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.

Also check out 2019 subcompact car sales in the US, where the Kia Soul and Nissan Versa stay ahead of the Ford Fiesta.

Subcompact segment 2019 2018 Change 2019 share 2018 share
1 Renault Clio 317.645 328.860 -3% 10,6% 10,4%
2 Volkswagen Polo 257.804 295.403 -13% 8,6% 9,3%
3 Ford Fiesta 228.959 270.931 -15% 7,7% 8,6%
4 Peugeot 208 224.848 230.107 -2% 7,5% 7,3%
5 Dacia Sandero 223.186 211.680 5% 7,5% 6,7%
6 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa 221.630 216.267 2% 7,4% 6,8%
7 Toyota Yaris 211.216 215.968 -2% 7,1% 6,8%
8 Citroën C3 210.465 208.941 1% 7,0% 6,6%
9 Skoda Fabia 155.136 166.522 -7% 5,2% 5,3%
10 Mini 134.594 135.307 -1% 4,5% 4,3%
11 Seat Ibiza 99.647 102.695 -3% 3,3% 3,2%
12 Hyundai i20 84.218 91.272 -8% 2,8% 2,9%
13 Audi A1 77.868 72.634 7% 2,6% 2,3%
14 Nissan Micra 65.240 77.815 -16% 2,2% 2,5%
15 Dacia Logan 61.304 62.511 -2% 2,1% 2,0%
16 Suzuki Swift 59.875 55.654 8% 2,0% 1,8%
17 Lancia Ypsilon 58.820 48.603 21% 2,0% 1,5%
18 Ford Ka+ 51.482 51.057 1% 1,7% 1,6%
19 Renault Zoe 45.129 37.782 19% 1,5% 1,2%
20 Kia Rio 39.721 45.654 -13% 1,3% 1,4%
21 Mazda2 37.346 32.426 15% 1,3% 1,0%
22 Fiat 500L 36.495 50.224 -27% 1,2% 1,6%
23 Honda Jazz 30.730 37.894 -19% 1,0% 1,2%
24 Hyundai ix20 16.893 22.594 -25% 0,6% 0,7%
25 Suzuki Baleno 14.429 15.530 -7% 0,5% 0,5%
26 Kia Venga 9.602 17.328 -45% 0,3% 0,5%
27 DS3 6.492 17.810 -64% 0,2% 0,6%
28 MG3 3.820 2.692 42% 0,1% 0,1%
29 Alfa Romeo MiTo 669 9.198 -93% 0,0% 0,3%
30 Fiat Punto 480 29.442 -98% 0,0% 0,9%
31 Lada Granta 39 232 -83% 0,0% 0,0%
Segment total 2.985.782 3.161.033 -6%

Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2019 and monthly sales from 2016 to 2020, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site.

Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.

  1. Brilliant ‘performance’ by the Sandero in 2019. The Duster did just as well.
    .
    As to the 208: Super start of 2020 in France: #1 with 9.000 units, much more than the (presumably better allrounder) Clio at #2 with <6.000 units.

    Biggest surprise at #3: The Zoe with 5.300 units!

  2. Remarkable resilience of the Citroen C3. Despite it’s cheerful looks (lamented / ridiculed by the ultra serious NW Europeans / Germany Rulez brigade) and 4 years on da market it overcame the onslaught of newcomers such as the dull Polo, slightly overrated but nimble Fiesta and the Korean & Japanse competition. C3 facelift due soon.

  3. Clio solid as a rock. Clearly not affected by the changeover. Mini-wave for the C3 as well! Citroen is one of my favourite brands, because they’re creating cars based on their own philosophy to attract people instead of building mainstream cars not to offend the majority. Great to see a unique and well-thought-out voiture like the C3 being able to improve over the years. Très bien!
    .
    Subcompact cars are the most popular in Europe. It’s surprising to see only a small number of luxury cars competing in this segment considering luxury brands have taken over lots of other segments. Probably a low margin issue, but I think offering a small luxury car can be profitable in the long run, because customers might choose a more expensive family member when buying their next car. Doing it ‘Alfa style’ is not advisable.

    1. The Clio scores victory after victory in ….. believe it or not cuz these countries are totally German centric …. the British and German press. The Polo was beaten fair and square in Germany’s leading automotive site Auto Motor und Sport, the Fiesta in a.o. Car Mag, AE and AC.
      .
      Biggest compliment is that the Clio scores well on all criteria. In other words, the best B segment allrounder money can buy.
      .
      Special remark was for the mighty Peugeot 208 braking power. Standstill 100 km in 33 meters is sports car level.

  4. I loved your blog and thanks for publishing this about European sales 2019 subcompact cars! I am really happy to come across this exceptionally well written content. Thanks for sharing and look for more in future!! Keep doing this inspirational work and share with us.

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