Compact car sales in the US fall at almost double the overall market decline at -30%. Just over 223,000 deliveries in the first quarter of 2022 make up just 6.7% of the US passenger car market, down from 8.2% last year. Just two nameplates in the top-15 sell more than they did in the same quarter last year.
Like last year, the Toyota Corolla starts the year on top of the charts, although it’s losing some of its advantage on the #2 with sales down 34% compared to a 31% loss for the Honda Civic. If last year the gap was nearly 13,000 deliveries, that has now shrunk to fewer than 9,000. And last year the Civic managed to finish the year on top after all. The Nissan Sentra holds on to third place and even manages to improve its share of the segment with sales down 27%, but it’s under increasing pressure from the South-Korean twins Kia Forte (-5%) and Hyundai Elantra (-15%). The Volkswagen Jetta loses more than half of its sales and barely manages to outsell the Toyota Prius. The Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza outperform the class with single digit declines, while the Nissan Leaf enters the top-10 thanks to sales up 49% on last year, making it the only top-10 model to improve. The Hyundai Ioniq leapfrogs the Volkswagen Golf which loses almost half of its sales now that the regular version is no longer offered in North America, only the performance verisions GTI and Golf R. The Honda Insight also loses more than half of its sales. Deliveries of the Subaru WRX are down by 90% to fewer than 600, and the Chevrolet Bolt EV is also all but dead. With all the ongoing recalls and GM’s history with its EV and PHEV models, I wouldn’t be surprised if production of the Bolt never restarts.
Luxury compact cars outperform their mainstream rivals in 2022. With sales down 25%, their share of the class improved from 5.1% to 5.5%. The BMW 2-Series is down 24% but holds on to the top spot among luxury models and even climbs to 11th place overall. The Acura ILX is close behind in an overall 12th place with sales up 26%. The Audi A3 is also up, by 3%, allowing it to leapfrog the two Mercedes-Benz model and become the #3 luxury nameplate. Both the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Mercedes-Benz CLA lose more than half of their sales of last year and are unlikely to be continued in North America when they reach the end of their life cycle, as the brand is going to focus more on profitability than chasing volume. The Mini Clubman is up 13% but remains a niche player, while we welcome the Polestar 2 EV to the charts at #22.
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