US sales Q1 2016 Compact segment

US compacts

Sales in the compact segment fell by 6% compared to Q1 2015, the second-worst performance from among all mainstream segments, better only than the minicar segment. While one could be inclined to continue the narrative that it’s the low gas prices that are driving consumers to the segment above, my feeling is that few consumers are abandoning compact cars from mid-sized ones for economy reasons. Rather, the compact segment is full of aging cars that are nearing their retirement, with only the hot (sales-wise) new Honda Civic, refreshed Nissan Sentra and niche Scion iM providing any new blood. But, unlike for the subcompact segment there is hope on the horizon in the form of a refreshed Toyota Corolla, as well as a new Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Subaru Impreza.

Highlights for Q1 2016:

  • The new Honda Civic, on the back of a 31% growth in sales compare to Q1 2015, crowns its return to form by taking making Q1 2016 the third quarter in a row that it had outsold its arch-rival Toyota Corolla
  • The refreshed Nissan Sentra is equally a big hit with the customers, rising from 6th to 3rd spot on the back of a 23% increase in sales, equally Q4 2015 as the highest position ever reached by the model
  • Sales of the Hyundai Elantra and Chevy Cruze both suffered badly as the new models are slowly phased in, with sales declines of 31% and 39%, respectively
  • Sales of the VW Jetta held up surprisingly well given how the company’s reputation in the US is in tatters, though hefty financial discounts VW is throwing at customers can probably take a large part of the credit

    Dodge Dart

    Dodge Dart

  • Models that did not hold up so well compared to last year include Dodge Dart, with consumers presumably looking elsewhere on the back of the news that the brand will discontinue the model before long, and Mazda3, which like the rest of Mazda’s range suffered weak sales in Q1 2016
  • After a year of astonishing growth in 2015, sales of VW Golf have leveled out for now
  • The new Scion iM (aka European Toyota Auris) could only manage second-to-last spot, outselling only Fiat 500L, with sales certainly not helped by Toyota’s decision to pull the plug on the Scion brand this year

Note: 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.

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