The compact segment in Europe as a whole saw a small decline of 3% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year. VW Golf remains the perennial leader by far, even increasing its market share because sales are up 2%. Ford Focus and Opel Astra complete the podium like last year, but Focus (-7%) has increased its lead over Astra (-16%) from 7.225 units last year to 21.603 this year. Astra suffers from outdated technology, with engines that lack fuel efficiency. Only 23% of Astra sales in its home market Germany were to private customers, compared to 31% and 34% for Golf and Focus respectively.
Below we see Skoda Octavia (-18%) pass Renault Megane (-26%), the former not yet fully taking advantage of its model change and the latter desperately longing for a refreshing. Toyota Auris sales are up 59% thanks to the introduction of the TS station wagon, the only hybrid station wagon on the market. As a result, Prius sales are down 31%. Peugeot 308 (-27%) will benefit from the new generation in showrooms now, it was down to 10th at the half-year mark, but already back up to 8th after three quarters. Look for it to pass Hyundai i30 (+5%) by the end of the year, and possibly also Toyota Auris to regain its traditional 6th place thanks to the very Golf-like design. Seat Leon (+41%), Honda Civic (+11%) and VW Beetle (+58%) are making inroads as well, thanks to their model changes. Look for Mazda3 (-18%) to undo some of the lost market share now that the new model is in showrooms around Europe.
Zooming in on the two new-in-2012 low-budget twins in the compact sedan segment, we see Skoda Rapid taking the crown with 24.349 sales ahead of its sister Seat Toledo with 10.828 sales. Read my article on the demise of Seat, where I touch on this subject as well. Meanwhile, their direct PSA-competitors lag behind, at 5.829 sales for Citroën C-Elysee and just 3.193 for Peugeot 301. These two were designed as low-budget vehicles for markets outside of Western Europe, but looking at the combined over 35.000 sales the VW-Group twins rack up, maybe PSA should change their mind about this. Renault had the same in mind when they reworked the Dacia brand, but currently they don’t regret introducing the brand in Western Europe as well.
At the bottom, we find a handful of superfluous models like Fiat Bravo, Mitsubishi Lancer and Subaru Impreza. Fiat Bravo sales outside of its home market are just 19% of its total sales, only 1.297 units, that’s 144 units per month in the whole of Europe outside of Italy.
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