Car sales statistics for the subcompact car segment in the US, updated every quarter.

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 2017 first half: Subcompact segment

Subcompact segment lost more than 20%, and only Toyota-branded cars gained any sales 

Sales in the subcompact segment in the United States continued falling in the second quarter of 2017, dropping by 250,395 units for the first half of the year. This represents a fall of 20.8% compared to the first half of 2016, the second fastest rate of decline from among the mainstream segments, behind only the minicar segment. Part of the reason is that a lot of the cars in the segment are either about to be replaced (Chevrolet SonicFord FiestaHyundai Accent and Kia Rio) or are in the second half of their life-cycle (Nissan VersaToyota Yaris), but really it’s the gradual migration to crossovers that’s the more likely reason of this trend – the subcompact SUV segment grew by 10.6% percent over the same period, and sold more than 200,000 units in half a year for the first time ever.

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US sales 2017-Q1 Subcompact segment

While minicars rebounded in Q1 of 2017, the subcompact car segment started the year deep in the red with a loss of 15.7% compared to the first quarter of 2016, for a total of 117,995 sales. The segment top-3 all lost with double digits, as the rise of the subcompact crossover segment undoubtedly plays a role in the struggles of the similarly sized sedans and hatchbacks. Then again, no less than four out of the nine players are due to be renewed this year (Chevrolet SonicFord FiestaHyundai Accent and Kia Rio), while two others are in the second half of their life-cycle (Nissan VersaToyota Yaris) as well.

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US sales 2016 Subcompact segment

Sales of subcompact cars rebounded slightly in the fourth quarter of 2016, growing by 2 percent relative to Q4’15, allowing the segment to cut the annual fall in sales to 3 percent. This is a very respectable performance for a segment where most cars are older designs, either in the second half of their life-cycle (Nissan VersaToyota Yaris) or about to be replaced (Chevrolet SonicFord FiestaHyundai Accent and Kia Rio). And while the segment still only sells less than a third of what the Compact segment manages, 2016 is notable as the first time that the Subcompact segment outsold the Minivan segment over the course of a year.

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US sales 2016 Q1-Q3 Subcompact segment


Sales of subcompact cars rebounded slightly in Q3 of 2016 with an increase of 2%, to cut the year-to-date loss in half to 3%. That’s even despite the fact that a number of models in this segment is due for a redesign within the next 12 months, most notably the Ford FiestaHyundai Accent and Kia Rio. Surprisingly, the latter two South-Korean models are actually the among the three fastest growing models of the segment in Q3, together with the Honda Fit.

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US sales 2016 first half Subcompact segment

The Subcompact segment shrank by 6 percent compared to the first half of 2015, a reasonable performance for a mainstream segment – only the Large and Minivan segments did better. What’s more, this was achieved despite many of the cars in the segment getting decidedly long in the tooth (Hyundai AccentChevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris). However, until these models are replaced later this year / early next year, it’s hard to imagine the Subcompact segment doing much better than this, especially in light of the persistently low gas prices.

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US sales Q1 2016 Subcompact segment

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 SoulHyundai AccentChevy 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 FiestaHyundai Accent and Kia Rio should come to market.… Continue Reading …

US sales 2015 full year Subcompact segment

The subcompact segment shrank by 8% compared to 2014, a performance even worse than the minicar segment shrinking by 5%. While low gas prices contributed to this, just as they did for the smaller segment, it is probably the lack of new metal that really drove sales in the segment down. Honda Fit and Scion iA were the only new cars that came to market in 2015, and only the former has sold in meaningful quantities. In fact, with many of the segment stalwarts getting on in years, this may be one of the oldest segments.… Continue Reading …

US sales 2015 Q1-Q3 Subcompact segment

US subcompacts

The Subcompact segment shrank by 14% in Q3, a further acceleration of the decline in the first half of the year, compared to the market growing by 6% over the same period. As with the Minicar segment, a lot of this has to do with low gas prices that see people turning away from cars whose main selling point in the US is good gas milage. … Continue Reading …

US sales 2015 first half Subcompact segment


US subcompacts

The Subcompact segment shrank by 6%, a slightly faster decline than the 4% at which all the mainstream segments shrank compared to the first half of 2014. This is goes against the trend in recent years when subcompacts have been growing in popularity, and is probably driven by factors such as an aging line-up for most carmakers and lower gas prices compared to last year. It also seems like it might get worse for the segment before it gets better, seeing as there are no new models on the horizon beyond the Scion iA, a Mazda2 sedan in drag.

Kia SoulH1 2015 sales figures suggest there are three tiers of cars in the Subcompact segment. First, there are the market leaders – Kia Soul retains its position at the lead, though its lead over the second-placed Nissan Versa shrank to just around 1,000 units. It should be noted that while the Soul is only sold as a hatchback, the Versa comes in two flavors – a modern hatchback (Note in Europe) and an ugly, cheap 4-door sedan whose USP is that it offers the largest amount of interior space for a car in this price bracket.

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