Europe's small SUV/crossover segment is forecast to continue its rapid growth as models from latecomers such as Volkswagen, Hyundai and Kia expand the sector above 2 million sales in 2018 and to 2.3 million by 2020, according to predictions from market analysts at LMC Automotive.
The segment's volume rose 17 percent to more than 1.4 million sales last year, according to figures from JATO Dynamics. The surge was led by the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 and further propelled by strong year-on-year gains for the Fiat 500X, Suzuki Vitara, Ford EcoSport and Jeep Renegade.
As the segment matures and more automakers join, customers are becoming more demanding, Thierry Koskas, Renault's head of sales and marketing, told Automotive News Europe. Renault launched the face-lifted version of its segment-leading Captur at last month's Geneva auto show, focusing most of its attention on upgrading the SUV's interior. "The customers told us they wanted more refinement and technology inside, so we made our efforts there," Koskas said.