US car sales analysis 2018 – Subcompact SUV segment

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

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Sales in the US Subcompact SUV segment rose by 31.5% to 601,943 in 2018, a significant increase on the 6.5% growth rate the segment recorded last year, and more in keeping with the almost-40% growth rate it recorded in 2016. This once again made it the quickest-growing segment, significantly outpacing the 20% growth rate recorded by the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment. But perhaps the best reflection of the frantic growth rate is the fact that the Subcompact SUV segment leaped over four other segment in just one year: SubcompactMinivanPremium Mid-sized SUV and Premium Large SUV segments. With the new Ford EcoSportHyundai Kona, and the new Nissan Kicks all getting off to a great start, the segment’s good fortune is sure to continue in years to come.

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


  • Jeep Renegade managed to hang onto the segment lead, despite losing 6% of sales compared to 2017
  • The recently-facelifted GM twins, Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax, saw their sales increase by 6% and 13%, respectively, allowing both of them to leap over Honda HR-V, which fell back to fourth place in the rankings on a sales decline of 9%
  • 2018 was a good year for new models in the segment – Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Kona immediately rose to fifth and seventh in the rankings, sandwiching last year’s debutant, Toyota C-HR, which itself experienced an almost doubling of sales
  • Hyundai Kona has been such a success, in fact, that in December it comfortably topped the sales charts for the segment, suggesting it may compete for class honors in 2019
  • Another new model which will only stretch its legs in 2019 is the new Nissan Kicks, which only went on sale in June 2018, but whose December sales figures bettered that of Ford EcoSport
  • The aging Mitsubishi Outlander Sport did well to record a sales increase of almost 20%, certainly outpacing the Mazda CX-3, whose facelift failed to lift stagnant sales, and the hapless Fiat 500X, now selling only around 5 units for every 100 sold of its cousin, Jeep Renegade

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