LONDON -- Europe's compact minivan segment is forecast to continually decline until 2020 because of rising demand for SUVs and crossovers. The overall annual volume for models such as the Volkswagen Touran and Renault Scenic is expected to slip below 500,000 in 2020 from 644,300 last year, according to LMC Automotive, which also predicts flat sales of about 167,000 a year for premium models in the sector during the rest of the decade.
Last year, total sales in the segment dropped by 4.4 percent to 820,3000, with volume models decreasing almost 7 percent. Sales of premium compact minivans, led by BMW's 2-series Active and Grand Tourer, grew in 2016, but they lost ground in the first two months of this year, according to data from JATO Dynamics. Sales are on the decline because automakers are either replacing their compact minivans with SUVs or launching SUVs that offer much of the flexibility and practicality typically found in their minivans. "The popularity of the compact SUV is their main threat," JATO Dynamics global analyst Felipe Munoz said.