US car sales analysis 2018 Q2 – Premium Compact segment

Segment decline speeds up, although still remains less bad than in 2017

US premium compact

Sales in the US Premium Compact segment fell by 9.8% to 38,690 in the first half of 2018, as the pace of decline accelerated from the relatively modest 7.5% in the first quarter of the year (although it is still declining slower than it did in 2017, when it shrank by more than a quarter). With the new Mercedes-Benz A-class saloon unlikely to enter the market before the year’s end, it looks increasingly unlikely the segment will be able to recover in 2018, although on current trend it will probably be able to avoid a repeat of 2017’s misery.


  • Mercedes-Benz CLA continued to see sales rise by almost 40% in the second half of the year, an unexpected turn of events given the model’s advancing age
  • Ales of 2017’s segment leader, Audi A3, continued to fall in the second quarter, suggesting the model may have relinquished the segment lead, especially as its sales are likely to be hit extra hard when the new Audi Q3 enters the market

Note: “AP” designates models that are classified in the Alternative Power segment, presented here for comparison; 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

  • After a great Q1’18, when its sales were up by almost a quarter, BMW 2-series saw its sales fall by almost 15% in Q2’18, resulting in the model falling behind the aging Acura ILX in the standings
  • The facelifted BMW i3 could not maintain its momentum from the first quarter of the year, though the 5.2% decline in the second quarter was small enough to leave the model usefully in the black for the year so far, keeping it ahead of the Mini Clubman, whose sales seem to be in free fall now that the second-generation Countryman has hit the market

Note: clicking on the model names in legend turns the display for that model on/off; data is displayed from 1990 onwards, but starts earlier – access previous years using slider on bottom