Sales of sports cars in the US were down 2% in 2019 as this type of vehicle accounts for 1.6% of the total US car market with fewer than 270,000 deliveries, of which more than two thirds (67.4%, down from 70% in 2018) were one of the three American muscle cars Mustang, Challenger or Camaro. These three are in a continuous battle for the title of America’s best selling sports car and the Mustang has been in the lead since 2016 while the Challenger knocked down the Camaro to grab the #2 spot in 2018 and stayed there in 2019. Just the Chevrolet Corvette and the Hyundai Veloster manage more than 10,000 annual sales in the US with the rest all below that threshold. The Veloster manages an 18% growth but its 12,800 sales are still a far cry from its peak of nearly 35,000 sales in the nameplate’s first full year of sales 2012. As recently as 2016, the first generation Veloster sold over 30,000 units in the US, but the second generation has proven much less popular. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is down 14% in 2019 to 7,750 sales which is its second consecutive year of declines but still above its 10-year average annual sales level of 7,500. The Porsche 718 is down 26% to the lowest annual sales for the Boxster and Cayman combined since 2012. The Toyota 86 is down 18%, its sixth consecutive year of declines after its peak at 18,300 sales in its first full year of sales 2013 (as the Scion FR-S). Its twin Subaru BRZ is faced with a similar trend: down from 8,600 in 2013 to 2,300 in 2019. The all-new BMW Z4 finds almost 3,000 buyers, which is the highest number for the nameplate since 2011 but far below its peak above 20,000 sales in 2003. The Z4’s platform sibling Toyota Supra sells at a similar level at just under 3k in its first year. The Fiat 124 Spider loses a quarter of its sales and production ended in 2019. The Nissan 370Z is down 31% to its lowest annual sales since its launch in 2009, while the Mercedes-Benz SLC and Audi TT remain niche players even in this niche segment, but none more so than the Alfa Romeo 4C with just 144 sales.
US compact sports car sales 2019
Compact sports car segment
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Fiat 124 Spider
Alfa Romeo 4C
In the large sports car segment, which accounts for just 16.1% of total US sports car sales, the Corvette is king with a 41.3% share and just a 4% decline despite the upcoming redesign which will make it a mid-engined sports car for the first time ever. Its nearly 18,000 sales is still the lowest since 2013, but 2020 may be a good year for the ‘Vette, if they can build and deliver enough of them. The eternal #2 in the US is the Porsche 911, also with more than 20% share. It too is down 4% in 2019 and sells more than double of its nearest rivals, the all-new BMW 8-Series and Mercedes-AMG GT, the latter of which sets a new annual sales record, almost triple the previous record. The Jaguar F-Type is stable, which allows it to distance the Mercedes-Benz SL, down 21%. The Lexus LC is one of the biggest losers in the segment together with the Audi R8 and Nissan GT-R, all down 38%. The LC will receive a drop-top version in 2020 and for the GT-R this is the fifth consecutive year of declines to its lowest annual sales as the model hasn’t been renewed since its launch in 2008. For the R8 this is the second-worst annual sales, after 2015 just before the second generation was launched. The Acura NSX manages a 40% gain, but from a very low base. This is still its second lowest annual volume since its relaunch in 2016 and it barely outsells the limited edition Ford GT. There are still some unsold, brand-new Lexus LFA out there, despite being produced until 2012, and three of them found a buyer in 2019, which means there are still about five brand-new ones available, undoubtedly for sky-high prices.
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