By on August 15, 2011

In contrast to rapid changes in the compact and midsized segments, the subcompact segment is moving along established trendlines. Kia’s Soul has completely overtaken this segment’s previous champ, but that’s been a long time coming. A new Accent is arriving at dealers, and that model’s starting to take off… in fact, if there’s news here, it’s that the Accent appears to be outselling the segment’s next-freshest offering, the Ford Fiesta. Otherwise, Aveo and Rio are dropping off ahead of their replacement by new models, the 500 is getting closer to MINI’s monthly volume, and Mazda2 can’t quite get past the Cube The YTD chart doesn’t show too many changes either… but watch this space as the A/B segment heats up with new models later this year.


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49 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: Subcompacts In July And Year To Date...”

  • avatar

    I realize that the data would likely be difficult if not impossible to obtain but that little perverted part of my persona would be ecstatic to see an average actual selling price of each vehicle appearing on the graph/chart/whatever the proper term is for the graphic displayed above.

    That particular info-bit MAY assist in mere commoners come to a surely subjective conclusion in regard to the “meaning” other than the macro-obvious as to the info conveyed by mere numbers of units tendered.

    Inquiring propaganda-laden semi-minds do not actually clamor to know but some within the localized herdlet would likely view that extra info as informative and would offer even more to comment about.

    • 0 avatar

      Here’s the data – and there are several models classified by my data source as subcompact that are not in the Chart of the Day. The info will not allow me to post in a table – so it is jumbled but as follows – after the model name the first number is the average # of days the model spent in inventory – the second number is the average incentive and the last number in the row is the average transaction price for July.

      Chevy Aveo 60, 2574, 15576
      Fiat 500 26, , 19987
      Ford Fiesta 27, 783, 17183
      Honda CR-Z 111, 285, 21561
      Honda Fit 55, 338, 17674
      Hyundai Accent 12, 252, 16694
      Kia Rio 74, 1159, 15847
      Kia Soul 32, 1135, 17653
      MINI Cooper 51, 1418, 25061
      Mazda MAZDA2 117, 1144, 16871
      Nissan Cube 91, 109, 18645
      Nissan Juke 17,, 23840
      Scion xB 78, 426, 18002
      Scion xD 78, 730, 16357
      Suzuki SX4 90, 1250, 18046
      Toyota Yaris 125, 666, 16091
      VW Golf 50,156, 22948
      smart fortwo 77, 571, 17944

      • 0 avatar

        Yikes. I am scared now.

        The Kia Rio’s average price is almost 16k? That’s the car that starts at 10k, right?

        The Cube is going for almost 19k? The hateful Juke for 23k?

        I guess I will never have a new car.

      • 0 avatar

        Just to clarify – the transaction price does NOT include the incentive – so you would theoretically subtract the two to get the average price the consumer paid.

  • avatar

    Here is a post where I’m guessing Silvy remains silent.

    • 0 avatar

      No, he’ll come up with some lame excuse to slam the Fiesta, probably based on transmissions or MyFordTouch. He’ll pretend that the Aveo doesn’t exist or insist that it is better with a straight face.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    An Enterprise Rental Car agent tried to upsell me to a mid-size car: The Kia Soul. True story!

    As for sub-compacts, would the Veloster fall in that category? I’m really eager to drive it.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe you. It happened to me too.

    • 0 avatar

      According to the EPA, the Kia Soul has 102 cubic feet of passenger room. That makes it bigger than a Malibu by 7 cubic feet. I’m not sure why it is listed here as a subcompact. It has 12 cubic feet of additional passenger space compared to the similar 2012 Ford Focus.

    • 0 avatar

      My niece got a Soul. Sitting next to her old Echo, it looks the size of an elephant and gets way worse mileage, which is her main beef with the car.

      Look at a Soul alongside a Fit, and you wonder who decided they were in the same size class. Someone yakking on a cell phone with ADD, I should imagine.

  • avatar

    I guess cute old school rapper spokesrodents really do sell a lot of iron.

    Dope, dop, dippity!

    I like the Soul on the outside, have sat in a couple and don’t like the interior at all, but I’m not the target demographic.

    Mazda2 sales are pathetic. Fiesta might not be as strong as Ford hoped but it is doing darn well. Going to guess that Yaris, xD and Fit are all earthquake supply restrained (xD is on the YTD chart)

    • 0 avatar

      Time for a little Kia Soul music

    • 0 avatar

      Ford’s original projections were for 30,000 to 70,000 Fiesta sales in the US per year, and the Fiesta’s YTD figure halfway through 2011 was 42,000, so it looks like they’ll actually beat their own projections by a decent margin. Even so, Fiesta demand seems to have softened from its 9k/month peak earlier this year (pressure from both in-house – the new Focus – and the new Accent among other rivals are probably playing a part in that).

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Don’t understand why Mazda 2 sales are so low, I actually would buy one before the Fiesta. Don’t trust the Fiesta Transmission. plus it’s a lot more money for basically the same car.

    • 0 avatar


      In other words…Kia was like any other car maker at the time and made some decent cars along with some crap?

      Thank you for your experience. I’m sure yours isn’t the exception because my parents have had cars from both GM and Ford that everybody else said were junk, but never broke down for my parents. The one exception being a Corsica that needed 2 extra engines within 12 months before GM bought it back.

      I often wonder if the reason some people bash them is because they used to make more inexpensive cars than the competition and made no qualms about it. Their thinking was that you needed inexpensive A-B and back to C transportation and didn’t need the latest in everything.

      EDIT: This was supposed to go down on the comment thread below, but my computer mucked it up. Hopefully, it isn’t too hard to place into context.

  • avatar

    The Kia Rio still exists? Holy crap. I remember that one of my friends drove a 5-door in high school, around 2001 vintage if I recall. It was an absolute joke of a car, and I remember that the Chrysler dealer gave him maybe $200 worth of trade-in credit for it even though it was still running when he bought a used Cherokee.

    Depressing to see that the Versa is so high on the list. But I guess that the illusory “Japanese reliability” and the bottom-dollar transaction price are too tempting to avoid. I can’t wait for junkyards to be full of them in 7-8 years time.

    Surprised to see the Yaris that low. It’s a cheap and nasty little thing but I’m surprised that the Toyota badging isn’t selling more of them.

    • 0 avatar

      Rio is getting a redesign (though actually more of a “re-skin”) this fall.

      • 0 avatar

        The current Rio was introduced as a 2006 model.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s a pretty substantial “reskin” and includes a healthy bump in the drivetrain (20+ HP, 6 speed tranny)…besides (again, optical preferences being like rear-end extraction devices, everybody has one), given that the former head of Audi’s design now works for Kia, I rather like the redesign of the Rio5. That being said, I’m a little surprised that the old Accent is holding up so well in the sales chart.

        PF, I’m guessing from your slant that you are decidedely NOT a fan of anything foreign…

      • 0 avatar

        The Accent’s sales are not that surprising. The new one was released not too long ago, and I believe is generally getting solid reviews, and you can probably find good deals on any of the remaining older ones as dealers try to clear it out of their inventory.

    • 0 avatar

      I find the Rio somewhat refreshing in its directness and simplicity. It has no delusions of grandeur. And not too many electronic gizmos fouling up your driving experience.

      I would prefer to drive it rather than a Corolla, for sure.

      But I have not owned a Rio, so I can’t comment on the costs and hassles of ownership.

      • 0 avatar

        What I know about the Rio is that pre-bankruptcy they were known, or so I’d heard, for, using Rolls-Royce’s euphemism, “failing to proceed.” I think I remember hearing about grenading transmissions and engines that thought better of providing propulsion.

        Of course, my interest in cars was slim to nill when Kia’s first offered the Rio for $8,800 or something similar 10 years or so ago.

      • 0 avatar

        I owned a 2001 Rio that I purchased brand new with the 5MT.

        I drove it for about 60k miles, then my brother drove it for another 60k miles. In those 120k miles, the only thing it ever needed was a clutch and brakes. Basic maintenance. (My brother couldn’t drive a stick to save his life.)

        We probably would have kept the car in the family longer had the mechanic not dropped it off the lift during the 2nd clutch replacement.

        The people who bash the Rio never owned one. It was basic transportation. It didn’t get excellent mileage, but it was zippy enough, it had air conditioning and a half decent radio and was very well priced.

  • avatar

    Wow – the Mazda 2 is selling that badly? I test drove a few of these cars listed and concluded that the Mazda 2 was the best handling of the bunch. So much for building cars for drivers. In my case I finally went for the cheapest car I could find… and I’m guessing based on these sales figures, that’s pretty much what most people shopping for cars in this segment have done.
    FYI, I just checked out Kia’s website. I had no idea they were selling a Special edition ‘Hamstar’ Soul.

  • avatar

    My non-scientific observations where I live is the Fit, Versa and Soul rule the B segment that I see with dealer tags.

    Yaris and Mini are a distant forth and fifth.

  • avatar

    I don’t know about Kia , but Hyundai is building all their new cars down to the base Accent with front legroom for real adults . Something the Japanese could take a lesson from since all their offerings on this list seem to have been designed with women and shorter men in mind . And that includes the Fiesta/Mazda 2 which are also penalty boxes compared to the stretch out front legroom in the Accent . So the Accent costs less (if you have a dealer in your area not adding a $1500 premium) has more interior room , comes standard with a six speed manual and has a 10 year/100K mile powertrain warranty . Is it any wonder it’s outselling these other cars ?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m 6’1, 260lbs and had no trouble getting comfortable in the front of the Fiesta – it’s the back seat where the trouble begins, and where the Accent has a clear advantage.

  • avatar

    I can’t believe Chevrolet still sells that silver-colored cow patty called the Aveo. Must be the worst chassis and engine I’ve ever had the displeasure of knowing…

    Not terribly surprised about the Mazda2 numbers. Ford really shot Mazda in the foot when they released the Fiesta at the same price point as the Mazda2.

    Mazda spent all of their engineering money on making smaller, fuel efficient engines, scraping pounds of weight from the wiring harness and speakers, designing brakes that don’t drag down your mpg on the highway and creating a light, ultra-stiff, boron-reinforced unibody. This makes the Mazda2 nearly as quick as the more powerful cars in the class and quite fuel efficient.

    Audi could tell them, from experience with the A2… selling high tech solutions like that doesn’t go over well with the consumer.

    Ford, on the other hand, gave the Fiesta a bigger hatch, loaded it with sound deadening, added a clever entertainment package, dropped in a cut-down six-speed dual clutch from the Focus, and shoved in a big 1.6 to compete with the Soul and Accent for engine-size bragging rights. It worked.

    Hyundai’s new Accent, when it finally goes full blast, will destroy the rest of the non-Souls in the segment. Tremendous amounts of legroom. Not for nothing has it been reclassified as a compact by the EPA… because it feels as big inside as a Civic.

    Everyone else should be deathly afraid.

    The Mazda2 deserves more respect than it gets. Maybe if it was sold as a three-door, people would see it for what it really is… a cut-priced MINI…

    • 0 avatar

      The Mazda2 is a great handling car…in desperate need of a real drivetrain (which, I believe, is coming).

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. The Accent is one of the better looking cars in the list (and the smaller Hyundai gets with this design language, the better the cars look). Actually IMO, it looks the the best of these, on the outside. But that is subjective. First time i saw one it was, “cool, what’s that?” Then, “they still make the Accent?”

      Don’t know how it drives but if it is %75 as good as the Ford, it’s game over for the next few years in this segment. I want to like the Mazda2, but it just looks cheap, it has no visceral appeal to me.

  • avatar

    Wow, I didn’t know the Mazda2 sales trailed the competitors by that much. I guess it really doesn’t pay to build a car for driving dynamics.

    I thought the car was plentiful on road here in Seattle, but that may have been because so many of them are in that bright green color that makes it really stands out. It is a very nice shade for the car.

    I wonder how much its low highway mileage hurts its sale. A car shopping friend didn’t believe me when I told him that the EPA combined mileage for the Fiesta and Mazda2 is the same (32MPG). All he remembered was the 35 HWY for Mazda2 and 40 HWY for Fiesta (SFE version, which wasn’t under his consideration).

    • 0 avatar

      Short gearing. Unfortunately. The Mazda2 only gets a 4AT, which is geared for power, so you’re cruising at high rpms on the highway.

      Seems like every single Mazda since the dawn of creation is like that. Only now it hurts more because the EPA highway cycle is tested at something like 70 mph… which puts the little Mazda somewhere between 3500-4000 rpm!

      That short gearing is how the 107 hp Mazda2 can get closer to the 0-60 times of the 120 hp Honda Fit than the 120 hp Fiesta with its 6-speed DCT can…

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps the Mazda2’s issue is content? Kids buying cars in this price class expect Bluetooth, flashing interior lights and iPod interfaces, none of which the 2 offers.

  • avatar

    Mazda 2 drives awesome, around town. Tons of fun, great handling. I loved it when I tested it. But on the truck-grooved surfaces that passes for highways around here it gets nervous and noisy at speed. The Fiesta (and maybe the Accent) is/are in another league at highway speeds.

  • avatar

    Where are all the Fiat 500’s going? I only see them occasionally here in Los Angeles.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve seen one…at the recent Minneapolis/St. Paul autoshow. Were the 500s released in limited markets to start?

      • 0 avatar

        The 500 will be in limited markets, to begin with…even after “full” roll-out. But yes, there was/is a general nation-wide roll-out plan (for instance, Alabama has one dealer in Birmingham only). That alone will most likely keep sales of the 500 down.

    • 0 avatar

      The 500’s are selling briskly in Winnipeg – I’ve already seen more than a dozen on the road, and they’ve only been available here for less than two months.

      Mrs. Monty and I went for a test drive – if the Versa, Aveo and Yaris are selling on price only, the 500 will sell on quality and fit & finish. It was an eye-opener for us. We have also tested the Versa, Mazda 2, Fiesta, Accent, Fit and Aveo, and we purchased a Yaris for our son.

      The fit and finish, quality of materials and overall engineering of the 500 will surprise most of you. It is not the FIAT product of 27 years ago. It felt and drove much larger, and the quality of material and amount of sound-deadening makes it seem like more of a $40K car than a $20K car.

      My wife is eagerly anticipating the Abarth version, with almost 50 more HP and a six manual. I think she is seriously considering factory-ordering and buying a brand new Abarth when it’s released in Canada, and she swore off new cars after the last nightmare new vehicle (96 Voyager). Her only complaints about the 500 were the lack of peppiness and the weird travel/pressure-point of the clutch, which should be solved by the Abarth version.

      The Mazda 2 comes up short against most of the other cars in the segment, save for the Aveo and Yaris. It didn’t feel premium, and it was horribly sluggish (the dealer didn’t have a single manual transmission version on the lot, so we had to do with the 4 speed auto – blech). I did feel like it was on rails when cornering, though.

      We drove the 2010 Accent, and I have to say that it impressed me, a lot. I had no problem merging and maintaining insane highway speeds in Arizona with it, even with the automatic tranny rental we had. It seemed well put together, even though it’s built with cheap material.

      The Fiesta? Sporty and fun to drive with the stick, but I sure wish Ford would serve it up with a 6 speed manual, or make 5th gear somewhat taller. Tiny back seat would be my other minor complaint, but for the rest of it, it felt like it should be worth $10k more than the next best car in the segment. It really feels and sounds luxurious. Dead quiet at 110 KPH (65 MPH) on our crappy highways.

      The Fit? Forgettable. It did nothing remarkable, and my impressions of it were instantly glossed over when we test drove the next car on the list. All I remember is the seat being uncomfortable, and it being jittery on the highway.

      Aveo and Versa? Not in a million years. We were interested in the Versa when it was first on sale, but having some seat time in a rental put us off it. The Aveo is not something I would recommend to even the cheapest person I know. I’d suggest a used Cavalier instead.

      The Yaris we bought? Dependable, reliable and efficient. Not fun to drive, and not very comnfortable, but it works for the kid, because, even with my constant nagging, he won’t do anything but the most basic maintenance, and yet it still keeps going, and after 5 years of ownership it hasn’t cost us a cent in repairs.

      The 500, once word of mouth gets around, will be a hot seller – you just wait and see. It’s a fantastic little car; it’s good enough to make me willing to suffer at the hands of a Chrysler dealer again, which I am loathe to do in even my most optimistic mood, but that little car makes me willing to try Chrysler again, even though I swore off them after the tranny issue in the van.

      • 0 avatar
        Secret Hi5

        –“The fit and finish, quality of materials and overall engineering of the 500 will surprise most of you. . . It felt and drove much larger, and the quality of material and amount of sound-deadening makes it seem like more of a $40K car than a $20K car.”

        Are you serious? I agree that the Fiat is a fun car to fling around and I like it for that aspect as well as the smile-factor, but I think the material quality and fit/finish are merely acceptable for its price range. (I’ve driven rental 500s a few times.) It’s possible that my standards are too high as I have not driven many other econo-compacts for comparison.

      • 0 avatar

        Secret Hi5 – Drive a Yaris, Rio or the excreble Aveo, and then test a 500 or Fiesta; it’s literally night and day difference. Maybe the rental spec’ed 500’s are lower trim levels, because we tested a 500 Lounge with all the goodies, and it was comfortable, quiet and luxurious feeling, even compared to our ’05 Focus SES.

        We’re looking at all sorts of cars right now, and I’ve even had a BMW 335i and a Audi A4 Stasis for a weekend each (both are up for sale by people we know, so I got extended seat time in both). The leather chairs in the FIAT are astoundingly comfortable, and I’m over 6′ and 225 lbs large. Not quite the quality of the Drier, but even with the seats in the Audi, and better than the seats in the G35 we considered.

        The switch gear, door handles and stick felt more substantial than any other small car I’ve had the (mis)fortune to drive.

        I would rank the Fiesta and the 500 as well up above any other car in this segment – they were both a pleasure to drive.

        I assume the new Hyundai Accent and the new Kia Rio will be vastly improved and close to the quality level of the Ford and FIAT, though, from everything I’ve read, but they’ll each have to be much more fun to drive to equal the other two.

  • avatar

    I think Fiat buys them and sends to Nigeria as part of Fiat-Nigerian Letters scheme whereby Fiat agreed to purchase Chrysler from the US Gov and as part of the purchase deal Fiat would “sell” its 500 in the US so that our fuel economy improves. Fiat sells and then buys back all the 500s, then sells them in Nigeria or converts to scrap, which in total cost is still cheaper than if they paid cash for Chrysler. So it is in Fiat’s interest if its US sales tank.

  • avatar

    Mini’s dominate where I live in the Boston suburbs. Though they change so little, it may be hard to judge. I think the Soul is a urbanite vehicle, few here in the suburbs. I’m seeing more and more Fiestas and new Accents. Fits I only ever see on the highway, few nearby.

    I think the 500’s price advantage on the Mini will do some damage. I expect to see them here in the exurbs, but only one so far.

    The Versa, Aveo and Yaris all seem to be cars bought solely on price.

  • avatar

    Tons of Souls down here in South FL. Maybe ex Scion xB owners are going after them? I love the Hamster ad however I think it sells well because CUV are hot items and a cheap mini-CUV is perfect for many folks. I know someone who’s 20-something daughter just bought one. The Cube is just too Japanese cartoon-ish looking to sell in big numbers. The MINI might be in this class based on size… but not on price. It will be interesting to watch what the 500 does, they just starting marketing it but I predict a flash-in-the-pan: very hot sales that quickly cool.

    • 0 avatar

      Loads of Souls in New Mexico as well, mostly driven by the college crowd. Four kids in my neighborhood own them and attend colleges in Las Cruces and El Paso. Next most common is the Fit in my area, also driven by the college crowd.

      Most other kids drive hand-me-downs from their parents or older sibs. One drives a pristine all-white Ford Fairlane with a 289. Sweet sound, coming and going. Brings back memories. Sure beats the whiny little rice grinders.

      • 0 avatar

        @hdc: Back in the malaise days, I had a Ford Maverick that originally came with the 250-I6. My college room mate got me a job at the Ford dealership he worked in. While there, that dealer bought out another dealer and all of his stock.

        While going through the stuff at the other dealer, we found a couple of in-the-crate 1967 289 4bbl. motors, untouched for 14 years. I enlisted the help of the master mechanic to determine if either one was OK, both were. I bought one of the 289s and set about to swap it in. It was a tougher than expected job, but once we got all of the parts and the headers on, there was nothing that sounded like that Maverick.

        I know what you mean about that Fairlane.

      • 0 avatar

        geozinger, that distinctive sound of the 289 went all the way up to the 312. I put an old Thunderbird 312 in a 1960 Ford stationwagon I once owned.

        Except for jacking up the front springs with spacers to offset the added weight, all went well. It had a three-speed stick shift. Did a lot of moving in that old wagon when I was a young guy in the Air Force and couldn’t afford nothing.

        The kid driving his mom’s old Fairlane: his dad and I put in a dual exhaust system with identical mufflers and pipes all the way back. But the 289 is only a two-barrel. Getting a 4B manifold and carb would be pricey these days. Still, it runs pretty good for its age and at this altitude, without emission controls.

        This is where my MIG-welder comes in handy. His dad was a retired AF welder who mostly used torches (acetylene/oxy) but tacking with the MIG is so much quicker, better and finishing welds not nearly as hot as with a torch.

        Memories of the lazy, hazy, crazy days of yesteryear.

  • avatar

    So we are calling the Kia Soul, Nissan Cube, and Scion xB “subcompacts”? I think the EPA classifies subcompacts as vehicles with 85-99 cubic feet of volume. I believe all three have more volume than that, but if you bumped them into the compact class you wouldn’t have as good of a story now would you?

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