In the first three quarters of 2020, the midsized car segment in the US outperforms the compact car segment, but the share of the overall car market is still shrinking due to sales down 26%. The segment loses 0.8 percentage points of share and now makes up 10.3% of the US car market. After a 31% loss in Q2, Q3 showed a nice improvement as the segment was down 15% in an overall market down 9.5%.
Not a single existing nameplate in the segment top-10 manages to sell more in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2019, and only two in the entire segment, bar the newcomers. The traditional leader Toyota Camry outperforms the segment with a 21% decline, which makes it the best performing model in the top-4. The Camry was down by just 4% in Q3, while the Honda Accord lost nearly 25% that quarter. The Nissan Altima started the year in 2nd place, before dropping behind the Accord after Q2, and is now under threat from the Tesla Model 3 for the last podium position. The electric sedan outsold the Altima by 15,000 units in Q3, when the Japanese sedan lost 45% of its sales. The Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu both lost about 22% in the third quarter which is a slight improvement over their respective performances in the first half of year. Best perfomer in the top-10 in Q3 was the Hyundai Sonata with sales up 7.5%, but that’s not enough for a year-to-date improvement. Its South-Korean sibling Kia Optima has been replaced by the all-new K5, which sold its first 10,000 units in Q3 for an overall #20 spot, just behind the Mazda6. The VW Passat quadrupled its sales in the third quarter of 2020 to return into the black year-to-date. Its sibling VW Arteon is up 78% for the year so far, but sells only a fraction of the Kia Stinger, which is down just 6%.
Luxury midsized cars increase their share of the class from 25.9% to 26.8%. The leader of the luxury midsized segment is obviously the Model 3, with sales down 15% (-2% in Q3), although these figures remain estimates since Tesla doesn’t break down regional sales figures. Behind it, the Lexus ES outsells the BMW 3-Series in the third quarter to grab the #2 spot year-to-date. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is hit full frontal, with sales down 46% (-33% in Q3) but stays ahead of the Acura TLX and Audi A4. The latter outsold the TLX in Q3 and is looking to take back its spot by year end. The A4 and its sibling Audi A5 both leapfrog the Infiniti Q50 in the YTD ranking, and the Volvo 60-Series is looking to do the same. In fact, the Swedish sedan and wagon sold just 30 fewer units in Q3 than the TLX. The Genesis G70 can’t live up to the expectations raised by good press reviews, having already peaked and stuck below the Lexus IS and barely ahead of the Alfa Romeo Giulia. The BMW 4-Series is about to be replaced and should make its way back up the ranking again, while Jaguar has decided to give up on the XE in North America as 1,286 sales in 9 months is just too little to make an impact. Newcomer Cadillac CT4 sold 1,500 units in Q3, still less than half of the Lincoln MKZ.
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