Sales in the Small Sports segment fell by 6.5 percent in 2016 to 319,406 – a useful 40 percent higher than during the sector’s low in 2009, but still some 30 percent below where the segment was a decade ago. The decline is faster than for the Premium Small Sports segment, but almost identical to that for the Premium Large segment. The segment’s prospects don’t look that great for 2017, either: the big-selling new muscle-cars are losing customers (Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro), many of the models are getting on in age but are unlikely to be replaced anytime soon as manufacturers put their efforts and resources into SUVs (Dodge Challenger, Nissan 370Z, Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ), while the demise of the Scion brand will see the end of the well-selling Scion tC. Probably the only truly new model that will arrive in 2017 will be the new Toyota Supra, co-developed by the Japanese brand with BMW.
Highlights for 2016:
- The decline in the sales of the segment-leading Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro is surprising given how new these models are (especially the Camaro), and especially when you realize that the generation-older Dodge Challenger did better than either of them
- With a big gap to the muscle-car trimvirate, the Hyundai Veloster did very well to gain 24 percent in sales, probably as customers migrated to it following the demise of the similarly-sized and priced Scion tC (sales down 43 percent)
- Another big gap, and in fifth place we find the new Mazda MX-5 Miata (sales up an unspectacular 10 percent)
- The only other cars to not have their sales fall compared to 2015 were the two new models: the cabriolet Buick Cascada and the MX-5’s cousin, Fiat 124 Spider, whose sales hovered around 40 percent below those of its donor car once the model became widely available in the second half of the year