US sales 2017 first half: Small Sports segment

Mazda MX-5 almost takes the segment lead, as RWD cars soar and FWD cars crashThe Small Sports segment lost an astonishing 31.6% sales in the second quarter of 2017, a bad performance second only to that of the Minicar segment that lost almost half its sales over the same period. Combined with the slower decline experienced by the segment in the first quarter of the year, sales in the segment were 22.8% smaller in the first half of 2017 than in 2016. Although there is some hope in the form of the new Hyundai Veloster, that car won’t arrive until sometime in 2018 – until then, it’s likely sales will continue declining.

Highlights for the first half of 2017:

Mazda MX-5
  • The segment-leading Hyundai Veloster suffered a huge fall in demand, with sales lower by 38% than they were in the first half of 2016, and almost lost its lead to the resurgent new Mazda MX-5 Miata (sales up 30%)
  • In fact, it’s interesting that the FWD cars in the segment are the ones that suffered the biggest losses, while the RWD cars either gained sales, or saw them decline only slightly. Many expected that the demise of the Scion brand and the once-popular tC model would have buyers of that (FWD) car move to similar products, such as the Hyundai Veloster, but in practice the opposite seems to have happened
  • Toyota 86 took over the mantle of the now-defunct Scion FR-S rather well, and in keeping sales broadly similar to what they were in 2016 was able to jump to third in the standings, ahead of the Buick Cascada convertible that lost 13% in sales so far this year
  • The relative newcomer, Fiat 124 Spider, has done pretty well, outselling the Subaru BRZ so far in 2017, although its twin, Mazda MX-5 Miata, sold almost three times as well
  • The “small sports car of the future”, the slow and rather un-sporty hybrid Honda CR-Z, closed off the ranking of cars still actively sold in the US, losing more than half of its 2016 volume, and selling barely over 500 units so far in 2017