The Audi A3 sedan is a good-looking car: surprisingly well-proportioned for a compact sedan, more interesting than the “seen it before” hatchback, and nicely compact compared to its overlong and boring bigger brother, the A4. One of the better aspects of its design is the rear, and especially the aggressively squinty tail lights, which look much better than the boring lamps on the A4, or the weirdly frowning-looking ones on the A6. But the A3 sedan is not the only car that sports such aggressive lamps at the rear, to the benefit of the overall design.
Sales in the compact segment fell by 6 percent in the second quarter, exactly the same rate at which they fell in the first quarter of the year. This is a disappointing performance, given that the second quarter saw two high-selling models hit the market (Chevy Cruze and Hyundai Elantra), joining the Scion iM that was released in the fall of 2015. From among 17 models in this segment only 4 saw their sales rise in the first half of the year relative to 2015, leaving a few models to hold sales up the segment. [Read more…]
Sales in the compact segment fell by 6% compared to Q1 2015, the second-worst performance from among all mainstream segments, better only than the minicar segment. While one could be inclined to continue the narrative that it’s the low gas prices that are driving consumers to the segment above, my feeling is that few consumers are abandoning compact cars from mid-sized ones for economy reasons. Rather, the compact segment is full of aging cars that are nearing their retirement, with only the hot (sales-wise) new Honda Civic, refreshed Nissan Sentra and niche Scion iM providing any new blood. But, unlike for the subcompact segment there is hope on the horizon in the form of a refreshed Toyota Corolla, as well as a new Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Subaru Impreza.
Sales in the compact segment grew by 1% compared to 2014, a better performance than in either the minicar or subcompact segments, thought still behind the industry average of 5% growth. With the latest crop of compact cars being large enough to accommodate a whole family sales in this segment are less sensitive to gas prices – consumers are less likely to migrate to the segments above simply because they no longer need an economic car now that gas is super-cheap. For many people a compact car is all they need. [Read more…]
While the compact segment was the only mainstream segment to grow in the first half of 2015, it was a growth it could not sustain into the third quarter, when its sales fell by 1%, bringing the total gains for the year so far down to 2%. Not a bad performance, given that many of the segments mainstays are about to be replaced or updated (Civic, Elantra, Cruze, Sentra). Still, with the mid-sized segment picking up steam the gap between the two is widening, and it may take more expensive gas for it to start closing again. [Read more…]
This may be one of those situations where you’ll say “Hey, the end product looks great, so what are you complaining about?”, but the Infiniti’s designers desire to pay homage to one of its competitors (aka copy its design) is just too obvious to ignore.