Sales in the Compact segment continue their slow but steady decline with a 3.4% loss in Q1 of 2017, to 532,744 units, although that’s a lower rate of decline than for the full year 2016 and significantly better than the double digit declines of the subcompact and midsized car segments. Within the segment, there are some clear changes in the ranking, with 6 models in the top-15 showing double digit gains and another 4 showing double digit declines. The two perennial segment leaders Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla hold on to their controlling lead but are losing a bit of share as both show single digit declines in the first quarter.
Highlights for Q1 2017:
- After the new Honda Civic retook the segment lead from the Toyota Corolla in 2016 (the first time since 2013), it consolidates its lead with a 6.5% loss compared to a 9.7% decline for the Corolla. Together, these two still account for almost 3 out of 10 sales in this segment, although that’s down 1.5 percentage points from last year.
- After impressively moving up to the segment third place, the Nissan Sentra is pushed off the podium and back into 5th place in Q1 of 2017 as both the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze, the two most disappointing models of 2016, leapfrogged the Sentra, helped by their new generations. The Elantra and Cruze are the two fastest growing models in the segment top-10.
- The aging Ford Focus is the biggest loser in the top-15 as it’s in desperate need of a redesign, but that won’t arrive until another year or so.
- The Toyota Prius takes a double digit hit even despite its new generation, although combined sales of the regular sedan/liftback and plug-in hybrid version are almost stable and most of the losses come from the Prius V wagon and Prius C hatchback. The Chevrolet Volt still outsold the Prius Prime plug-in thanks to a gain of 39.5% for the new generation.
- The VW Jetta continues its decline and is now outsold by the Kia Forte, but the Golf rebounded sharply from the diesel scandal with sales up by almost 50%, mostly thanks to the station wagon version. Even the Beetle shows a nice rebound at +17.7%. Perhaps a number of the buybacks have resulted in new sales of gasoline models by owners returning their diesel vehicle?
- The new generation Subaru Impreza gained almost a third on its predecessor’s volume last year and is closing in on the perennially under-performing Mazda3.
- 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, and it outsells the Mitsubishi Lancer, which actually does rather well with just a 4.3% loss, considering it’s way past its expiry date.
- The upgraded Nissan Leaf is closing in on the Ford C-Max and stays ahead of the all-new Chevrolet Bolt EV which hasn’t been rolled out nationwide yet.
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