US sales 2017 first half: Compact segment

Compact segment lost more than 11%, as only 4 out of top-10 improve US-sales-compact_car-segment-2016-Chevrolet_Cruze-Honda_Civic-Nissan_Sentra-Hyundai_Elantra-Mazda3

The Compact Car segment accelerates its decline with a 14% loss in Q2 of 2017, which leads to a 11% decline in the first half to 1,704,812 sales. This is still the lowest decline of all mainstream sedan segments. The top-3 players, the Japanese elephants in the room, which take a combined 26.6% share of the segment, all improve their share of the segment as they fall with just single digits. There are two more models to sell over 100,000 units in the first half: the Chevrolet Cruze and the Hyundai Elantra, while the Ford Focus dips below that threshold. Two electrified newcomers are off to a shy start.

Highlights for first half of 2017:

  • The new Honda Civic extends its segment lead over the Toyota Corolla in the second quarter, a position it reclaimed in 2016 for the first time since 2013. After spending Q1 in 5th place, the Nissan Sentra is back onto the podium thanks to a 2% increase in Q2. It sold 10,000 more copies than the Chevrolet Cruze, which had a promising first quarter but showed only a 4% gain in the second quarter. It’s still up 21% for the half and up to 4th place.
  • The Hyundai Elantra also had a promising first quarter after a disappointing 2016, but its success was only short lived as the Elantra crashed down 19% in Q2 which means it’s barely stable for the first half. The Elantra and Cruze were the two fastest growing models in the segment top-10 in Q1 but haven’t been able to maintain that momentum.
  • The aging Ford Focus is the biggest loser in the top-10 as it’s in desperate need of a redesign, which has been slightly postponed by the plans to build the next generation Focus in China instead of Mexico, as opposed to Michigan where the current generation is made.
  • The Kia Forte showed double digit increases in Q2 and is up 11% in the first half, allowing it to move up 2 places into 7th. The VW Jetta stabilizes its decline in the second quarter with a 2% gain, but is still down for the half.
  • US-sales-compact_car-segment-2017_Q1-Chevrolet_Volt-Toyota_Prius_PrimeThe Toyota Prius takes a double digit hit even despite its new generation, although the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid version makes up for some of the losses. The latter was only 23 sales behind its rival Chevrolet Volt in the second quarter as the Volt lost 8% after a promising start of the year. The Hyundai Ioniq is still off to a slow start with 4.549 registrations in Q2 for its hybrid and EV versions combined.
  • In Q2, the new generation Subaru Impreza gained 55% on its predecessor’s volume last year and has moved past the perennially under-performing Mazda3, the biggest loser of the segment in Q2 with a loss of 34%. This is besides two discontinued models Dodge Dart and Buick Verano.
  • The VW Golf rebounded sharply from the diesel scandal with sales up more than 40%, mostly thanks to triping sales of the station wagon version. The Golf also benefits from sales of the remaining stock of diesel models that were released from their stop-sale order after being updated to meet emission standards. Even the Beetle enjoys a nice rebound for that same reason at +42% in Q2 and 30% in the half.
  • Like with the Scion iA/Toyota Yaris iA, the Corolla iM shows a nice improvement now that it’s been brought under the Toyota brand.
  • The upgraded Nissan Leaf is closing in on the Ford C-Max thanks to a 38% gain in Q2 vs. a 16% loss for the latter, but keep in mind Nissan is throwing cash on the hood of the Leaf as it faces competition from the much more advanced all-new Chevrolet Bolt EV until the all-new Leaf arrives late this year or early 2018. The Bolt already outsells the Leaf even though it’s been available in only a handful of states before a nationwide roll-out. The Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicle more than triples its sales but remains a niche player, mostly sold in California where there is at least some fueling infrastructure, as opposed to the East Coast, where sales remain very limited.

Note: “AP” designates models that are classified in the Alternative Power segment, presented here for comparison; clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off

About Krzysztof Wozniak

Kriss grew up in Poland reading German car magazines, before moving to England and graduating to the British magazines, which he still considers the best in the world and continues reading them after he’d moved to the US. In college he promised himself he’s buy himself a used Porsche before he turned 30 (not to be accused of having a mid-life crisis), but instead family needs dictated a Subaru Outback. Still waiting for that perfect moment to buy a used 2008-ish Cayman…
You can find all his articles Here.


  1. I really hope the EU Focus wasn’t delayed too. As for the Golf, i wonder how well the Alltrack version of the Sportwagen is doing. Looking at Subaru sales i’m guessing they may be good.

    • Bart Demandt says:

      Hi Tuga,
      I’m curious about that as well, but unfortunately Volkswagen of America does not split out sales figures of the Alltrack from the Sportwagen. Considering its sales tripled while the rest of the range was flat, I’m sure the Alltrack is indeed a great contributor to its success.

  2. VW USA: Sales up, so likely revenue is up. But whether this applies for profit levels too ….. doubtful.
    Golf All-Track got some favorable reviews, and will do well in its niche segment.
    Would prefer it over Subaru’s offerings, where there not all these foul acts by the German VW board.
    (as: How to ruin a good thing)

  3. Toyota Auris, which they call iM is basically Corolla, because they call it Corolla on many markets, including Australia. So if you add 11 000 sales of Corolla iM to other Corolla sales, then Civic will still have 175 000 sales, but Corolla will have 176 000 sales.

  4. Losange says:

    Happy for Honda the Civic is a hit. I’ve only seen it at European dealerships…

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