Sales of subcompact cars in the US are stable in the first three quarters of 2021, in an overall passenger car market up 13%. In the third quarter, subcompact car sales were down double the overall market decline at -27%. Subcompact cars now make up just 1.4% of the US car market, down from 1.5% in the first nine months of 2020. In Q3, their share was just 1.3%. Only four models from three brands will remain in this class after this year, with all other brands withdrawing.
Low fuel prices and the ever-increasing popularity of crossovers are of course the main factors for this decline in both market share and availability of models. Big winner in Q3 is the Kia Soul, taking 50% share of the segment sales for the quarter and reclaiming the lead from the Nissan Versa. The Versa is still the best performing model in the class year-to-date with sales up 67%, but that’s mostly a result of its very poor performance last year as Nissan cut down on fleet and rental deliveries in order to improve margins and resale values. The Soul and Versa combine for almost 7 out of 10 sales in this class this year.
The Kia Rio makes it two Kia nameplates on the segment podium, both in Q3 and the first nine months. Rio sales are up 32% so far this year, outperforming the class and the overall market. The Rio’s sister model Hyundai Accent is up to fourth place in 2021 and the last remaining model in the class, as all other are being pulled from the market. None had more than 51 sales in the third quarter.
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