Ten of the 24 market segments tracked by Automotive News Europe had new leaders in the first half, a shake-up that was largely due to the arrival of new models such as the latest generations of the Audi A4, Ford S-Max and Mazda MX-5, according to data from UK-based market researcher JATO Dynamics.
The MX-5 rose to No. 1 in Europe's convertible and roadster segment, replacing the former leader, the Volkswagen Golf cabriolet, which slid to fourth place. Also making a strong showing in the segment was the new version of the open-top Smart ForTwo, which finished third in the segment.
The S-Max took control of Europe's large minivan segment, pushing ahead of the previous leader, the VW Sharan. The Sharan also faces a strong challenge for the No. 2 position in the class from the new Renault Espace, which ended the half roughly 800 sales behind the VW minivan. Strong demand for the new models boosted total volume in the large minivan segment by 53 percent, making it the fastest growing vehicle grouping in Europe (see table, below).