US sales analysis Q2 2018 – Compact segment

Aging Nissan Sentra is the only top 10 model to see sales rise as segment’s decline accelerates

Sales in the US Compact segment fell by 11.7% to 976,19 in the first half of 2018, as the rate of sales decline rose yet again: from the 3.8% decline in 2017 overall, 7.0% in Q4’17, and 10.1% in Q1’18, to 13.1% in the latest quarter. With the new VW Jetta now on sale, the new Ford Focus about to enter the market and a new Toyota Corolla not far behind the segment’s fortunes may be about to start recovering, but with the exodus of customers to the Compact SUV segment continuing unabated that may be a tall order.


  • Given the segment’s decline it was remarkable that three out of the Top 4 models saw their sales change only little, with the Nissan Sentra being the only Top 10 model to eke out any growth, while the 10% sales decline of the second-placed Toyota Corolla was mitigated somewhat by the 7% rise in the sales of the hatchback Corolla iM
  • Chevrolet Cruze and the Volkswagen duo Jetta and Golf continued demonstrating how customers are moving to Compact SUVs, with sales down by 27%, 40% and 47%, respectively, as sales soar for their crossover versions: Chevrolet Equinox and Volkswagen Tiguan L
  • Sales of most of the rest of the mainstream compact models fell by 5 and 20%, with the exception being the not-long-for-this-world Mitsubishi Lancer (sales down 58%)
  • The fourth-generation Toyota Prius and the previous-generation Prius V continues to lose sales (down 23% YTD) at the expense of not just new competitors, such as Honda InsightKia Niro (sales up 12%) and Hyundai Ioniq (sales up 76%), but also due to the success of the plug-in Toyota Prius Prime
  • In the land of EVs, the new Nissan Leaf finally went on sale, resulting in a 3.9% sales growth in the second quarter of the year, while sales of the Chevrolet Bolt fell for the first time ever (down 22.7% in the second quarter)

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