US car sales analysis Q1 2018 – Subcompact segment

Sales of all models fall as segment dips below 100,000 for the first time in over a decade

Sales in the Subcompact segment fell by 18.7% to 99,099 in the first quarter of 2018, declining below the 100,000 level for the first time in over a decade. Given this rate of decline, it is far from clear whether the already-revealed new Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio, or the incoming Kia Soul, will be enough to inject enough new vigor into a segment that customers seem to be abandoning for larger Compact and more trendy Subcompact SUV cars.


  • Nissan Versa is back on top of the segment standings after losing the battle with Kia Soul in 2017, despite losing 18% of sales compared to 10% for its Korean competitor
  • Sales of the Hyundai Accent collapsed by half as the new model is slowly phased in, causing the model to drop from third in 2017 to sixth in Q1’18
  • Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit were the least-bad performers in fourth and fifth, a particularly good performance for the aged Ford, which had already been replaced in other markets by a new generation model
  • Sales of Toyota models fared rather poorly: while sales of the Yaris iA, once a Scion-branded version of the Mazda 2 sedan, fell by only 15%, this is flattered by the fact that the brand clearly switched its focus to this model, all but abandoning its original hatchback offering, the Yaris (sales down 88%), while its hybrid Prius C saw its sales fall by 40%
  • Towards the end of the standings, the past-its-sell-by-date Chevrolet Sonic battled on, losing 21% of sales, while the Kia Rio suffered even more than its Hyundai cousin during the model handover, losing almost two-thirds of its sales from Q1’17

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