Peugeot and Toyota are the latest automakers to commit to Europe's volume midsize segment despite forecasts showing customers will continue to move to SUVs, while Ford, once a dominant player, is not commenting on whether it will replace its Mondeo.
The segment is expected to decline to less than 400,000 annual sales by 2021 from just below 540,000 in 2017, according to estimates from LMC Automotive. The market will drop 10 percent this year after falling 12 percent in 2017, LMC forecasts.
Those numbers are a far cry from the mid-1990s when cars such as the Volkswagen Passat, Renault Laguna, Opel/Vauxhall Vectra and Ford Mondeo accounted for more than one in five sales in Europe.
In the first five months, the midsize segment totaled just 3.2 percent of sales across Europe, according to data from market analysts JATO Dynamics, making it the No. 9 segment. The small-car sector was No. 1, taking a 19 percent share of overall sales.
The Passat dominated the midsize segment through May with sales of 74,791, more than double the second-place Skoda Superb. The No. 3 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia is gaining ground fast, with sales up 49 percent, and looks set to overtake the Superb soon. Sales of the Ford Mondeo, meantime, sank 15 percent to 22,486. The new VW Arteon liftback moved into fifth place with 10,066.