Mazda MX-5 narrows in on the lead as segment sales collapse by half in Q3’17The decline in Small Sports car sales went from troubling to almost catastrophic, as sales fell by almost half in the third quarter of 2017, worse than even the perennially underperforming Minicar segment. Although there is some hope in the form of the new Hyundai Veloster, that car won’t arrive until sometime in 2018 – until then, it’s likely sales will continue declining.
Mazda MX-5 almost takes the segment lead, as RWD cars soar and FWD cars crashThe Small Sports segment lost an astonishing 31.6% sales in the second quarter of 2017, a bad performance second only to that of the Minicar segment that lost almost half its sales over the same period. Combined with the slower decline experienced by the segment in the first quarter of the year, sales in the segment were 22.8% smaller in the first half of 2017 than in 2016. Although there is some hope in the form of the new Hyundai Veloster, that car won’t arrive until sometime in 2018 – until then, it’s likely sales will continue declining.
The Small Sports segment accelerates its decline in the first quarter of 2017 with a loss of 16.8% after already losing 6.5 percent in 2016. Sales of small sports cars dropped to 69,938 in Q1 as 9 out of the 13 models lost volume, of which 7 with double digits. The top-3 are the American muscle cars, which hold more than three quarters of the segment and they lose slightly faster than the rest of the segment. And keeping in mind sales of muscle cars have traditionally proven to be a bellwether for the entire US car market, this could be yet another indication that car sales have hit their peak. Hopefully the facelifted Ford Mustang can breathe some much-needed new life into the segment. The only other sports car news in 2017 will be the new Toyota Supra, co-developed by the Japanese brand with BMW.
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 Small Sports segment declined by 4 percent in the third quarter of 2016, a recovery after the 15 percent decline recorded in the second quarter of the year. This means that the segment did better than the Sports Large segment but not as well as the Small Premium Sports segment, the only one of the three to record a rise in sales so far this year.
Sales in the Small Sports segment in the US declined by 7% in the first half of 2016 to 172,040 vehicles. After showing a 3% growth in Q1, sales in the segment plunged by 15% in Q2. Shock and horror in the model ranking: the Chevrolet Camaro, leader of the American Muscle cars from 2010 till 2014 before relegating that title to the new generation Ford Mustang, has been outsold in Q2 of 2016 by the Dodge Challenger for the first time since the launch of the fifth generation Camaro in 2009. The Challenger, whose current third generation was launched in 2008 has edged out the Camaro in two separate months before (March and October 2015, each time by less than 160 sales), but in the second quarter the Challenger beat its rival in both May and June for a total advantage of 1,360 sales, giving it a Q2 advangate of 315 sales. The Camaro had built enough of an advantage in the first four months to stay ahead for the first half, but Dodge has smelt blood and the battle is on for second place in the segment.
Sales in the Small Sports segment in the US rose by 3% in Q1 2016 to 82,328 vehicles – exactly the same rate of growth as the Small Premium Sports segment, as well as the industry as a whole. With the new Mazda MX-5 gaining sales, and the entry of the Buick Cascada, the growth rate would have been higher were it not for the falling sales of the two Scion models, ahead of the brands closure later this year. As the brand stops selling cars sales in this segment will probably fall later in the year, though that may be partially offset by sales of the new Chevy Camaro coming fully on stream.