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.
There haven’t been any big changes at the front, with the Toyota Corolla looking to retain the segment leader crown which it had lost to the Honda Civic in 2012 and 2013. Behind them the Hyundai Elantra keeps putting in a good showing despite the 2016 Elantra having already been show to the public. In contract, Chevy Cruze is having a hard time hanging onto its customers as they await the new model.
Behind the top 6 the VW Jetta continues losing customer, with the rate of decline only accelerating following Dieselgate. Also, VW’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 2015 facelift clearly did not do enough to update a design that was in desperate need of freshening up. If things continue like this the Jetta may not only lose its 7th spot on the charts to the slowly catching up Mazda3, but even to the Subaru Impreza whose been gaining customers very quickly this year. In fact, the Impreza was the only model in the top 10 to gain a position in the rankings, overtaking the Dodge Dart to grab 9th spot.
Impressive though the Impreza’s growth has been so far this year, its the VW Golf that continues shining with a triple-digit growth rate that means that it is well on its way to selling over 60,000 units for the first time in a decade (and quite possibly ever, we don’t have data going that far back yet). At the back are the two big losers of the segment – the Buick Verano, whose sales were down 39% compared to the same period last year, and the Fiat 500L, down 21%, and clearly hurt by its more ruggedly-handsome brother, the 500X.