US car sales analysis Q1 2018 – Premium Compact segment

Segment recovers after dismal 2017, although Lexus CT exit still pushes it into the red
US premium compact

Sales in the US Premium Compact segment fell by 7.5% to 18,119 in the first quarter of 2018, continuing the decline from 2017, albeit at a slower pace (the segment shrank by more than a quarter in 2017). With only the new Mercedes-Benz’s new A-class saloon on the horizon, 2018 might bring a repeat of 2017’s misery, as customers keep turning away from the mainstream premium models towards SUVs even faster than in the non-premium sectors.


  • After seeing sales of all models fall in 2017, the first quarter of 2018 brought a reversal of fortune for many models, with only two models that remain on the market seeing their sales fall
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA saw an unexpected rise of sales of over a third, comfortably leaping over last year’s segment-leading Audi A3 (sales down 26%)
  • Third-placed BMW 2-series and the aging, fourth-placed Acura ILX both saw healthy sales growth

Note: “AP” designates models that are classified in the Alternative Power segment, presented here for comparison; clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off

  • The facelifted BMW i3 saw its sales rise by a useful 42%, allowing it to leap over Mini Clubman which, like much of the brand, seems to be suffering declining sales as soon as the models hit their third year on the market
  • Finally, it is interesting to note that if it were not for the exit of the Lexus CT the segment would have seen overall sales growth in Q1’18

Note: clicking on the model names in legend turns the display for that model on/off; data is displayed from 1990 onwards, but starts earlier – access previous years using slider on bottom