Minicars continue to lose market share in the US, with sales down 61% in the first quarter of 2022, in an overall market down 16%. Even record gas prices have been unable to reverse this trend, as worldwide supply shortages of microchips have left manufacturers scrambling to get vehicles out of their factories. And when they do, they prioritize high-margin products and not the smallest cars in their line-up, which have the slimmest margins. As a result, the share of minicars has halved to just 0.3% of the total passenger car market in the United States, with fewer than 8,500 deliveries in Q1.
Sales of last year’s top seller, the Chevrolet Spark, have all but come to a complete halt in 2022 as General Motors has chosen to prioritize production of its higher margin products like pickup trucks and SUVs. It’s expected production of the Spark will not restart, even when the supply of microchips is restored. That leaves just two remaining models in the class, with the Mitsubishi Mirage in the lead despite a 29% drop in deliveries to fewer than 5,000 in the quarter. This gives it a 57.9% share of the segment. The Mini Cooper is the best performing nameplate in the class with sales down just 9%, beating even the overall market.
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, as manufacturers are starting to put more focus on profitability than on sheer volume.
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