US car sales analysis 2021 first half – Minicars

Minicar sales in the US continue to beat the overall market in the first half of 2021, at +43% vs +29%. That also makes it the best performing car segment so far this year, as it also was in 2020. However, it’s also still the smallest segment in absolute terms, by a large margin. Just over 42,000 minicars were sold in the first six months of 2021, which is 0.5 percent of the total passenger car market in the United States.

All three surviving nameplates outpace the market growth, although that’s largely because the first half of 2020 was extra harsh on them. The Chevrolet Spark remains the big player in the class but drops below the 50% share of the segment it held in Q1. It’s also down from the first half of 2020 and in all of 2020. The Spark is up 31%, some of this can be explained by Chevrolet axing the subcompact Sonic which could push some potential buyers a segment down. Best performer is the Mitsubishi Mirage, up 62% thanks to updates, while the Mini Cooper is up 58% thanks to a very strong second quarter in which it sold just 600 units fewer than the Mirage. The Mini remains in third place. Deliveries of the Fiat 500 have come to a halt as the new generation of the Italian minicar is not scheduled to come to North American dealerships.

With the minicar segment in decline even in its “home market” Europe, and just irrelevant sales in the United States, the future is bleak for this type of vehicle. Especially considering gas prices are expected to remain low in the foreseeable future and Americans’ appetite for full sized trucks and SUVs, very few people are looking to spend their money on a car this size.

US minicar sales 2021 – first half

Minicar segment 2021-H1 2020-H1 Change 2021 Share 2020 Share
1 Chevrolet Spark 19.259 14.663 31% 45,0% 49,1%
2 Mitsubishi Mirage 13.722 8.453 62% 32,1% 28,3%
3 Mini Cooper 9.765 6.170 58% 22,8% 20,7%
4 Fiat 500 12 566 -98% 0,0% 1,9%
Segment total 42.758 29.852 43%

Source: Manufacturers.