End of the road

Sammy Chan, Analyst

15 November 2018

MAV Segment Decline

End of the road for MAVs in Europe?

With SUVs being the primary focus of OEM investment in new vehicle lines, other bodystyles – and potentially segments – that have fallen out of favour with buyers are having to fight for survival, none more so than Multi-Activity Vehicles (MAVs). While they share a number of characteristics with SUVs, they often struggle to compete with their more stylish SUV rivals and, of late, have found themselves in the firing line.

Over the last decade, at the height of its European success, the MAV segment held a 15% share of the overall Light Vehicle market, with its most popular model, the Renault Scenic, notching up sales of well over 300,000 units a year. Fast-forward to 2018, however, and segment share has dwindled to 6%, with only one model, the Volkswagen Touran, selling in excess of 100,000 units. In volume terms, having peaked at 2.4 million units in 2005, total segment volume has now tumbled to circa 1 million units.

“As we head into the next decade, this contraction is expected to continue. Indeed, numerous OEMs are in the process of abandoning the bodystyle altogether”

Despite a steady decline in sales since 2009, the number of MAV models on offer from automakers did not begin to fall until much later. The total model count hit a highpoint of 45 in 2010 and hovered around that level until as late as 2015. It is, of course, no coincidence that the SUV model count began to ramp up in 2014, just as the number of MAV variants was on the brink of diminishing.

MAV Segment in Decline

As we head into the next decade, this contraction is expected to continue. Indeed, numerous OEMs are in the process of abandoning the bodystyle altogether. By the end of 2018, both Opel and Toyota will be without a MAV offering in Europe. Hyundai and Kia will follow suit by 2020, with Fiat hot on their heels in 2021.

The Non-Premium MAV segment will be hardest hit by these imminent exits. By contrast, the prospects for the Premium MAV segment – led by the BMW 2 Series AT and Mercedes-Benz B-Class – look far less precarious. As we head into the next decade, Premium MAV share is fairly stable, whereas the contraction in Non-Premium MAV share is marked.

The real risk to the overall MAV market is that the remaining Non-Premium brands active in the segment begin to view new model development as a less lucrative proposition than investing in further SUV lines. If this trend were to gather momentum, the MAV segment would take an even bigger hit.