Sales in the premium mid-sized segment fell by 20% compared to Q1 2015, worse than any of the other premium segments; in fact, from among all mainstream segments only the minicar segment did worse this quarter. Things may pick up a bit once the new Audi A4 hits its stride, and the Jaguar XE hits the dealerships, but overall 2016 could prove to be quite a dark period for the premium mid-sized segment. [Read more…]
Sales in the premium compact segment rose by 2% compared to 2014, a considerably lower growth rate than the 30% rate it experienced in 2015. However, this performance was better than seems at first. First, the growth rate last year was driven by introduction of the Audi A3 sedan and the new BMW 2-series, while so far this year there have not been any developments in the four-strong segment. As such, the growth rate pretty much equalled the 3% rate for the industry as a whole, a decent performance for a “stable” segment. Second, the premium compact was the only premium segment to grow in Q1 2016, with the other three segments shrinking between 10% and 20%. It would be interesting to see how consumers would have taken to the V40, had Volvo decided to introduce it in the US, though that probably won’t happen until the next generation debuts, possibly reverting back to its original sedan form.
Sales in the minivan segment grew by 30%, an unexpected performance for a segment that struggled throughout 2015, when sales fell by 8%. Interestingly, the upswing in sales is not thanks to the eagerly-anticipated new Chrysler Pacifica, which has not gone on sale yet, but rather due to the sell-off of its ancient predecessors: the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. It will be interesting to see whether these models will continue gaining sales once the Pacifica hits the market.
Sales in the large segment rose by 14% compared to Q1 2015, a considerably better performance than over the course of 2015, when sales fell by 12% overall. This makes the segment one of only two mainstream segments that grew over the course of the last year, with sales growth behind only the minivan segment. What’s more, the growth is not based on the success of one or two new models, but rather sales growth among most models. 2016 promises some new metal in the form of the new Kia Cadenza and, eventually, a new Buick LaCrosse, though there is no indication that the quickly-aging FCA twins, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, will be replaced anytime soon. [Read more…]
Sales in the mid-sized segment fell by 3% compared to Q1 2015, pushing this once-largest segment further behind compact SUV cars as families’ wheels of choice. That said, it did better than the smaller mainstream segments, again showing how cheap gas is pushing consumers to buy larger cars. The good times are likely to continue rolling for the segment, too, as sales of the new-for-2016 Chevy Malibu and Kia Optima come fully on-stream, while brings the facelifted Ford Fusion to market. [Read more…]
Ever since its design renaissance in the 1990s we’ve gotten used to other carmakers copying Audi’s design ideas, be it the TT’s roofline, the shield grille or LED running lights. Of course, recently it seems that the list of carmakers copying Audi has grown through the addition of… Audi, as the company seems intent to take the “one sausage, different lengths” to new heights, challenged only by Mercedes-Benz. But recently I noticed that the new Audi A4 Allroad is itself very similar to a model from another carmaker…
Sales in the compact segment fell by 6% compared to Q1 2015, the second-worst performance from among all mainstream segments, better only than the minicar segment. While one could be inclined to continue the narrative that it’s the low gas prices that are driving consumers to the segment above, my feeling is that few consumers are abandoning compact cars from mid-sized ones for economy reasons. Rather, the compact segment is full of aging cars that are nearing their retirement, with only the hot (sales-wise) new Honda Civic, refreshed Nissan Sentra and niche Scion iM providing any new blood. But, unlike for the subcompact segment there is hope on the horizon in the form of a refreshed Toyota Corolla, as well as a new Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Subaru Impreza.
The subcompact segment shrank by 4% compared to Q1 2015, not a great performance but considerably better than the minicar segment, which shrank by 28%, and even slightly better than the compact segment, which shrank by 6%. What the subcompact segment is still lacking in popular new metal: the cars that are popular are getting long in the tooth (Kia Soul, Hyundai Accent, Chevy Sonic), while the new cars are not selling in large volumes (Scion iA and Honda Fit, plagued by supply shortages). What’s more, there are no new cars on the immediate horizon, so it seems that the segment will have to wait until 2017 at the earliest to truly rebound when the new Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio should come to market. [Read more…]
What a difference a year makes! 2015 started off very well for the Minicar segment, with a 19% growth recorded in Q1, but 2016 could not be more different: sales were 28% lower in Q1 2016 than a year prior, the biggest fall from among all segments! The reason for this is very clear: continuing low gas prices encourages people to buy larger, less fuel-efficient cars. With only one new car (Chevy Spark) and one facelifted car (Mitsubishi Mirage) hitting the market this year, it’s hard to see how things could get better anytime soon for the struggling segment.
After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for March, let’s zoom in on the models. There are a few changes in the top 10, the most notable being that the Honda Civic overtook its arch-rival Toyota Corolla, hit a new sales record (as did its CR-V cousin) and is now the best-selling compact car of 2016 so far. The refreshed Nissan Altima is also picking up steam, and with a 8.9% gain in sales compared to March ’15 it closed to within 2,000 units of the segment leader, the Toyota Camry. And at the same time the Honda Accord managed to stay ahead of the Ford Fusion for yet another month, suggesting that Ford better hurry up with bringing the facelifted Fusion to market.