Compact cars are losing market share in the United States with a decline of 29% in 2020, double the overall market decline. Just under 1.17 million compact cars were sold in 2020, which is almost half a million fewer than last year and the lowest in this millennium and possibly longer. Just two nameplates managed to increase their volume, with most others showing double digit losses.
The two best sellers Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla beat the segment average but not the overall market at -20% and -22% respectively, although the Corolla saw stable sales in Q4, when it outsold the Civic by 10,000 units. The Hyundai Elantra passes the Nissan Sentra for the segment podium, despite a 40% loss for the South-Korean sedan, as the Sentra loses nearly half of its volume on 2019. The Elantra’s sister model Kia Forte gains share at -11% and jumps the Volkswagen Jetta, itself down 18%. The Subaru Impreza leapfrogs the Toyota Prius for 7th place while sister model Subaru WRX and the Chevrolet Bolt EV pass the Honda Insight. The Bolt is up 26% in 2020 as General Motors has increased promotion spending and opened new markets for its only all-electric model. Other electrified models, like the Hyundai Ioniq and Nissan Leaf, didn’t do nearly as well.
All luxury compact cars bar the BMW i3 outperform the overall segment, and as a result, the luxury share of the class is up from 4.3% to 5.9%, still a relatively small share. Best seller among luxury nameplates is the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, but in the third and fourth quarters it was outsold by the BMW 2-Series. The Gran Coupe version pushes sales of BMW’s smallest nameplate up 82%, making it by far the best performing nameplate in the segment overall. It should be able to grab the segment lead in 2021. The Acura ILX is down 9% and the Mercedes-Benz CLA is down 11%, with the Audi A3 closing in at -5%. The Mini Clubman is down 26% while the BMW i3 is all but dead in the USA, with just 1,508 sales for the entire year. It once again proves how difficult the North American market is for non-Tesla electric cars.
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