Europe: the largest auto segment ready for turnaround image

The continent’s biggest auto industry segment – the subcompact car segment – is predicted to resume growth in 2015, capturing 23 percent of the total European auto market after it hit last year a decade-low of 22.5 percent.

Analysts are still weary of the segment’s prospects of rise, forecasting that its record market share of 28 percent seen back in 2009 is a distant victory – with subcompact car sales favored back then by the governmental subsidies that favored the small cars. “The longer term weakness in share suggests that some customers are moving out of this category,” commented IHS analyst Ian Fletcher. “Perhaps the biggest factor is subcompact crossovers.” Last year, deliveries of small crossovers and sport utility vehicles jumped 54 percent to more than 761,000 vehicles. IHS believes the segment, currently headed by Renault’s Captur, is on its way to reach 1.3 million units at the start of the next decade and capture 9 percent of the overall European market. By 2020, traditional subcompact passenger cars are seen reaching 23.2 percent of the market.

Another impediment to subcompact growth is the overall improvement across the continent’s economies, with the increased consumer confidence allowing buyers to head up towards the bigger segments. After the first three months of the year, the segment is headed by Ford’s Fiesta with little over 88,000 units – rising 3.2 percent. It’s followed by the Renault Clio, up 7.4 percent from the first quarter of last year to 79,692 autos and the VW Polo, jumping 7.5 percent to 78,433 units, according to figures compiled by Jato Dynamics.

Via Automotive News Europe