US sales 2016 Q1-Q3 Subcompact SUV segment


The booming sales growth of the subcompact crossover segment is starting to flatten out, with “just” 18% growth in Q3 of 2016, compared to almost doubling in size in the first half of the year. Of course, as successful newly released models celebrate their first anniversary, and no new models hit the market, it’s only natural for sales to stabilize somewhat. Still, the segment outgrows the overall market fairly and squarely, and only two out of the seven models in the segment lose volume, with four out of the remaining five still in double or even triple digit growth. The segment leader Jeep Renegade is starting to lose its dominance, with just 25 sales separating it from the segment #2 in the third quarter.

Highlights for January – September 2016:

  • While the Renegade is still the commanding leader of the segment year-to-date, the facelifted Chevrolet Trax almost stole the top spot in the third quarter, closing in by just 25 sales. The Renegade gained 13% in Q3 and has still more than doubled its 2015 sales, but the Trax was up 37% in Q3 and +26% year-to-date.
  • However, the Trax is still in fourth place of the segment for the first nine months of the year, as the Honda HR-V holds on to the second spot despite being, #3 in the third quarter with a 45% increase on the same period last year.
  • The Buick Encore was within 22 sales of the HR-V in the first half, but the latter has opened a gap in Q3, when the Encore gained just 7% on 2015 and lost 1.800 sales on its nearest rival as it dropped to 4th place for the quarter.
  • The big loser of the segment is the car that started it all, the Nissan Juke. As a new generation Juke is desparately needed, the model loses 46% in Q3 and is now down 24% for the year. It was outsold by the Mazda CX-3, which celebrated its first anniversary in August. The CX-3 is unlikely to catch the Juke by year-end, as it suffers from Mazda-itis: no matter how good looking or well-driving, the Mazda appears to always be stuck in the bottom quarter of the segment in the US, and Europe for that matter.
  • At least the CX-3 beats the Fiat 500X, already down 30% despite being launched in Q2 of 2015 and an utter failure in the US, probably due to a combination of unknown brand identity and a limited dealer body, especially compared to the technically identical Renegade.
  1. Hey, Krzysztof.

    What do you think of future perspectives for Fiat brand in US? I feel sad that brand is not received well by the market this far. Maybe it’ll change in the future?

  2. The Fiat 500X is a huge success in Europe and the styling (in my opinion) is sophisticated and tasteful for such a small car. I think the author is correct: Unknown or negative brand awareness and a lack of enough dealers is the problem. The whole re-introduction of Fiat was rushed and poorly executed. Let’s face it, they need to merge all Fiat dealers with regular Chrysler dealers.

    1. I agree with your opinion on 500X design. I work at a multi-brand car dealership, I have an access to 500X all the time and it looks absolutely stunning in my opinion. I’d get one for myself for sure. I don’t understand why Americans don’t want it.

    2. Good point there, Stephen. I think that’s what FCA is doing right now: offering the existing Fiat dealers the opportunity to merge their franchise with their existing Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-RAM store, which saves them a lot of money on annual dealer services subscriptions, since they won’t have to buy separate subscriptions for a stand-alone Fiat store anymore. This also makes adding the Fiat franchise cheaper for other FCA dealers who donn’t carry the brand yet.
      They should’ve done this from the get-go, anyone with half a brain can understand that it’s not a very sound business plan to build a stand-alone store for a brand with just 3 volume models in the smallest segments of the market.

  3. So what’s Fiat’s issue in the States? I understand the regular 500’s struggles, I think with low fuel prices most small cars seem to be hard to sell. But the 500X is by common consent Fiat’s best product in years, & yet in a market that loves SUV’s they cannot give them away, is it a problem with the 500X, or does the Fiat name still have all the wrong history around it?

  4. I suspect that the problem with the FIAT 500x in the US is the competition from within FCA, created by the Jeep Renegade. Jeep is a strong brand in the US and they are basically the same car under the skin – so why would an American buy a FIAT?

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