European demand for SUVs and crossovers of any size and price showed no signs of slowing last year, which is why the models benefited disproportionately from the region's better-than-expected sales in 2016.
Combined sales of models that included the Renault Captur, Nissan Qashqai, BMW X1 and even the aging Volvo XC60 increased 22 percent to nearly 3.8 million units, according to data from JATO Dynamics. That rise easily outpaced the overall market's 6.5 percent increase to 15 million.
In addition, SUVs and crossovers accounted for a quarter of all European passenger vehicle sales last year, up from 21 percent in 2015.
While torrid demand for SUVs and crossovers has put increased pressure on minivans for years, the downward trend for people movers could be reversing because of the arrival of new products. Last year the new Ford S-Max and Galaxy helped the large minivan segment to rebound by a third, boosting the sector's sales above 200,000. The arrival of the new Renault Scenic could have a similar effect on the compact minivan segment, which declined 6.6 percent last year. The segment should also benefit from continued strong demand for the new Volkswagen Touran, which was up by 52 percent to 112,850 units in 2016.
SUVs and crossovers also continue to steal sales from hatchbacks, sedans and wagons.