Ford Fiesta hatchback
Peugeot e-208 hatchback

The B-segment is the second smallest of the European segments for passenger cars between the A-segment and C-segment, and commonly described as "small cars".[1][2][3] The B-segment is the largest segment in Europe by volume, accounting for 20 percent of total car sales in 2020 according to JATO Dynamics.[4][5][6]

Definition

The European segments are not based on size or weight criteria.[2] In practice, B-segment cars have been described as having a length of approximately from 3.7 metres (145.7 in) up to 4.2 metres (165.4 in), and may vary depending on the body styles, markets, and era.[7][8][9] In some cases, the same car may be differently positioned depending on the market.[8]

The Euro NCAP vehicle class called "Supermini" also includes smaller A-segment cars alongside B-segment cars.[10]

In Britain, the term "supermini" is more widely used for B-segment hatchbacks.[11] The term was developed in the 1970s as an informal categorisation,[12] and by 1977 was used regularly by the British newspaper The Times.[13] By the mid-1980s, it had widespread use in Britain.[14][15][16]

In Germany, the term "small cars" (German: Kleinwagen) has been endorsed by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt [de], KBA) equivalent to the B-segment.[17][18] The segment accounts for 15.1 percent of total car registrations in the country in 2020.[19]

History

The Fiat 127 has been regarded as the pioneer of supermini, predating the "B-segment" term.
1990–1998 Renault Clio I

The term supermini, which precedes the B-segment term emerged in the UK in the 1970s, as car manufacturers sought a new design to surpass the influential Mini, launched in 1959, and journalists attempted to categorise such a vehicle.[20][21] The car which is widely regarded as the first modern supermini is the Fiat 127, launched in 1971.[22][23][24] This was initially sold only as a two-door saloon, but it became available as a three-door hatchback the following year and within a few more years the hatchback version had eclipsed the saloon from which it was derived.[25] The Fiat 127 was followed by the Renault 5, VW Polo and Honda Civic, which are similar in concept and size.

These supermini or B-segment cars were considered to feature better comfort and convenience, with the safety and surefootedness of the Mini’s front-wheel drive/transverse engine package. That meant the addition of a hatchback and folding rear seats. The oil crisis in the 1970s was also argued to increase supermini market share.[8]

In 1976, Ford launched the Ford Fiesta which became popular.[26][27] The segment began to be more popular in the 1980s.[26] By the mid-1980s, the term supermini had become established as a formal car classification term,[28] eventually being adopted in European Commission classification as the B-segment.[2]

The 1990 Renault Clio and 1983 Fiat Uno were significant models in the supermini or the B-segment, being the recipients of the European Car of the Year award.[29][30] The Clio replaced the long-running Renault 5, although the latter remained in production until 1996.[31] In 1993, the Nissan Micra (K11), became the first Japanese car company to be receive the European Car of the Year award.[32] In 1999, the Toyota Yaris received the European Car of the Year award, and was noted for its high roof which allowed for improved interior space.[33] Another notable model is the Opel Corsa, which was the best-selling car in the world in the year 1998 thanks to its extensive international presence. It recorded a global sales of 910,839 units that year, in which 54 percent was contributed by its European sales.[34] It took the world number one spot from the Toyota Corolla at 906,953 sales.[35]

Safety and performance

Safety features have improved for the cars in the segment. In 1995, both petrol and diesel B-segment vehicles had only around 40 percent of the listed safety options installed (side impact bars, driver/passenger airbag, side airbag, ABS, electronic braking system, stability control), whereas by 2010 they were averaging over 90 percent. This represents a significant improvement in vehicle safety over the period, despite petrol and diesel B-segment vehicles averaging an inflation-adjusted price increase of 6 percent and 15 percent respectively.[36]

Studies from the European Union and JATO has found that the average maximum power output of B-segment vehicles has increased by 40 percent between 1995 and 2010, while the average overall vehicle weight only increased by around 20 percent in the same period. Fuel consumption has decreased by around 20 percent, and power-to-weight ratio has increased by 15 percent.[37]

Body styles

Hatchbacks are the most popular body style for the segment.[38] While the majority are equipped with five doors, many European-oriented hatchbacks are offered with both three-door and five-door versions, with 31 percent of European customers opting for three-door B-segment hatchbacks by 2007. This share decreased to 13 percent in 2016 due to shifts in market preferences, moving towards usability and practicality.[39] As a result, by the late 2010s, a number of manufacturers had stopped offering three-door versions of its B-segment hatchback models in Europe.[40]

Other less common body styles currently available in the segment in Europe are saloons (example: Dacia Logan), estates (example: Dacia Logan MCV and Škoda Fabia Combi[41]), and coupes/convertibles (example: Mini Cooper Cabrio/Convertible).[38]

Sales

European sales of B-segment cars were down by 25 percent in 2020 to 2.24 million units.

In 2020 the fifteen highest selling B-segment cars in Europe were the Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Polo, Dacia Sandero, Ford Fiesta, Citroën C3, Mini, Renault Zoe, Skoda Fabia, Hyundai i20, Seat Ibiza, Audi A1 and Suzuki Swift. [42]

200,000 - 300,000 sales (Best-Selling)

100,000 - 200,000 sales

50,000 - 100,000 sales

Sales figures in Europe

2020

rank

Brand Model 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 % change

(2019-2020)

1 Renault Clio 283,749 299,623 303,240 310,944 321,472 328,860 317,645 248,602 Decrease -22%
2 Peugeot 208 237,266 214,547 228,088 247,379 242,589 230,107 224,848 199,316 Decrease -11%
3 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa 240,005 250,342 268,846 262,939 231,434 216,267 221,630 198,887 Decrease -10%
4 Toyota Yaris 163,326 169,016 182,407 192,005 198,578 215,968 211,216 179,867 Decrease -15%
5 Volkswagen Polo 264,763 279,463 301,462 307,462 271,369 295,403 257,804 169,467 Decrease -34%
6 Dacia Sandero 121,169 138,709 147,497 167,766 194,996 211,680 223,186 167,032 Decrease -25%
7 Ford Fiesta 292,715 308,345 313,610 298,999 255,602 270,931 228,959 156,067 Decrease -32%
8 Citroën C3 113,625 129,612 123,443 133,566 205,272 208,941 210,465 149,284 Decrease -29%
9 Mini Mini Hatch x x x x x x 134,594 110,664 Decrease -18%
10 Renault Zoe 8,774 11,090 18,469 21,240 30,134 37,782 45,129 99,432 Increase +120%
11 Škoda Fabia 125,687 116,337 159,927 175,264 177,116 166,522 155,136 97,906 Decrease -37%
12 Hyundai i20 82,139 83,903 91,758 98,956 100,571 91,272 84,218 63,301 Decrease -25%
13 SEAT Ibiza 110,413 112,928 118,055 120,465 117,780 102,695 99,647 62,832 Decrease -37%
14 Audi A1 x x x x x x 77,868 58,224 Decrease -25%
15 Suzuki Swift 51,878 49,854 54,442 44,378 38,576 55,654 59,875 51,134 Decrease -15%
16 Lancia Ypsilon x x x x x x 58,820 43,076 Decrease -27%
17 Nissan Micra 48,088 60,318 66,147 60,212 86,489 77,815 65,240 39,721 Decrease -39%
18 Dacia Logan 27,656 54,549 56,144 51,055 54,029 62,511 61,304 38,408 Decrease -37%
19 Kia Rio 58,041 58,425 63,930 67,622 70,309 45,654 39,721 33,052 Decrease -17%
20 Honda Jazz 42,548 37,645 30,510 37,005 34,898 37,894 30,730 25,182 Decrease -18%
21 Fiat 500L - - - - - 50,224 36,495 21,883 Decrease -40%
22 Mazda Mazda2 23,604 24,289 35,478 36,463 31,703 32,426 37,346 16,402 Decrease -56%
23 Honda Honda e - - - - - - 0 4,028 New
24 MG MG 3 209 1,628 2,603 3,243 3,093 2,692 3,820 2,547 Decrease -33%
25 Suzuki Baleno - - - 14,521 18,518 15,530 14,429 2,296 Decrease -84%
26 Hyundai ix20 - - - - - 16,893 726 Decrease -96%
27 Kia Venga - - - - - 9,602 98 Decrease -99%
28 Ford Ka+ - - - 10,588 51,277 51,057 51,482 66 Decrease -100%
29 Fiat Punto 104,000 86,955 79,202 62,654 49,688 29,442 480 27 Decrease -94%
30 DS Automobiles DS 3 65,454 53,074 x x x x 6,492 12 Decrease -100%
31 Alfa Romeo MiTo x x x x x x 669 0 Decrease -100%
32 Lada Kalina - - - 1,048 653 341 120 0 Decrease -100%
33 Lada Granta - - - 616 998 380 39 0 Decrease -100%
34 Nissan Note - - - - - - 9 0 Decrease -100%
35 Ford B-Max - - - - - - 3 0 Decrease -100%
Peugeot 207 49,865 16,110 1,401 21 2 10 - -
Chevrolet Aveo 22,686 3,774 140 37 3 0 - -
Mitsubishi Colt 7,825 222 19 1 1 3 - -
Peugeot 206 2,462 43 - - - - - -
Toyota Urban Cruiser 1,257 355 24 - - - - -
Renault Symbol/Thalia 1,056 5 - - - - - -
Mainstream 2,498,729 2,563,363 2,646,842 2,724,785 2,787,150 2,787,837
Premium 208,659 207,599 287,754 284,475 320,699 283,695
Segment

total

2,985,782 2,239,539 Decrease -25%
Source [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50]

Notes:

Jump in total sales after 2019 year is because premium cars are included.

From 2013 to 2018 premium cars are not included in total sales (sales are marked by "x").

Premium brands and models are marked italic.

Electric cars are included in B-segment.

Electric vehicles

The Renault Zoe is one of the first mass-market B-segment electric car in Europe.[51]

One of the first mass-market electric B-segment cars in Europe was the Renault Zoe, released in 2012. Global sales of the Zoe achieved the 50,000 unit milestone in June 2016,[52] and 200,000 units by March 2020.[53][54] Other manufacturers followed suit; Groupe PSA introduced the Peugeot e-208 and Opel Corsa-e in 2019,[55] while Honda followed with the low-volume Honda e,[56] and Mini with their Mini Electric.[57]

Equivalents

The B-segment is considered as the European equivalent to the subcompact category widely known in North America, the A0-class in China, and the supermini category for B-segment hatchbacks in Great Britain.[58][7][59]

List of vehicles

Category:Subcompact cars ( 296 )

See also

References

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