Sales in the Small Sports segment in the US declined by 7% in the first half of 2016 to 172,040 vehicles. After showing a 3% growth in Q1, sales in the segment plunged by 15% in Q2. Shock and horror in the model ranking: the Chevrolet Camaro, leader of the American Muscle cars from 2010 till 2014 before relegating that title to the new generation Ford Mustang, has been outsold in Q2 of 2016 by the Dodge Challenger for the first time since the launch of the fifth generation Camaro in 2009. The Challenger, whose current third generation was launched in 2008 has edged out the Camaro in two separate months before (March and October 2015, each time by less than 160 sales), but in the second quarter the Challenger beat its rival in both May and June for a total advantage of 1,360 sales, giving it a Q2 advangate of 315 sales. The Camaro had built enough of an advantage in the first four months to stay ahead for the first half, but Dodge has smelt blood and the battle is on for second place in the segment.
The quirky South-Korean coupe Hyundai Veloster improves 15% in the first half and consolidates its fourth place ahead of the Scion tC, down 38.2%. The Mazda MX-5 Miata more than doubles the sales of its predecessor last year, as the Buick Cascada convertible moves from 9th place in Q1 to 7th for the half, leapfrogging the Scion FR-S and Nissan 370Z. VW has sold the last remaining stock models of the Eos convertible in May.
We welcome a newcomer to the segment this quarter: the Fiat 124 Spider has started US sales in June with a single registration and will soon storm up the charts. At least, so hopes the Italian brand. The 124 Spider is based on the platform of the MX-5 and is built by Mazda in Japan, using Fiat’s own turbocharged engines and gearbox. That, combined with its Italian design, makes it more desirable than its Japanese original, according to some. Still, considering Fiat’s limited dealer body and lower brand recognition, as well as the strength of the MX-5 badge, I don’t think the 124 Spider will get close enough to the MX-5 to challenge it in the US.