When a market segment is dominated by two cars for a long time, it’s big news when another one leapfrogs them both to snatch victory.
Such is the case with the subcompact car segment, which has been dominated by the Kia Soul and Nissan Versa for as long as it matters to keep track. But in April, the Hyundai Accent surprised by outselling both of them.
The Accent’s sales were up by a class-leading 57 percent for the month and 23 percent for the year, inflated MINI Clubman numbers notwithstanding. This surge propelled the Accent to nearly 13,000 sales, eclipsing the Soul’s 11,000 and the Versa’s 9,000.
The Soul’s sales were nearly flat at just under 1 percent for the month, but for the year it is still up by 7 percent. The Versa took a nose-dive in April, losing 5 percent for the month and 2 percent for the year, but it still kept the overall yearly sales lead.
As in previous months, the rest of the field are nowhere near the top contenders. In fact, along with the Accent and Soul, only the perplexing Mitsubishi Mirage and hyper-inflated Clubman have net positive gains for the month and year.
For the rest, the losses are pretty big. The Honda Fit’s sales are down 21 percent for the month and 32 percent for the year. The Chevy Sonic’s sales are down 41 percent for the month and 11 percent for the year. Both MINI Cooper’s sales are down, and the woeful Fiat 500L’s sales have losses in the 60 percent range.
Perhaps the ultra-low gas prices are hurting small car sales, or maybe, since the economy seems to be doing better, more people have more money to buy bigger cars than the entry-level models typically seen in this segment.
What do you think is causing the drop? Start the conversation in the comments below.
Subcompact Car Sales – April 2016
|Apr 2016 #||Mar 2016 #||Apr ’16/Mar ’16 %||Apr 2016/2015||YTD 2016 #||YTD 2016/2015 %|
|MINI Cooper 2-door||1,136||1,122||1.2%||-46.9%||4,422||-37.5%|
|MINI Cooper 4-door||976||1,300||-24.9%||-35.1%||4,428||-7.7%|
*NOTE: The MINI Clubman’s numbers are unnaturally high as the company was in the midst of a redesign last year and hardly sold any of the old Clubman models.
TFLcar doesn’t test too many subcompacts, so check out this video from the 2015 Pikes Peak Hill Climb as a race-prepped Honda Fit driven by Alex Lloyd takes to the course: