US car sales analysis Q2 2019 – Subcompacts

Subcompact segment returns to black on the back of rejuvenated Fiesta sales

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Sales in the US Subcompact segment rose by 4.3% in the first half of 2019, raising hopes that the segment will arrest its decline, where its sales have almost halved between 2016 and 2018. However, with no new entrants on the horizon and with many manufacturers debating on whether to even replace their current models (Ford will not replace the Fiesta, for example), the signs are that the segment may shrink back to the size it was in the early 2000s.

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


  • Kia Soul opened up its lead to its arch-rival, Nissan Versa, thanks to slightly faster growth (11% vs 7% so far this year); it will be interesting to see whether the new Vader-faced model will open up an even larger lead in the second half of the year
  • Ford Fiesta was once again the star performer of the segment, with sales rising by more than half so far in 2019 (including sales growth of almost 70% in Q2’19 alone), putting it well clear of the chasing pack and within shooting distance of the second-place Versa
  • The aging Honda Fit saw its sales fall by almost a third so far in 2019, by far the worst performance from all but the bottom-ranked models
  • Toyota Yaris sedan saw its sales rise by a whisker, a pretty bad performance given that the brand shifted all its focus to this model after all but pulling the plug on the Yaris hatchback and Prius C models (the brand’s performance across its three models in this segment was in fact a 20% sales decline)
  • The about-to-be-replaced Hyundai Accent remained ahead of the new Kia Rio (not a great performance for the latter), leaving the de facto wooden spoon to the Chevy Sonic

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

  1. Ford has refused to fix a groaning number of mechanical problems with the Fiesta (and the Focus too). Instead of fixing their cars, they’ll just kill them. No cars, no car problems.

    1. Ford has lots of problems with Ford of Europe, because the cars which are “born” here don’t fit in Ford’s imagined future with tons of SUVs.(Mondeo will be an SUV, too.) The thing that they are unreliable in Europe doesn’t mean they are necessarily the same in the US: they have to meet different emission regulations and the engines are built in different ways + diesels don’t play a role in America. The strict European emission regulations cause the sad fact that many times engines don’t last a 100000 kms and have to be replaced or simply just catch fire. I wouldn’t be in the shoes of automotive engineers these days…

  2. Hi, is there anything wrong with the sales chart of Toyota Prius C? This model’s sales figure in 2017 is not displayed, neither its sales figure in 2019, but if you download the chart, there are figures for “2019a” and “2018a”… Confusing… So what does the label “2017 AP” refer to???

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