US car sales analysis 2020 – Subcompact cars

Subcompact car sales in the US are down 38% in 2020, in an overall market down 14%, making it the worst performing class, equal to large sedans. At just under 215,800 sales, this is the lowest sales in this segment since 2005, when the Scion tC led the class ahead of the Scion xB and the Hyundai Accent. Back to 2020, when the share of the subcompact car class dropped 0.4 percentage points to just 1.5% of the US car market. Low fuel prices and the ever-increasing popularity of crossovers are of course the main factors for this decline, but also a lack of new product. Honda and Toyota have both revealed their plans to exit the segment this year, following Ford and Fiat.

Not a single nameplate manages to sell more in 2020 than in 2019 and only three models are down by a single digit. The Kia Soul consolidates its segment leadership despite losing 27% of its sales, but its nearest rival Nissan Versa scored a big fourth quarter with sales up 90% to grab the top spot for the quarter. The redesigned Versa finished the year with sales down 28% on 2019, after a 47% decline after three quarters. The Honda Fit and Kia Rio also gain share with single digit declines, allowing the latter to leapfrog its sister model Hyundai Accent, which moves with the segment average at -38%. The Chevrolet Sonic also closes in on the Accent with sales down just 7%.

The Toyota Yaris, now only available as a hatchback, is down 71% on 2019 when most of its sales were the sedan, while the Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500L have already been pulled from the market. Toyota will soon follow, and Honda is not planning to bring the new generation Fit to the US, despite already selling that model in Japan, China and Europe.

US subcompact car sales 2020

Subcompact segment 2020 2019 Change Share Share
1 Kia Soul 71.862 98.033 -27% 33,4% 28,2%
2 Nissan Versa 48.273 66.596 -28% 22,4% 19,2%
3 Honda Fit 32.488 35.414 -8% 15,1% 10,2%
4 Kia Rio 23.927 24.961 -4% 11,1% 7,2%
5 Hyundai Accent 15.975 25.628 -38% 7,4% 7,4%
6 Chevrolet Sonic 13.007 13.971 -7% 6,0% 4,0%
7 Toyota Yaris 6.422 21.916 -71% 3,0% 6,3%
8 Ford Fiesta 3.354 60.148 -94% 1,6% 17,3%
9 Fiat 500L 475 771 -38% 0,2% 0,2%
Segment total 215.308 347.438 -38%

Source: Manufacturers.