US sales analysis Q2 2019 – Compacts

Compact segment is heading towards one of its worst year of the past three decades

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Sales in the US Compact segment fell by 15.5% to 821,200 in the first half of 2019. If the segment’s performance turns any more sour, 2019 may mark its biggest sales decline of the past three years, topping the 17% sales decline the segment experienced in 2009. In fact, with few new models on the horizon the segment’s decline appears set to continue, as buyers continue to migrate to Subcompact SUVs and Compact SUVs.

Note: “AP” designates models that are classified in the Alternative Power segment, presented here for comparison; clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off


  • Remarkably, only two models in the Top 10 experienced sales growth in the first half of 2019: the new Volkswagen Jetta has been doing well for its maker, with sales up by almost a half, while the new Toyota Corolla hatchback has done even better to see its sales rise by almost two-thirds on the first half of 2018, although the extra sales have not been enough to make up for the sales decline of its sedan sibling
  • From among the remaining Top 10 models the least disappointing performances probably came from Honda Civic, holding strong in the segment lead, and the soon-to-be-replaced Nissan Sentra (sales down just 5%)
  • On the flip-side, the most disappointing performances in the Top 10 probably came from the extensively-facelifted Hyundai Elantra (sales down 15%), the still-new Subaru Impreza (sales down 20%), and of course the Chevrolet Cruze (sales down by almost half)
  • Further down Honda Insight did well to jump to 13th in the rankings, selling more than half of the units of the subsegment-leading Toyota Prius*, outselling the once-mighty Ford Focus (whose sales all but ceased in Q2’19), easily outselling its regular hybrid (Hyundai Ioniq, sales down 12%) and plug-in competitors (Toyota Prius Prime, sales down 40%, and Chevy Volt, down 50%)

*estimates (Toyota no longer breaks out sales of individual Prius models)

Note: clicking on the model names in legend turns the display for that model on/off; data is displayed from 1990 onwards, but starts earlier – access previous years using slider on bottom