Small SUVs The Lone Bright Spot In Europe

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
small suvs the lone bright spot in europe

An invasive species originating in North America is threatening the native fauna of Europe in a big way. Small crossovers, largely based on B and C segment hatchbacks, are one of the few growth segments in Europe’s ailing auto industry, so much so that they could even help reverse the fortunes of a couple ailing auto makers.

Peugeot and Renault, two car makers that have struggled in recent years, are expected to post big sales volumes of their upcoming small crossovers. One forecasting house predicts that the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 will even bump the current segment leader, the Nissan Juke, down to third place. Meanwhile, Ford is counting on the upcoming EcoSport for both volume and margin, thanks to its assembly in India.

By 2016, the segment is set to grow to 550,000 vehicles, up from just under 300,000 in 2012. The vehicles will be very profitable for auto makers, as they can charge a $3,900 premium on average for a car that uses the same basic B or C segment underpinnings. Furthermore, traditional market leaders like VW, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai are largely devoid of any product in these segments, giving PSA, Renault, Ford and even GM a wide berth to capture market share in this segment.

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  • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Mar 07, 2013

    What have I been saying on the recent EcoSport, Cherokee articles? Thanks Derek.

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    • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Mar 07, 2013

      @Derek Kreindler Hey Derek, It's an idea. Let's see if I can come up with something. Maybe send me an e-mail detailing some of the stuff you think could be talking points and I'd work around that.

  • K9H20 K9H20 on Mar 07, 2013

    I wonder if the rise of compact SUVs has anything to do with the deterioration of roads due to broke governments and municipalities. I definitely prefer the floaty feel of my wife's CUV to my compact car over the crap roads where I live.

    • CJinSD CJinSD on Mar 07, 2013

      Excellent point. The roads are so bad here in San Diego that I'd be worried about getting complacent driving something that floats too serenely. The 'dips' at intersections are more like slightly rounded off trenches. I rearranged the nose of a Lincoln Town Car by going through an unlabeled one at about 25 mph, causing the car to porpoise so violently that the interior received a Diet Coke volcanic shower. With traffic so bottled up by conscious efforts of the government and unmaintained roads, a CUV becomes the perfect commuter car. It isn't like there are opportunities to use the performance of a sports car, and the roads have a way of ruining the underbody aerodynamic doohickeys of the fuel economy specials.

  • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Mar 07, 2013

    Shame the Captur has to be a Clio on stilts in order to sell. The new Clio looks so good, as does the Clio wagon. Very, very nice. Shame they're so expensive that the Dacia range will outsell it. If Renault could figure out how to lower the Clio's initial price, or put some of its interior and exterior goodness on to the Dacia, then we'd really be talking. As is the Captur will outsell the wagon, though for reasons of costs it probably won't outsell the Clio hatch. But maybe it'll sell some Clios for them. BTW, love that Alpine blue. Almost got a Clio in that color (or something very similar to it). Somebody got it first and I had to settle with another car.

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    • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Mar 08, 2013

      @Athos Nobile Hola Athos! I'm not saying it can either. All I'm saying is that the Renaults appeal to the imagination and the Dacia mainly to your wallet. Maybe some of the more emotional aspects of Renault's new design could pass on to the Dacia. I also worry that the Captur sucess will somehow permit Renault to lose focus on the Clio, like not doing hot Clios and such. That'd be a shame.

  • Darex Darex on Mar 08, 2013

    I though the Renault Captur was just a Nissan Juke reskinned? If so, it'll be a win-win for Nissan-Renault.