US car sales analysis 2019 Q2 – Small Sports segment

Only new Hyundai Veloster prevents segment from a serious sales decline

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Sales in the US Small Sports segment fell by 0.8% to 18,305 in the first half of 2019, which on first glance may suggest that the segment is holding steady. This, however, would be greatly misleading. In fact, the only model to see positive growth is the hugely popular (by segment standards) new Hyundai Veloster, whereas the rest of the models saw their sales fall by almost 20% relative to the same period in 2018. With the downturn in the market looming large, once can’t escape the feeling that the future is far from bring for this segment…

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


  • The segment-leading Hyundai Veloster saw its sales rise by almost 40%, as the model’s new version clearly resonates with buyers; however, it is doubtful the model will come anywhere close its almost-35,000 sales record it reached in 2012 – right now 15-20,000 seems like a more reasonable estimate for 2019
  • Every other model in the segment saw its sales fall, with the uniquely comfort-oriented Buick Cascada seeing the smallest sales decline of just 5%
  • The new Mazda MX-5 Miata saw its sales fall by 17% in only its second year on the market, with the projected 2019 sales of under 10,000 units showing just how much the segment has declined in the past three decades (sales in 1991: over 31,000)
  • Of the remaining cars the Toyobaru twins saw the biggest declines of 27% (Toyota 86) and 22% (Subaru BRZ), with the Fiat 124 Spider close behind on 19%

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

  1. Small segment, but a much needed one to brighten up the roads. These cars are still affordable In the States: Veloster – 17,6k, MX-5 Miata – 25,7k.

    1. @Losange – absolutely agree, and it’s sad to see the segment decline just as models such as the MX-5 Mk IV and Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ try to re-inject driving excitement into our daily lives!

  2. With all the vitriol that is usually reserved to Fiat I was expecting the MX-5 to be doing much better in comparison but its sales are dropping at roughly the same rate.

  3. I see a very obvious reason behind the losses in this arena. First, the boomers are getting old and no longer fit comfortably in many of these rides even though thei rlove for these machines has not waivered. Secondly, and not trying to be snarky…but it is true, the new driver generation aka millenial is WAY behind in even getting their licenses, learning how to drive properly and most blatantly, being able to do without all the electro goodies they are addicted too daily. A small sports car is the antithesis of their “needs”. Finally, many of us already own one of these vehicles, drive them a few thousand miles/yr, and due to the ever increasing price tags they carry, can’t justify an upgrade. My wife likes the look of her 2012 MX5 Miata GT PRHT better than the new one. I wanted to see 200 hp!

  4. Agree, save the manuals and you will safe the small affordable roadster otherwise will vanished in the next 10 years!

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