The compact car segment in the US falls at more than double the overall market decline at -32%. Nearly 712,000 deliveries in the first three quarters of 2022 make up just 7% of the US passenger car market, down from 8.8% last year. No nameplate in the top-15 sells more than it did in the first half of last year. In the third quarter, compact car sales were down 19% in a stable overall market.
Like last year, the Toyota Corolla is unbeatable and it’s consolidating its class leadership by selling more than double the number of cars the Honda Civic did in the second and third quarters of the year. This is not so much on the strength of the Corolla, which sees 21% lower sales than last year, but on the weakness of the Civic. In fact, the Civic was outsold in Q3 by both the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte. The two South-Korean models are closing in on the #2 spot of the class, with the Elantra moving ahead of its sibling in the third quarter thanks to the redesign. The former #3 of the class Nissan Sentra is down by 43% so far this year, and the Volkswagen Jetta (-37%) and Toyota Prius (-47%) are also losing ground quickly. At least the Jetta was down just 5% in the third quarter. The Mazda3 drops to 10th place as the Subaru Impreza is up 47% in Q3 to almost return into positive territory for the year, while production of the Chevrolet Bolt has restarted, which made it the #6 seller in the third quarter.
The Subaru WRX also recovers in Q3 with sales down just 6%, but the model is still down 40% year-to-date. The Nissan Leaf struggles in the third quarter as it loses almost half of its sales compared to last year. In contrast, the Volkswagen Golf show strength now that the GTI and R versions of the latest generation are fully available in the US, allowing it to move ahead of the outgoing Honda Insight.
Luxury compact cars outperform their mainstream rivals so far in 2022. With sales up 15%, their share of the class improved from 4% to 6.7%. The BMW 2-Series is down 27% but holds on to the top spot among luxury models despite a drop to 12th place overall. The redesigned Audi A3 is the best performing existing nameplate in the class, with sales up five-fold, moving into 16th overall and 2nd among luxury models, just ahead of the Polestar 2 EV. The Acura ILX has been replaced by the all-new Integra which moves up to #19 overall. The Integra was the best selling compact luxury car in the third quarter by a large margin and could finish 2022 on top of its subsegment. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLA both have a strong third quarter with the latter outselling the former and thus closing in year-to-date. The Mini Clubman is relatively stable at -2% in Q3 and -7% YTD while the BMW i3 is no longer sold in the USA.
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