Sales of minicars continue to plummet in the US, with sales down 36% in the first three quarters of 2022, in an overall market down 13%. Manufacturers have been struggling with getting cars out of their factories due to worldwide microship supply issues, and they’ve been prioritizing production of high-margin models over their smallest models. However, the segment recovers in the third quarter with sales up 20% in a stable overall market as supplies are coming back online. The share of minicars has almost halved to just 0.3% of the total passenger car market in the United States, with just under 35,000 deliveries in 2022 so far.
Sales of last year’s top seller, the Chevrolet Spark, were off to an extremely slow start of 2022 but are recovering quickly now that production has restarted. The Spark was the best selling minicar in the third quarter of 2022, with a gain of 68% on the same period last year. Still, the smallest Chevrolet is down 55% year-to-date and in third place behind the Mitsubishi Mirage and Mini Cooper. The Mirage sees its deliveries drop by more than one third in Q3 and is down 31% year-to-date. It still holds a 36.6% share of the segment, just ahead of the Mini. The latter oustold the Mirage in Q3 when it was up 44%. As a result, the Mini has improved from -30% in the first half to -11% in the first three quarters. If it keeps up this momentum, it will finish the year with an improvement over 2021. The Fiat 500 is no longer sold in North America.
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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