Sales in the Premium Compact segment are the fastest declining segment in the US car market, as sales are down 27% in the first quarter of 2017, following a 19.5% decline in the second half of 2016. Five out of the segment’s eight models show double digit declines, of which the entire top-4. The only way to give this segment some positive news is that it would be down by “just” 2.8% if we considered the Infiniti QX30 to belong here as well. The Qx30 is marketed as a crossover, while in fact it’s really just a hatchback. Then again, following the same reasoning the Mercedes-Benz GLA should be classified as a hatchback as well, so we’re not sure how to classify it. We’re interested in what our readers have to say about this matter. In Europe, it is sold under two different names for both segment: the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover, even though the only distinction between the two is the higher ground clearance of the latter. In the US, the Q30 is sold as the QX30 Sport, but Infiniti does not specify the take rate on that version, which would have made things a bit easier for us. For now, we’ll display it here for reference (it would instantly have become the segment leader), but keep it officially in the small SUV segment.
Car sales statistics for the premium compact car segment in the US, updated every quarter.
Following a steady first half of the year sales in the Premium Compact segment fell by a substantial 19.5 percent in the second half of 2016, resulting in a 10.0 percent fall in sales over the course of the year. Nonetheless, this rate of annual decline was still lower than that for the Premium Large and Premium Mid-sized segments (14.2 and 15.3 percent, respectively), reflecting the fact that all Premium segments were affected by consumers’ migration to the Premium SUV segments, all of which recorded positive growth sales. In fact, it’s interesting to note the symmetry of how the two sets of segment diverged: in 2015 both recorded around 1 million sales, but the non-SUV Premium segments then lost around 130,000 sales (13.0 percent) in 2016, while the SUV Premium segments gained around 120,000 sales (rise of 11.9 percent), results in a net fall in all Premium segments of only 1 percent.
But, back to the Premium Compact segment – its outlook for the near future is rather bleak, as none of the four models that currently make up the segment likely to receive any substantial upgrades in 2017, though Acura would do well to replace the ILX which has fallen from segment leader in 2013 to last spot in 2016.
Sales in the Premium Compact segment fell by a substantial 12 percent in the third quarter of 2016, a considerable deterioration in fortune compared to the first quarter of the year, when the segment grew by 2 percent. Still, the performance over the course of the first three quarters combined (4 percent fall in sales to 68,954 units) was better than than in either the Premium Mid-sized or Premium Large segments (fall in sales of more than 10 percent for both), and worse than only the Premium Limousine (3 percent rise in sales).
Sales in the Premium Compact segment fell by a slight 2 percent in the second quarter, erasing the segment’s gains for the year so far. Just as in the first quarter of 2016, however, the performance of the segment has to be viewed alongside the other Premium segments, sales for all of which shrank so far in 2016, including double-digit falls for the Premium Mid-sized and Premium Large segments.
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.
A while back we asked you which premium compact model not currently available in the US would have the highest chance of succeeding. The Volvo V40 came out ahead with 32% of the votes – a clear, but not decisive win over its competitors. That many think it could do well does not come as a surprise – Volvo is currently on a bit of a roll, and while the V40 predates the current “hot” XC90 and S90/V90 models, it still represents much that customers like about the brand. It’s even available as the Cross Country, a jacked-up version of the kind that’s ever so popular in the US (think Volvo XC70, Subaru Outback).… Continue Reading …
Sales in the premium compact segment rose by 30% compared to 2014, a standout performance amongst all premium segments, most of which saw sales fall between 2014 and 2015. Such a high growth rate was possible thanks to just two models increasing their sales by over 60% compared to last year, which made a big difference in a segment that is comprised of only four models. Sales in 2015 came close to but did not breach 100,000 units, less than a fifth of what carmakers sell in the premium mid-sized segment in the US, and only around a ninth of what carmakers sell in this segment in Europe.… Continue Reading …
The Premium Compact segment continued growing in the third quarter of 2015, with sales up 15% compared to Q3 2014, although this rate of growth was slower than in the first part of the year, when they grew 59%. The main reason for this was that the Audi A3 sedan had been introduced in the US in the second half of 2014, which means that the incremental sales that variant brought are now “built in”.… Continue Reading …
The Premium Compact segment is not only the fastest growing of the Premium segments, it is one of the fastest growing segments overall with a year-on-year growth of 59%. The largest contributor to this growth is the Audi A3, which has been selling like hot cupcakes ever since Audi introduced the sedan version (as if more evidence was needed that US consumers love sedans). In fact, it grew so quickly that it surpassed the Mercedes-Benz CLA to grab the #1 spot, despite the former being the slightly more established market player. This gives Audi a rare segment lead in the US, a place where usually BMW and Mercedes-Benz duke it out for the top spot, with Audi at best a distant third.