US car sales analysis 2018 Q2 – Subcompact SUV segment

The frantic pace of growth continues as new Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Kona find success


Sales in the US Subcompact SUV segment rose by 35.2% to 295,101 in the first half of 2018, with growth quickening even compared to the 33.3% registered in the first quarter of the year. With the new Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Kona getting up to speed in the market, and the new Nissan Kicks just going on sale in June, the segment could yet top 40% growth in 2018.


  • The Top 4 is the story of two sets of two cars: the aging-but-recently-facelifted GM twins, Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax, saw their sales rise by almost a quarter so far in 2018, promoting the former to the segment leadership position at the expense of the other two cars, the erstwhile segment leader Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V, both of which saw their sales fall slightly so far in 2018
  • The new-in-2017 Toyota C-HR remains in fifth spot for YTD sales, but was actually outsold by the Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Kona in the second quarter of the year – a sign both of the success of the later two models, but also of the impact the Toyota’s polarizing styling on its appeal to the average buyer
  • The performance of the Ford EcoSport was particularly good, given that the model was originally designed with developing countries in mind, is now five years old, and has been universally panned for being somewhat sub-standard

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

  • After a remarkable performance in the first quarter of the year, when it saw its sales almost double, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport came down back to earth and registered a more measured 9% growth in the second quarter of the year
  • The facelifted Mazda CX-3 has seen steady growth so far this year, something that cannot be said for the hapless Fiat 500X, which is now selling fewer than 7 units for 100 units sold of its cousin, the Renegade
  • At the very end we are seeing an unusually clumsy model handover by the erstwhile segment-leader Nissan, whose Juke is making way for the new Kicks, whose conservative looks and developing-market origins may not be as much of a hinderance as originally thought if the performance of the Ford EcoSport is anything to go by

Note: clicking on the model names in legend turns the display for that model on/off; data is displayed from 1990 onwards, but starts in 1973 – access previous years using slider on bottom