Sales of subcompact cars, Europe’s largest segment by volume, are down 6% in 2019 to drop below 3 million, which means the segment now makes up 19.1% of the European car market, down from 20.4% in 2018. The Renault Clio remains the best seller of the class despite its changeover from the fourth to the fifth generation as full-year deliveries of the two generations combined are virtually unaffected with just a 3% decline, while its nearest two rivals Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta are both down by double digits. The Peugeot 208 was also renewed in 2019 and like the Clio keeps its sales relatively stable at -2%. The 208 was the #3 best seller of the segment in Q4, indicating 2020 might offer an interesting battle for the podium, especially with the new generations of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and Toyota Yaris also in showrooms. The Corsa was in third place after the first three quarters, but its model changeover has hurt in in Q4 which has dropped it to #6 for the full year, just behind the Dacia Sandero which sets yet another annual sales record in Europe, its 6th consecutive record year in a streak of 8 years of annual gains, which have taken the model from 71,600 sales in 2011 to 223,100 sales in 2019. Including the Logan sedan, Dacia holds the #2 spot of the segment with 284,400 sales.
The Citroën C3 also improves by just 1% which marks the third consecutive year above 200,000 sales for the model, every year since the launch of the current generation. The Skoda Fabia is down 7% and its sister model Seat Ibiza loses 3% and drops below 100,000 sales, while the Hyundai i20 is down 8% as the new generation will be launched later in 2020. The Nissan Micra is struggling with sales down 16% while the Suzuki Swift is up 8%. The Ford Ka+ and Renault Zoe set new annual sales records in Europe, and for the latter this is even despite the brand holding back deliveries of the new generation until 2020 for maximum effect on the new emissions quota this year. Expect a bump in deliveries for the Zoe in Q1 as the backlog of deliveries will clear up, and despite the arrival of the e-208 and Corsa e. The Kia Rio is down 13% and feels the Mazda2 breathing down its neck thanks to a 15% growth rate. The Fiat 500L continues to sink and so do the Honda Jazz and Hyundai ix20. The Jazz will be replaced in 2020 while the ix20 is being discontinued, and so are the Suzuki Baleno and Kia Venga. The MG3 sets a new annual sales record with over 3.800 deliveries in the UK.
In the luxury part of the segment, which accounts for 9.3% of sales, the Mini stays firmly in control, taking a 10th place overall. The Audi A1 is back up 7% thanks to the new generation, but is still below the steady level of the first generation at between 90,000 and 100,000 annual sales. The Lancia Ypsilon is back up 21% after hitting rock bottom in 2018, while the DS3 and Alfa Romeo MiTo are being phased out.
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