US car sales by segment

US sales Q3 2017: Large segment

Decline in the large segment slows as segment leaders enjoy a good Q3
US large segmentSales in the large car segment in the US fell by 6% in the third quarter, to a total of 291,456 units so far this year. The segments performance in the third quarter was not as bad as in the first two quarters of the year, when sales fell by 18%, and in fact was the second-best (least bad?) performance from among the mainstream segments, just behind the 2% sales fall of the compact segment. However, the prospects for the segment are still grim, among rumors circulating that Ford may abandon the market altogether and not replace the Taurus.… Continue Reading …

US sales Q3 2017: Mid-sized segment

Every mid-sized model bar the Subaru Outback has lost sales in 2017 so far


Sales of Mid-sized cars in the US fell by 10% in the third quarter of 2017: still in the double-digits, but less severe than the declines in the first and second quarters. This relative upturn is mostly due to the entry of the new Toyota Camry and Honda Accord into the market – it helps because customers are excited about the new model, but primarily because dealers want to empty their forecourts from the old model, and are offering bigger-than-before discounts. Still, with recent new models underperforming relative to their previous generations (Chevy MalibuHyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima), it remains to be seen if the new, bolder Toyota and Honda have what it takes to lure customers back into a segment that has become very unsexy over the past few years.

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US sales Q3 2017: Compact segment

Compact segment continues its slow declineUS-sales-compact_car-segment-2016-Chevrolet_Cruze-Honda_Civic-Nissan_Sentra-Hyundai_Elantra-Mazda3

The compact segment continued its slow decline, with sales falling by 2% in the third quarter of 2017. So far this year sales have declined by 3.4% to 1,709,103, which may not be great, but it has allowed the segment to open a commanding lead of almost 200,000 units compared to the mid-sized segment, with which it was pretty much even this time last year. While there aren’t any new models that will hit the market in the next half a year, the segment may yet bounce up as the period after that promises a lot of new metal: Ford Focus and VW Jetta are about to be replaced, while a new Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla are likely to be not far behind. In the meantime, there is a lot of excitement about the alternative power cars of compact size, with the new electric Chevrolet Bolt and the PHEV Toyota Prius Prime in particular starting to make a meaningful dent in the sales figures.

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US sales Q3 2017: Subcompact segment

All models in the Subcompact segment lose sales except for Toyota iA (néeScion)

Sales in the subcompact segment in the United States continued falling in the third quarter of 2017, dropping from just under half a million in 2016 to 376,213 in the first three quarters of 2017, which is less than the number of minivans sold over the same period. The decline has been pretty consistent so far this year, with the rate of decline ranging between 15% and 25% over the three quarters, and suggests customers are eschewing this segment in favor of subcompact SUVs. It will be interesting whether the new Ford FiestaHyundai Accent and Kia Rio will be able to turn this around once they hit the market, but given the disappointing performance of the new Honda Fit the signs are not very promising.

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US sales Q3 2017: Minicar segment

The collapse of the Minicar segment continues


After briefly returning to growth in the first quarter of 2017, the minicar segment in the United States fell back into the red in the second quarter of this year, and firmly remained there in the third quarter, even if the 36% fall in sales in Q3 was slightly less bad than the 47% drop recorded in Q2. All in all, sales in the minicar segment were only 63,023 over the first three quarters of 2017, down from 90,095 in 2016, which is roughly how many Toyota RAV4s are sold in a month and a half!

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US sales 2017 first half: Hybrids

Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles and the Plug-In Hybrid segments, let’s look at the final Alternative Power segment: regular hybrids. This segment is the most well-established of the three, with sales in the first half of 2017 almost twice as high as sales in the other two segments combined. As a result, the growth in the segment was not as high as for the other two, but 24.9% is nothing to be sneered at, as it was still higher than any non-Alternative Power segment bar the SUV Premium Compact segment. 

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US sales 2017 first half: Plug-in Hybrids

Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles segment, let’s look at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs for short. The segment enjoyed a growth rate of 61.6%, the highest of all segments, though its total sales remain below those of pure Electric Vehicles, at just over 40,000 in the first half of the year.

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US sales 2017 first half: Electric Vehicles

Sales of Alternative Power cars in the United States increased by a substantial 32.2%, a rate of expansion considerably faster than that of the second fastest-growing segment, SUV Premium Compact. Comprising of regular hybrid, PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and EV (electric vehicle) segments, Alternative Power cars ended the first half of 2017 with almost 260,000 cars sold, more than the Subcompact segment, and not far off the Minivan segment. For accounting purposes, keep in mind that we classify many of the Alternative Power cars in other segments too e.g. Toyota Prius liftback figures in the Compact segment, while Ford Fusion PHEV figures in the Mid-sized segment. At least part of the reason for this growth is that EVs and PHEVs continue to benefit from Federal and State rebates, which lower their price even before consumers consider the lower cost at the pumps/mains.

First, let us look at the EVs segment, which grew by 41.2% in the first half of 2017, to a total of 45,150 cars.

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US sales 2017 first half: Sports Large and Exotics segment

Lexus LC enjoys a strong market debut to rank fourth in Q2’17 standings, while Porsche 911 continues to lose salesUS large sportsSales of Large Sports Cars and Exotics fell by 2.6% in the second quarter of 2017, a slower pace of decline than the 10.4% registered in 2016, or the 5.5% registered in the first quarter of the year. Could this be a sign that the segment is going through a bit of a resurgence? As we previously mentioned, this segment had undergone a huge growth in years past, so the recent declines come from a heady height, and suggest the segment may simply be stabilizing at a sort of “good times” average size, before once again shrinking drastically when the next recession hits (such is the fate of a segment where most cars sell for well over $100,000).

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US sales 2017 first half: Mid-sized Sports segment

Ford Mustang keeps losing sales as Chevy Camaro rebounds

US Small Sports

Sales in the Mid-sized Sports segment fell by 14.5% so far in 2017, a reflection mainly on the dwindling popularity of the mighty Ford Mustang. However, while the headline figure is bad but not horrible, what should be more worrying is the fact that the segment has plenty of new cars such as Chevrolet Camaro, Audi TT, or the Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman twins, after an early rise their sales have all declined recently. What’s more, Dodge seems to be doing wonders with the Challenger, given how old that model is, but even that can’t last forever. 

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