US car sales analysis 2018 – Subcompacts

Segment posts a decline of over 20% for the second consecutive year of 20% plus decline

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Sales in the US Subcompact segment fell by 20.7% to 374,518 in 2018, making it the second year in a row that the segment has lost more than 20% of sales. As a result, total sales are now 43% lower than their 2014 peak. Moreover, with no new entrants on the horizon and with many manufacturers debating on whether to even replacetheir current models (Ford will not replace the Fiesta, for example), the signs are that the segment may shrink back to the size it was in the early 2000s.

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


  • Despite a strong start to the year, Nissan Versa could not sustain the challenge to its arch-rival, Kia Soul, with the Korean hatch taking the segment honors once again, and opening up the largest lead since it overtook the Nissan in 2011
  • Ford Fiesta showed that it is still more than up for a fight, despite its imminent exit and the fact that it has already been replaced by a newer generation in Europe, overtaking the Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent, the latter losing more than half its sales due to model changeover
  • Toyota Yaris sedanChevrolet Sonic and Toyota Prius C all saw their sales fall by around 30%, allowing the new Kia Rio to gain one spot in the rankings at the expense of the Chevy
  • The hatchback Toyota Yaris put in one of the worst performances of 2018, seeing its sales fall to just a fifth (!) of its 2017 level

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