Sales of premium compact cars in Europe have slowed their growth in the first quarter of 2014, increasing just 6% which is less than the overall market at +7%. Despite big differences in volume increases or decreases, the top eight ranking is stable on the full year 2013. That means the Audi A3 is still firmly in the lead it took over from the BMW 1-series. In fact, the A3’s lead over the 1-series after just three months is already larger than it was over all twelve months last year.
The Mercedes A-Class and B-Class see the effect of the brand broadening its line-up, as the CLA four-door coupe and the GLA compact crossover undoubtedly cannibalize on their sales. Overall, sales of Mercedes-Benz’s 4-car compact car line-up have grown slightly, but that’s only because the GLA hasn’t started its deliveries until March.
After making an entrance with a bang into fifth place for its first full year on the market, the Volvo V40 seems to have stabilized on that level. It is in no way under threat of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta which won’t be replaced until 2016. The Lexus CT continues its sales slide, and expect the hybrid to be outsold by the full-electric (or optional plug-in hybrid) BMW i3.
With a 6-month waiting list and already 11.000 worldwide orders for the i3, BMW’s electric car is an instant hit. Unfortunately, production for this year is limited to only 10.000 units. BMW is surely able to sell more of them, but the production of carbon fiber keeps a lid on the number of i3’s that will be available.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
The premium small car segment continues its sales decline due to a lack of new models, down 6% again. But with the upcoming model changeover for the Mini hatchback, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the segment.
The Audi A1 has increased its share of the segment to almost 55%, thanks to a 9% sales growth while its competitors both see their sales decline.
Mini loses a quarter of its sales, while the model awaits the new generation which will hit showrooms in the second quarter, while the Alfa Romeo MiTo has managed to stabilize its decline, down just 42 units on the first three months of last year, compared to a loss of 29% over the full year 2013. In Alfa Romeo’s future product plans, there is no more room for a compact car, so the MiTo will be phased out at the end of its life cycle.
For comparison, the near-premium Citroën DS3 racked up 15.075 sales in the period, down 8% on last year, and closing in on Mini sales. DS3 sales are included in the Subcompact segment sales.
Alfa Romeo MiTo
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