The Minicar segment in the United States has returned to growth in 2017 after an abysmal 2016 when sales dipped with double digits. In the first quarter of 2017, sales of North America’s smallest vehicles grew by 8.5% to 27,388 units. Fueling this increased demand were the new generation Chevrolet Spark and the facelift of the Mitsubishi Mirage, which have now taken over the first two spots of the segment podium, knocking the former leader Mini Cooper down to third. The Fiat 500 appears to have hit rock bottom and slightly recovers this year
Highlights for Q1 2017:
The Chevrolet Spark already started to improve in Q4 of 2016 and continues to do so in the first quarter of 2017. Despite improving at double the growth rate of the Mitsubishi Mirage, the Japanese minicar takes over the segment lead thanks to a solid month of February, as the Spark was the best seller in both January and March. This promises to be an interesting battle for the rest of the year.
The Mini Cooper range (Hardtop 2-door, 4-door and Convertible), continues to lose volume and lost its segment lead following the introduction of the compact-sized Clubman. The 4-door is the biggest loser of the range, with sales down by almost half (from 3,452 to 1,793), while the Convertible sold 1,315 units in Q1 of 2017 compared to just 8 in the same period a year earlier, as the new generation drop-top didn’t arrive Stateside until April of that year.
A bright spot for the plagued Fiat brand, as its best seller 500 appears to have stabilized its losses with a gain of 6.4% in Q1. The Smart ForTwo continues to decrease with double digits, as gasoline prices a showing no signs of rising anytime soon.
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