One boost may come from big changes in the minicar segment, which is increasingly moving to electric power as emissions regulations render it uncompetitive.
“An electric minicar is a lot more expensive than an internal combustion engine small car,” said Sammy Chan, senior analyst at LMC Automotive. “The shrinking choice of budget minicars may turn potential buyers to the next cheapest alternative” — small cars.
Price increases among small cars are also being driven by electrification. In the first quarter of this year 5.9 percent of all small car sales in Europe were full electric, led by the Renault Zoe, which entered the segment’s overall top 10 for the first time with sales of 20,477, an increase of 85 percent over the same period in 2019.
LMC forecasts that around 9 percent of small cars will be battery-electric by 2025.
PSA Group is joining Renault in offering full-electric small cars, with the Peugeot e-208 and sibling model Opel/Vauxhall Corsa-e launched with a 50 kilowatt-hour battery pack. The price is far above the normal small car range, at 29,900 euros for the Corsa-e compared with 13,990 euros for the entry-level Corsa.
But the timing may be right, particularly in PSA’s and Renault’s home country of France, where incentives starting June 1 to lift sales after the coronavirus slump favor electric vehicles, potentially cutting the price of a Renault Zoe from 32,000 euros to 20,000 euros if the buyer is scrapping an older diesel car. Germany is also expected to promote low-emissions vehicles in its own incentive plan.