US car sales analysis 2021-Q1 – Minicars

Minicar sales in the US beat the overall market in the first quarter of 2021, at +27% vs +12%. 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 22,000 minicars were sold in Q1 of 2021, which is 0.6 percent of the total passenger car market in the United States.

All three surviving nameplates outpace the market growth, although that’s largely because Q1 of 2020 was extra harsh on them. The Chevrolet Spark remains the big player in the class with over 50% share of the segment, although that’s slighly down from Q1 of 2020, but up from its share in all of 2020. The Spark is up 23%, 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 49%, while the Mini Cooper is up 21% and 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-Q1

Minicar segment 2021-Q1 2020-Q1 Change Share
1 Chevrolet Spark 11.505 9.352 23% 52,2%
2 Mitsubishi Mirage 6.932 4.646 49% 31,4%
3 Mini Cooper 3.614 2.980 21% 16,4%
4 Fiat 500 4 327 -99% 0,0%
Segment total 22.055 17.305 27%

Source: Manufacturers.