Yesterday Hyundai announced that the Ioniq Hybrid will cost around $23,000 when it goes on sale in the US, which makes it some $2,000 cheaper than its main competitor, Toyota Prius. In addition, the Hyundai can claim to be considerably more efficient than the Toyota, at least on paper, promising 58 mpg combined to the latter’s 52 mpg. So far things look promising for the Hyundai, but can it really succeed where the likes of Honda Insight failed?
US car sales by segment
Sales of Alternative Power cars across all segments fell by 11.2 percent in 2016, making this the third year in a year of decline in a row. This means that, with 264,287 sales in 2016, the meta-segment is some 25 percent smaller than it was at its peak in 2013, though it is still more than twice as big as it was a decade ago. That said, prospects for cars with alternative power still look pretty bleak because cheap gas keeps luring people away from EVs, hybrids and more fuel-efficient cars in general into larger crossovers, SUVs and pick-up trucks. Not even the new Toyota Prius liftback, Chevrolet Volt or Tesla Model X seem to be able to stop that.
Sales in the Large Commercial Vans segment rose by 15.4 percent in 2016 to 377,971 vehicles, the highest level they have been in the past decade. While 2017 is unlikely to bring any big changes to the segment lineup, sales are likely to continue rising at the clear expense of the Small Commercial Vans segment, as long as gas prices don’t rise too quickly.
Sales in the Small Commercial Vans segment fell by 10.4 percent in 2016 to 84,408 vehicles, the first time that annual sales in the segments have declined since Ford Transit Connect kicked-off the segment as we know right now in 2009. Low fuel costs are holding back sales as American business generally prefer Large Commercial Vans or Pickup Trucks instead. With no likely new entrants in 2017, the segment’s fortune depends square on customers’ expectation of what gas prices will do in the near future.
Sales in the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 14.9 percent in 2016, a slightly slower pace of growth than for the Premium Compact SUV segment, but faster than the Premium Large SUV segment. Moreover, with total sales of 434,412 it came to within 3,000 units to outselling the Premium Mid-sized segment – it has increased its sales almost seven-fold over the past decade, while its non-SUV cousin segment lost almost 20 percent of sales over the same period. 2017 promises to be yet another good year for this segment, with the arrival of the new Audi Q5, BMW X3, as well as possibly the new Volvo XC60 and Infiniti QX50.… Continue Reading …
Sales in the Sports Large and Exotics segment fell by 10.4 percent in 2016 to 54,994, about a third lower than they were a decade ago. The segment’s prospects for 2017 are rather bleak: not only right now it seems that there will be no big new debuts in this segment in the coming year, the early indication is that customers are not very keen on the new, turbocharged iteration of one of the mainstays of the segment: Porsche 911.
Note: going forward, the segments Sports Large and Exotics have been merged, partly to align the US reporting with that for Europe, and partly because data for the old Exotic segment became very thin ever since sales estimates for the truly exotic brands (Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini) became unavailable.
Sales in the Small Premium Sports segment fell yet again in 2016, this time by 1.8 percent, making it one of the segments that have seen the most consecutive years of decline (others that share this dubious distinction are the Large and Alternative Power segments). All in all, the segment is only about half of the size it was a decade ago, when BMW Z4 on its own sold almost as many as the combined number of sales in the segment 2016. The prospects for this segment in 2017 now rest on the incoming BMW Z5 (returning to a soft-top setup), and how well the customers will take to the newly-facelifted Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman (now with the “718” prefix), and whether the new Audi TT can continue growing its sales.
Sales in the Small Sports segment fell by 6.5 percent in 2016 to 319,406 – a useful 40 percent higher than during the sector’s low in 2009, but still some 30 percent below where the segment was a decade ago. The decline is faster than for the Premium Small Sports segment, but almost identical to that for the Premium Large segment. The segment’s prospects don’t look that great for 2017, either: the big-selling new muscle-cars are losing customers (Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro), many of the models are getting on in age but are unlikely to be replaced anytime soon as manufacturers put their efforts and resources into SUVs (Dodge Challenger, Nissan 370Z, Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ), while the demise of the Scion brand will see the end of the well-selling Scion tC. Probably the only truly new model that will arrive in 2017 will be the new Toyota Supra, co-developed by the Japanese brand with BMW.
Sales in the Premium Large SUV segment rose by 8.7 percent in 2016 to 616,093, allowing the segment to retain a healthy margin ahead of the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment. The growth figure becomes an even-more-impressive 10.0 percent with the inclusion of the Tesla Model X, which is listed in the Alternative Power segment – impressive in this era of downsizing. The popularity of this segment is borne out in the sheer number of models offered by manufacturers: with a total of 25 models following the introduction of Maserati Levante and Bentley Bentayga, this segment is now one of the most populous. 2017 will see the introduction of the newest versions of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Porsche Cayenne, as well as the new Land Rover Discovery which should reintroduce the Discovery name in the US.
Sales in the Premium Compact SUV segment in the US rose by 24.2 percent in 2016 to 87,391, making it the fastest-growing from among all Premium SUV segments, and the second-fastest segment overall, after the Subcompact SUV segment. 2017 should continue this trend, with the arrival of the new Mini Countryman, the facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLA and, possibly, the baby brother to the Volvo XC90 (thought a 2018 on-market date seems more likely).… Continue Reading …