Compact cars continue to lose market share in the United States with sales up 6% in the first quarter of 2021, half the overall market growth. Just over 318,000 compact cars were sold in Q1 of 2021, and just two nameplates in the top-12 are down on the same period of last year.
The Toyota Corolla is back in the leadership of the class, as it was in Q1 2020 before losing out on the Honda Civic for the full year. Corolla sales are up 5% so far in 2021 while the Civic is down 13%. Big winner of the top-10 is the Nissan Sentra, up 56%, but that’s mostly because the Sentra struggled extra hard last year. It distances the Hyundai Elantra which has flat sales and sees sister model Kia Forte close in with an 11% increase. The Volkswagen Jetta keeps its share of the segment stable, while the Toyota Prius gains share with sales up 22% and the Mazda3 is up 23% to move past the Subaru Impreza, down 11%.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV moves into the segment top-10 as it sees its sales grow 54% so far this year, passing the Volkswagen Golf, down 45% as its line-up is trimmed in the US market. The Hyundai Ioniq is up 17% but can’t bring the challenge to the Prius. In fact, the Ioniq barely outsells the hybrid-only Honda Insight. The Nissan Leaf EV is up 49% but remains a niche player in the class.
Luxury compact cars improve their share of the class from 4.8% in Q1 of 2020 to 5.1, although that’s still below the 5.9% figure of the 2020 full year. The BMW 2-Series takes over control of the segment from the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, thanks to the addition of the 2-Series Gran Coupe sedan, which triples its sales of Q1 2020, while the A-Class is down 11% and is under threat from the Acura ILX, up 9%. The Mercedes-Benz CLA is down 28%, but the Audi A3 struggles the most at -41%. The Mini Clubman is down 13% and sells just over 500 units in the quarter, while the BMW i3 bounces back from a horrible start of 2020.
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