The mid-sized segment recovered from a poor first half of 2015 to record some growth in Q3, the only mainstream segment to do so. As such it put some clear distance between itself and the compact segment, and should finish the year comfortably as the 2nd largest segment, following the compact SUV segment.
The segment leader, Toyota Camry, continues in first spot largely unchanged, with a margin of over 60,000 units over its closest competitor. It was right behind it that the action happened in Q3, with Honda Accord overtaking Nissan Altima to reclaim 2nd spot on the sales charts. What is interesting is that the Accord still did worse in Q3 2015 than it did in Q3 2014 (sales down 8%), while the Altima did much better (sales up 12%), but the Accord seems to historically have a very strong Q3 – in 2015 it sold 40% more cars in Q3 than it did on average in the first two quarters. Maybe Honda has better promotions around Labor day than the other carmakers? It’ll be interesting to see which of these two cars finishes the year on top – a lot will probably depend on how much Nissan discounts the outgoing model before the facelifted model comes in.
With the Chrysler 200’s growth slowing down (sales up 35% in Q3, compared to 136% in the first half of the year) it fell down from 5th to 7th place in the ranking, allowing the Hyundai Sonata to again enter the top 5. Another car which experienced a slowdown in sales growth was the Subaru Outback, with sales up only 8% compared to 63% in the first half of the year. In both cases its fair to say that the cause is sales leveling off after a bump afforded by a new model in 2014.
The end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 will be interesting to watch with new models entering the market – other than the aforementioned Nissan Altima facelift the new Chevy Malibu and Kia Optima will hit the market, and all three are possible top 5 contenders. They might not dethrone the Camry, but the Sonata and even Fusion could be under attack.