Minicar sales in the US are falling behind the overall market in the third quarter of 2021, at -39% vs -13%. Year-to-date, the minicar segment is now up 11% in an overall market up 13%. It’s still the smallest segment in absolute terms, by a large margin. Nearly 55,000 minicars were sold in the first nine months of 2021, which is 0.5 percent of the total passenger car market in the United States.
Of the three surviving nameplates, two 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 year-to-date and keeps its sales stable on the first three quarters of 2020. Its share of the class dips to just over 42%. Due to supply issues of the Spark, the Mitsubishi Mirage was the best seller in Q3 and is now up 30% year-to-date, but the gap to the Spark is too large for the Japanese minicar to take the segment crown this year. The Mini Cooper is up 16% for the year thanks to a strong third quarter in which it sold just 400 units fewer than the Spark. 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.
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