The booming sales growth of the subcompact crossover segment is starting to flatten out, with “just” 18% growth in Q3 of 2016, compared to almost doubling in size in the first half of the year. Of course, as successful newly released models celebrate their first anniversary, and no new models hit the market, it’s only natural for sales to stabilize somewhat. Still, the segment outgrows the overall market fairly and squarely, and only two out of the seven models in the segment lose volume, with four out of the remaining five still in double or even triple digit growth. The segment leader Jeep Renegade is starting to lose its dominance, with just 25 sales separating it from the segment #2 in the third quarter.
Highlights for January – September 2016:
- While the Renegade is still the commanding leader of the segment year-to-date, the facelifted Chevrolet Trax almost stole the top spot in the third quarter, closing in by just 25 sales. The Renegade gained 13% in Q3 and has still more than doubled its 2015 sales, but the Trax was up 37% in Q3 and +26% year-to-date.
- However, the Trax is still in fourth place of the segment for the first nine months of the year, as the Honda HR-V holds on to the second spot despite being, #3 in the third quarter with a 45% increase on the same period last year.
- The Buick Encore was within 22 sales of the HR-V in the first half, but the latter has opened a gap in Q3, when the Encore gained just 7% on 2015 and lost 1.800 sales on its nearest rival as it dropped to 4th place for the quarter.
- The big loser of the segment is the car that started it all, the Nissan Juke. As a new generation Juke is desparately needed, the model loses 46% in Q3 and is now down 24% for the year. It was outsold by the Mazda CX-3, which celebrated its first anniversary in August. The CX-3 is unlikely to catch the Juke by year-end, as it suffers from Mazda-itis: no matter how good looking or well-driving, the Mazda appears to always be stuck in the bottom quarter of the segment in the US, and Europe for that matter.
- At least the CX-3 beats the Fiat 500X, already down 30% despite being launched in Q2 of 2015 and an utter failure in the US, probably due to a combination of unknown brand identity and a limited dealer body, especially compared to the technically identical Renegade.