22.7% for its EV version and another 23.5% for its hybrid version in Q4. The Volkswagen T-Cross lands at #10 with over 100,000 sales in its first year, taking 4th place in Q4, proving VW’s two-model-strategy is successful, no matter how confusing it is that the smaller T-Cross is actually roomier inside than the larger and more expensive T-Roc. Regardless, VW had a 15.1% share of the segment in Q4 and the VW Group had a 24.8% share in that last quarter, compared to 22% for Renault-Nissan and 18.9% for PSA. Hyundai has followed VW’s strategy with the upcoming Venue below the Kona and Ford has just launched the sportier Puma next to the EcoSport. Toyota has announced it is developing a Yaris-based crossover below the C-HR as well, as the brand is a notable laggard in this class. The C-HR is classified as a compact crossover because it is longer than the 4.35 meters we use as the cutoff. The Dacia Duster and Honda HR-V are the longest of the small crossover class and the BMW X2 and Seat Ateca are the shortest of the compact crossover class.
The Fiat 500X is down 6% but stays ahead of its platform sibling Jeep Renegade, both of which will get plug-in hybrid versions in 2020. The Suzuki Vitara is up 21% thanks to a facelift and also sets a new annual sales record. The Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X is being phased out, but a new generation based on PSA technology is planned. The Kia Stonic, Mazda CX-3 and Kia Niro all set new annual sales records in Europe, the latter with a take rate of 19% for the EV and 20.1% for the PHEV. The Citroën C4 Cactus is down 9% and the Nissan Juke sinks 31% just when the new generation is arriving in showrooms (way too late). The Mitsubishi ASX is down just 1% despite its advanced age and the half-baked facelift that’s supposed to hide this. The Honda HR-V is down 16% and below 1% share of the segment. The Suzuki Jimny enjoyed a nice uptick thanks to the new generation, but supplies will be limited in 2020 as the relatively inefficient 4×4 may hurt Suzuki’s average fleet emissions which could cost it dearly if they come in above 95 grams of CO2 per km. We welcome the Skoda Kamiq and Kia Xceed to the ranking, while the MG ZS is the most successful Chinese car ever in Europe with nearly 10,000 sales, thanks to expansion from just UK sales to continental Europe with the EV version. Another Chinese small crossover has arrived in Europe, with the Haval H2 launching in Italy in July and attracting 110 buyers.
In the luxury part of the segment, which accounts for 6.4% of total small crossover sales with three models, the Audi Q2 sees stable sales in 15th place overall, while the Mini Countryman is up 2% to an overall 19th place and the DS3 Crossback lands at #25 (22nd place in Q4) and its optional EV version should help the French crossover climb the ranking in 2020.
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