The Small Sports segment grew by 14% compared to the first half of 2014, a much better performance than either the Large Sports or Small Premium Sports segments, which did not grow and shrank by 20%, respectively. The headline statistic is deceiving, however, as all the growth came from two cars, with sales of the other cars in the segment shrinking quite a bit. It is clear, though, that a large part of the segment is made up from cars which are quickly aging or about to be replaced, and so I would not be surprised if the growth picked up even more in the next year with the release of the new MX-5 and Camaro.
But for now Ford Mustang is back in first place after losing that position to its arch-rival, Chevy Camaro, in 2010. The new global Mustang is clearly a hit with the customers, with its sales growing by 54% year-on-year – this puts it firmly at the head of the “pony car” wars. The recently demoted Camaro held onto second place, despite the new model being just around the corner. It was a close race, though, with the Dodge Challenger mounting a serious post-facelift resurgence, with its sales growing by 41%. This was a great performance for what is ultimately a seven-year-old car based on Mercedes-Benz technology from the early aughts.
In fourth place, albeit a long way behind the Challenger, is the Hyundai Veloster. In essence, the car is the sales leader for the sub-segment of non-pony cars. Hyundai’s FWD coupe-cum-hatchback lost 25% of its sales compared to the first half of 2014, and is now firmly in the sights of the fifth-placed Scioc Tc, a US-only Corolla-based coupe. Both cars represent a slowly dying breed, which is that of purpose-designed FWD coupes based on stock underpinnings, as the market slowly turns back towards RWD after it abandoned the layout in the 80s and 90s.
The best selling of the new breed is the Scion FR-S, essentially the Toyota GT-86 for the US market, in sixth spot. The FR-S, along with its twin, the Subaru BRZ in eighth, saw their sales fall by more than a quarter as the market is anticipating the imminent release of the new MX-5 and, possibly, a facelift for the twins. The Scion and Subaru sandwiched the Nissan 370Z in seventh, a larger car that is closer is size to the pony cars but can’t get anywhere close to them in sales terms because it does not have the same heritage in the US and lacks a rear seat.
In ninth, surprisingly low down the sales charts, is the Mazda MX-5. Sure, there is a new model around the corner, but the MX-5 clearly is not the market leader it once was, at least in sales terms. In fact, its total sales have fallen in 2014 to barely over a fourth of what they were in 2006. Closing off the sales charts is VW’s Eos coupe-cabriolet, the only member of the FWD group of such cars to make it from Europe to the US.