Europe: booming SUVs pressure minivans and exotic segments

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After the first six months sales in Europe have been thoroughly analyzed, a clear trend is starting to form shape: hot demand for SUVs and crossovers is creating additional pressure on minivans and some exotic segments, such as convertibles. During the first six months of the year on the European continent the total deliveries of minivans dropped 13 percent to 582,000 autos from 657,000 during the same period of 2014. Models such as the Opel Meriva, VW Touran and Citroen C3 Picasso were former best-sellers that registered major drops in demand. At the other end of the spectrum, deliveries of sport utility vehicles and crossovers – including the top selling Renault Captur, Nissan Qashqai or the premium Audi Q3 – jumped 18 percent during the first six months to around 1.6 million vehicles. During the first half of the year the market share in Europe for SUVs and crossovers soared to 21 percent from 20 percent in 2014 and 17 percent two years ago. Another sign of the sector’s strength is that, judging from data from JATO Dynamics, all five SUV/crossover segments surged faster than the overall auto market. One crucial detail about how consumer tastes evolve can be seen at Renault – creator of the minivan segment on the Old Continent – the French automaker has decided to give up the small minivan segment in favor of the subcompact SUV/crossover niche. Instead of delivering a follow-up to the Modus, a not so great performer in the subcompact minivan sector, Renault instead offered the Captur, which quickly rose to the top spot for its crossover class. “My view is that the market is changing because of changing customer tastes and automakers have to adapt,” comments Renault Chief Competitive Officer Thierry Bollore. Via Automotive News Europe