US car sales analysis 2021-Q1 – Subcompact cars

The subcompact car segment in the US sees virtually flat sales in Q1 of 2021, in an overall passenger car market up 12% as Q1 of 2020 was a difficult period due to COVID-19 related lockdowns and economic uncertainty. Subcompact cars now make up just 1.5% of the US car market. Only the two top players in the class manage to improve their sales, with the #3 reporting flat sales and all others showing double digit declines.

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 Chevrolet, Ford and Fiat. Big winner in 2021 is the Nissan Versa, thanks to the new generation, with sales up 84% to claim over 38% share of the class. To be fair, the Versa struggled extra hard in 2020 as Nissan cut down on fleet and rental deliveries in order to improve margins and resale values, but this strategy appears to be paying off in 2021. That knocks the Kia Soul into second place with 3% more deliveries than last year, while the Kia Rio jumps onto the podium thanks to stable deliveries.

The Honda Fit is down 16% as the new generation is still not planned for US dealers, despite being sold already in all other markets for more than a year. The Hyundai Accent is down 11%, while all other models are due to be axed for the US market.

US subcompact car sales 2021-Q1

Subcompact segment 2021-Q1 2020-Q1 Change Share
1 Nissan Versa 22.394 12.176 84% 38,6%
2 Kia Soul 17.191 16.713 3% 29,6%
3 Kia Rio 6.818 6.845 0% 11,8%
4 Honda Fit 6.065 7.179 -16% 10,5%
5 Hyundai Accent 4.272 4.807 -11% 7,4%
6 Chevrolet Sonic 1.065 4.341 -75% 1,8%
7 Toyota Yaris 131 2.401 -95% 0,2%
8 Fiat 500L 69 130 -47% 0,1%
9 Ford Fiesta 0 2.723 -100% 0,0%
Segment total 58.005 57.315 1%

Source: Manufacturers.