US car sales analysis 2019 – Minicars

Despite the low fuel prices and all the talk about Americans buying fewer cars, especially small cars, the minicar segment in the United States has managed to actually grow in 2019, showing a 6% increase to over 80,000 sales, which means it still holds a tiny share of 0.5% of the total US car market. The two best selling nameplates in the segment happened to be the only two to improve their sales volume, and both did so by double digits, while the remaining three all lost by double digits.

The Chevrolet Spark has reclaimed the segment crown from the Mitsubishi Mirage thanks to a 33% improvement to over 31,000 sales, giving it a share of 38.8% of the segment.  Together with the Mirage, the two biggest players now hold 72.2% of the segment, with the Mini Cooper in third holding another 23% of the segment, despite seeing its sales slide 15%. The small Mitsubishi actually set a new annual sales record for the nameplate, as it has done every year since its launch in 2013, but on the other hand 2019 marks the fourth consecutive year of declining sales for the Mini, and it sells now less than half of what it sold in 2015. For the Fiat 500, the cliff is even steeper, with a 39% decline just in 2019, which is its seventh consecutive year of lower sales, at 92.5% lower than its peak year of 2012. We’ve said goodbye to the Smart brand and the tiny Smart Fortwo in 2019, after becoming an EV-only brand sales remained below 100 per month and parent company Daimler decided it would be easier to just euthanize the brand in the US.

US minicar sales 2019

Minicar segment 2019 2018 Change
1 Chevrolet Spark 31.281 23.602 33%
2 Mitsubishi Mirage 26.966 24.316 11%
3 Mini Cooper 18.558 21.734 -15%
4 Fiat 500 3.267 5.370 -39%
5 Smart ForTwo 680 1.276 -47%
Segment total 80.752 76.298 6%

Source: Manufacturers.

  1. …and one year later:

    “We’ve said goodbye to the Fiat brand…parent company FCA decided it would be easier to just euthanize the brand in the US.” 🙂

  2. Doug Demuro said in a video that all cute, fun, small cars were dead: the Beetle, the MINI, the 500, and the smart ForTwo. Sadly, he’s mostly right (the MINI’s not dead. . .yet). Also, sadly, ugly is the new cool: the Spark is surprisingly selling better than I expected.

    1. I’m not surprised the Spark leads the segment again. Although it’s made in Asia, It wears an American badge. It’s cheap (starting at 13k) and thus offers a lot of value for money. Exactly what Americans like. In my opinion the Spark looks better than the current Mini.
      Compact SUVs have made small luxury cars even more redundant in the States. The Mini starts at 23k and it’s still a small hatch. They can buy a Chevy Trax for less money. And they do.

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