Europe SUV

Sammy Chan, Senior Analyst

03 March 2021

White Honda SUV parked in a desert at sunset

Passing on the torch

For the past ten years, the crown for the most popular vehicle segment in Europe has been fought between B- and C-sized conventional vehicles (hatchbacks, sedans and wagons). For the most part, sales in these segments have been driven by hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf, Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta. Nowadays, these models all have SUV counterparts such as the Volkswagen T-Roc and Renault Captur. The popularity of these more spacious, higher-riding models has resulted in a new contender for Europe’s most popular segment.

Our forecast sees C-SUVs becoming the most popular segment in Europe in 2021, outselling both B- and C-sized conventional cars for the first time. We expect the gap between the new leader and the chasing pack to increase thereafter, allowing C-SUVs to remain at the top of Europe’s bestseller chart throughout the next decade.

Several factors will be key in keeping the momentum behind C-SUVs. The shift towards electrification in the region has made it increasingly difficult for manufacturers to make profits from smaller vehicles. OEMs that predominantly sell smaller vehicles will therefore be striving to move sales towards the larger C segment. This looks to be a necessary strategy in order to increase profitability, though, for some, will come at the cost of reduced volume and market share.

This will lead to a plethora of model launches, including the latest trend of coupé SUVs, which will keep the number of C-SUV offerings far above the competition over the coming years.

(models with over 1,000 annual sales)