The Subcompact SUV was the fastest-growing of all segments in the US, exactly doubling its sales compared to the first half of 2014. And if that was not enough to convince you that it was the place to be right now – half of the cars were new to the segment, making this also the “freshest” from among all segments.
The new segment leader is the Buick Encore, whose sales rose 29% year-on-year. The little SUV, developed in Europe as the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, clearly found good traction in the market with its combination of good looks, small dimensions and reasonable spaciousness. Its success took parent GM by surprise (it is the first time that a Buick has led a segment in sales in… ever?), and it belatedly decided to start selling its sister car, the Chevrolet Trax, to the US market. The effect? Immediate jump to second spot with almost 25,000 sales.
In #3 we find the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, a car that has steadily been gaining sales ever since in came to market in 2010. In fact, its year-on-year sales gain of 17% was enough to relegate the erstwhile market leader, Nissan Juke, to 4th spot. It is interesting that while the segment seems red-hot, sales of the small Nissan seem to have gone off a cliff – possibly as a result of the controversial styling not aging very well, possibly because the new competition shone light on the Juke’s poor interior space.
Closely behind the Juke in #5 is the first of the true newcomers: Jeep Renegade. While the Jeep’s performance for a new model is respectable, it may not be quite what the company expected – that is lower even than the Compass, the company’s lowest-sales model in 2014. That said, since the Renegade only came to market mid-way through the first half of 2015, it may be that we won’t see the model’s full market performance until the second half of the year.
Taking vastly different approach than the Renegade, but selling almost as many units in #6, is the Honda HR-V. While the little Jeep majors on rugged charisma with its squared-off looks, the Honda looks like a slightly inflated subcompact car, albeit substantially more handsome than the donor car – the Honda Fit/Jazz. Closing off the charts is the last of the newcomers, the Fiat 500X, whose sales of 332 clearly indicate that we should wait until the second half of the year to truly evaluate its sales potential.