US sales 2017 Q3: Small Sports segment

Mazda MX-5 narrows in on the lead as segment sales collapse by half in Q3’17The decline in Small Sports car sales went from troubling to almost catastrophic, as sales fell by almost half in the third quarter of 2017, worse than even the perennially underperforming Minicar segment. 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 Q3 2017:

Mazda MX-5
  • With a collapse in sales of over two-thirds compared to Q3’16, it’s a miracle that Hyundai Veloster held onto the segment lead – the only reason it was able to do so was that the growth in demand for the Mazda MX-5 Miata slowed down to 12% in the third quarter of 2017, a much lower rate than in the first two quarters
  • After seeing its sales fall during the transition between brands, the Toyota 86 (née Scion FR-S) reduced its sales decline to a reasonable 10% in the third quarter, although this still meant the model is coming under attack from the comfort-oriented cabrio Buick Cascada (sales up 38% in Q3’17)
  • While the headline figures shows a 157% YTD sales growth for the still-new Fiat 124 Spider, the reality is a bit more complicated, with the model seeing its sales fall by 12% in Q3’17 – not a great omen for a model that’s barely over a year old
  • Much like its Toyota twin, the Subaru BRZ did rather well in the last quarter, with its sales rising by a modest 6%
  • 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 over 80% of sales in the third quarter – signaling the end of this model’s rather disappointing career