By on June 10, 2014

TTAC_compact-car-best-selling-chart

After a troubling first third of 2014, passenger car sales in May were resurgent in large part because of big numbers achieved by small cars. Overall car sales were down 2% through the end of April, but with a 9% year-over-year May increase (in a longer month with an extra weekend), there have now been a few more cars sold in the first five months of 2014 than during the same period one year earlier.

Compact car sales punched above their weight class, however, rising 15% in May 2014 and 3% year-to-date. If we adopt a narrower definition of the compact category by excluding the surging Kia Soul, new Fiat 500L, Scion xB, and defunct Dodge Caliber and Chevrolet HHR, compact sales were still up 13% in May.

At this point last year, the Toyota Corolla (sales of which include the dying Matrix as per Toyota USA’s release) was 3534 sales ahead of the second-ranked Honda Civic. By the end of calendar year 2013, the Civic had generated 34,000 more sales than the Toyota. Corolla sales are up 8% this year, however, a much faster growth rate than Honda is achieving with the Civic, and the gap is 8613 units in the Toyota’s favour.

The Chevrolet Cruze is the only other compact close to the top-selling duo. Not since February has the Cruze outsold the Civic. The Corolla has been the best-selling compact car in America in every month since December.

U.S. sales of the Hyundai Elantra have increased in each of the last six calendar years, but Elantra volume is down by 8752 units year-to-date. After a sluggish 2013, the Elantra’s partner car at Kia, the Forte, is on pace to get back to 2011 levels, when Forte volume was at its best. The Forte plays second fiddle to the Soul in Kia showrooms. Although not by any means shaped like a typical compact sedan, the Soul is an appealing car for a wide swathe of the car-buying public. It’s outselling all but the seven most popular compacts in America in 2014.

The Focus tells a typically Ford car sales story for 2014: sales of the C-Max, Fiesta, Taurus, and Focus are all down, and the slight gains by the Mustang and the Fusion’s slim 1% increase haven’t overcome those deficits. Ford brand car sales are down 7% this year.

Nissan sold nearly three times as many Sentras in May 2014 as in May 2012; more than in May 2012 and May 2013 combined. Included in the Volkswagen Jetta’s somewhat disappointing total are 1866 May SportWagen sales, a 2% increase. Jetta sedan sales are down 3% to 55,646 through five months. Mazda 3 sales are down this year, but after stabilizing in March, 3 volume jumped 21% in April and 20% in May.

Not included in the Subaru Impreza’s sales tally are the 5778 May sales of the raised Impreza, the XV Crosstrek, sales of which have risen 39% in 2014. Subaru reported an 8% increase to 5659 Impreza sales in May (up 6% to 25,822 YTD) in addition to a record-high 2957 WRX/STi sales; 11,170 so far this year.

Dodge Dart sales have not lived up to what FCA had anticipated. That May’s 8644 Dart sales represents a record high for the nameplate only highlights that fact. (Fiat 500L sales also reached a record high in May, although at 1434 units, the 500L was well back of even the Mini Countryman.)

We’ve included the semi-premium Buick Verano and Acura ILX in this list of mainstream compacts. The Verano is clearly not a high-volume car, but it’s a pleasant profit-driving addition on top of the Cruze’s total for GM. The ILX is proving to be even rarer this year than it was last year.

Look for Volkswagen Golf sales figures to rise quite quickly soon, although there’s sadly little potential for anything more than mid-pack results. Volkswagen derives a large chunk of the Golf’s sales – a majority these days, in fact – from the enthusiast-oriented GTI. At TTAC, we’re all too aware of the mass market appeal of a car that succeeds to a greater degree on the enthusiast front.

Auto
May
2014
May
2013
%
Change
5 mos.
2014
5 mos.
2013
%
Change
Toyota Corolla/Matrix
36,611 27,997 +30.8% 143,409 132,514 +8.2%
Honda Civic
36,089 30,268 +19.2% 134,796 128,980 +4.5%
Chevrolet Cruze
32,393 23,055 +40.5% 119,330 100,818 +18.4%
Hyundai Elantra
21,867 25,090 -12.8% 95,329 104,081 -8.4%
Ford Focus
23,683 27,186 -12.9% 94,690 111,641 -15.2%
Nissan Sentra
21,932 12,504 +75.4% 76,801 56,240 +36.6%
Volkswagen Jetta
13,915 15,910 -12.5% 64,217 66,483 -3.4%
Kia Soul
15,606 11,420 +36.7% 62,677 51,744 +21.1%
Mazda 3
10,682 8935 +19.6% 43,324 45,135 -4.0%
Subaru Impreza
8616 7048 +22.2% 36,992 32,199 +14.9%
Kia Forte
7196 7177 +0.3% 32,105 27,731 +15.8%
Dodge Dart
8644 7448 +16.1% 30,742 38,512 -20.2%
Buick Verano
3816 4158 -8.2% 18,106 18,944 -4.4%
Volkswagen Golf
1793 3052 -41.3% 8941 14,182 -37.0%
Mitsubishi Lancer
1422 1626 -12.5% 7696 9418 -18.3%
Acura ILX
1629 1709 -4.7% 7429 9217 -19.4%
Scion xB
1532 1740 -12.0% 7000 7875 -11.1%
Fiat 500L
1434 5643
Suzuki SX4
2859 -100%
Dodge Caliber
45 -100%
Chevrolet HHR
2 -100%
Total
248,860
216,323
+15.0% 989,227
958,620
+3.2%
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44 Comments on “Cain’s Segments June 2014: Compact Cars...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The Buick Verano is more than doubling the Acura ILX in sales….2nd year in a row?

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Who cares? It’s not even on the chart.

      I would like to see the chart extended enough to show the Verano…. I’m willing to scroll.. and scroll.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Kenmore: don’t tell me your eyes are as old as Buick owner’s?

        ” …In 2006, Buick buyers on average had celebrated 66 birthdays. Last year the number was 57, the company said. The Verano helped, because small cars tend to draw younger buyers. But Buick buyers are still older than the norm, and the automaker would like to catch more people in their 40s. The average car buyer in the U.S. is 52, says the auto-pricing site TrueCar.com.”

        http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2013/03/30/buick-lowers-average-age-of-buyer-but-its-higher-than-norm.html

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Yeah, I effed up. Requested deletion saying it was stupid but they put it back in from moderation status. I’m duly mortified.

          But at least this gives me an opportunity to ask for more revelations about your Encore.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Encore is a BWM X1 with a $12,000 discount according to Automobile magazine. Encore is doubling X1 in sales for this year.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          >>But Buick buyers are still older than the norm<<

          Buick buyers are the Norm.

          • 0 avatar
            SimRacingDan

            I guess if you cut 100 horsepower, make it 5″ higher, and 8″ shorter then it’s a cheaper X1… Also crappier in ways that would make me not ever consider it, but cheaper!

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          They really shouldn’t try to get the age much lower. In this economy, it’s better to market to people who have the money to buy cars. The trick with advertising is to make the older customers think they’re buying a “youthful” car (with all the comforts older customers want).

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Buick as a premium line have a higher pricetag than the mainstream lineups, so it’s only natural that they have a higher avg. owner age (not that much higher in actuality).

            Add a compact/medium Buick CUV and the avg. age for Buick would drop further.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      That must be the Mendoza line for failure – that you are outsold by Buick.

      I am most impressed by sales of the Corolla. Even without the crutch of Matrix sales, it’s winning the sales crown in its class. I was expecting that Toyota’s traditional clientele of older women would be turned off by the more aggressive styling, but quite the opposite.

      Bubbie’s got a brand new bag! (note: I am using Bubbie to mean Grandma in Yiddish, but who knows, maybe it’s now the name of the newest baby Kardashian…)

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Verano outsells most near-luxury/luxury, similiarly sized except for 3-series, IS, C-Class.

        Funny how the ILX make Mr. Cain’s list here but no Verano:
        http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2014/06/usa-luxury-car-sales-figures-may-2014-ytd.html?m=1

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>The Buick Verano is more than doubling the Acura ILX in sales….2nd year in a row?
      <<

      The Verano is very much a rental car.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    At least the Buick is a NAME car! Spanish for summer, I believe.

    “Hi, I have a GRK, IKX, er MMK!”

    “I’m so sorry. Let me get you some medication for that!”

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I like the Cruze and the Verano for different reasons, but both are lookers.

      But it would be the ILX if my money was in the market…it will be more reliable and hold more value in the long run…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I did my part – bought an Optima Hybrid as a replacement for the well-worn 01 Elantra. Kia was running a very aggressive clearance on the leftover ’13 hybrids; my dealer sold their last six of them in one day.

    It was a good buying experience and I’m thrilled with the car, but others drive it more than I do since the Leaf remains my daily driver.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    Go Cruze!

    If only the LS offered cruise control I might have considered one.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>Go Cruze!
      <<

      Check the Cruze vis a vis the Verano. The Cruze usually wins the comparison w/ better looks, handling etc.

      “…So I had the search narrowed down to two of the more practical cars that I was looking at, which were the Buick Verano and the Chevrolet Cruze. Granted they are both the same car basically being built off of GM’s Delta II platform but yet different enough where at times, it was hard for me choose in many ways due to the options and such that I require versus the options and such that I really don’t need but are nice such as a navigation system, heated seats and that nine speaker sound system which for a car that size would be a lot of sound.

      …So the final verdict, which car would I choose if I got one? The answer is the Cruze. Not only does it seem like a better value for the price but it looks better compared to the Verano that looks to be still conservatively styled so that the old folks are not scared away. To me it seems that the Cruze is a home-run car for Chevrolet. In fact, I am going to go as far and say that it is the best car for value for the under 25k range. So go out and buy a Cruze and buy it in the metallic red with the RS package.”

      http://autoenthusiastreview.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/chevrolet-cruze-vs-buick-verano/

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Vwrano rocks the Accord. In crash standards and ability to negoitating. Better warranty too!

        http://www.newcars.com/reviews/buick-verano-vs-honda-accord-sedan.html

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          You need to read Tim Cain’s review of the Encore, Norm.

          Other readers can get a laugh or two to see what you’re not telling us

          http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2014/06/2014-buick-encore-review-canada.html?m=1

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Chevrolet’s Sonic is a subcompact car that stickers for less than $16,000, destination fees included.”

            Which means realistically its a car with about 10K worth of materials, maybe 12.

            “Admittedly, a base $29,535 Encore comes standard with a lot of equipment that’s optional on the Trax”

            So I like how the 10-12K platform becomes a 30K car with a 138hp turbo motor, a better transmission, and what maybe 2-3K worth of extra doodads?

            “Styling is as subjective as it’s ever been, and I feel as though the the pasting on of Buick cues (especially the ghastly hood-mounted ventiports) on a car that’s lacking stature causes the Encore to look quite cutesy.”

            Cutsey? He’s too kind.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Encore is 2nd out of 22 cars in US News weighing not one review but seven(7) online companies along with an insurance company.

            http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/Affordable-Compact-SUVs/

            Tim Cain has yet to give positive review of any Buick, let along domestic car. Look at his response on his website last year when someone mention Verano sales spectacular, not very cordial to the facts.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Dude I just read that review and it was h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e. Seriously, very little of relevance except he didn’t like the Buick seats or button-mad dash.

        He even used beauty pics from the manufacturers….

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Cain didn’t the Encore but….

          “It’s not difficult to see that small crossovers like this one will succeed as the market’s desire to ride high conflicts with its desire to make gains in efficiency…”

          • 0 avatar
            Timothy Cain

            From GCBC’s Verano Turbo review: “As a subtle all-American hot rod and one of the best Q-cars available today, the 2013 Buick Verano Turbo is surprisingly and genuinely likeable, lacking any meaningful issues, free from any persistent annoyances, devoid of any substantial sacrifice.”

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Straight feom the horses mouth. :)

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    So the car that Derek Kreindler humorously declared a game changer is sitting in 4th place behind the Camry, Accord, and Altima.

    Yep, that game has certainly changed….

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Thinking groundbreaking product is all that’s needed is very GM-esque.

      • 0 avatar
        Z71_Silvy

        What does that have to do with the Fusion foolishly being called a game changer while remaining in 4th place among its biggest competitors?

        The ugly Fusion hasn’t changed the game at all, it’s remained exactly the same.

        • 0 avatar
          Shawnski

          Oh ye of mighty ax to grind. The rather good looking and well made Fusion is appealing and has made a difference for Ford, unlike the bloated Malibu has done for Chevy.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Not really, but product isn’t going to make much of a difference when a huge chunk of your potential customers won’t even consider your product for a multitude of reasons including politics. In the case of Ford, instead of focusing on a near un-killable drivetrain as Toyota has, FoMoCo decided “technology” is the key and built a product which has undergone how many recalls? People who buy Camcords are generally sensible minded people who are looking for long(er) term ownership, minimal issues, and good resale. Building pretty cars which are always making dealer trips works for the Germans, I don’t see it working for Ford.

          • 0 avatar
            Z71_Silvy

            Really Shawnski? The Fusion is not good looking, it’s a design disaster. And well made? It’s had more recalls than the post three years of the previous model combined.

            It’s garbage. And what difference has it made? It’s still handily outsold by Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The idea a single product is going to change Ford’s fortunes in the midsize segment. GM kept talking about how the “next product” will reverse their decline. Ironically I find it interesting that such a three OEM paring selling essentially the same car can succeed for so long. Camry, Accord, and Altima are all pretty much the same thing with minor alterations. Fusion is sized much smaller and looks nothing like them, one would think it could at least achieve third place.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The Fusion is on track to break the 300k mark in sales for this year which would DOUBLE sales of the previous generation.

          Toyota and Nissan are heavily discounting the Camry and Altima and are also sending many to rental fleet.

          And the Fusion has a higher ATP than all of them (the Camry’s ATP is at the bottom) and has made inroads into the Californian market which traditionally has been a tough market for Ford cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s nice but I’ll believe it when I see it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            28-

            What makes you think Ford is focused solely on “the next groundbreaking product” with the Fusion? It has been in production for almost nine years now. Ford has now been successful in the midsized segement for almost a decade (after a decade long absence). The current Fusion is an evolution that looks like a revolution. It is a fine car that is selling well. Is Ford top dog in the midsized segemnt? No, but the Fusion continues to sell well and grow as a brand.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Not surprised that the Corolla is expanding it’s lead. It is new, has much moire space, is better looking an dis just a better package and value than the previous model.

  • avatar
    mhickman73

    It’s sad that the Mazda3 lags so far behind. It’s superior to the offerings above it. Mazda just can’t throw dealer cash and incentives like Toyota, Honda, GM, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Mazda3 sales is upheld by supply until the Mexico plant gets fully ramped up (as the Mazda3 is a big seller in other markets).

      Also, Elantra supply is down as Hyundai has shifted production at its ‘Bama plant in favor of the new Sonata and Kia also has a capacity issue with the Forte which won’t be solved until the new plant in Mexico gets completed.

      • 0 avatar
        frozenman

        IMHO the “exuberance” of Mazda’s exterior styling does not resonate with the cash laden old folks looking for the best beige on beige transport/per dollar, zoom-zoom or not. Old people don’t like to be reminded of rust either :)

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Madza 3 is the 4th best selling car in Canada.

          Surely, there are older Canadian buyers of the 3 (but at the same time, Canadians tend to be more like Europeans when it comes to their cars).

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      Are they still going to rust to pieces after 7 years?

  • avatar
    mjz

    I think the Doge Dart is going to finally get some sales love, now that Chrysler has repackaged the trims and power trains for 2014. With the dirt cheap 2014 Avenger and 200 gone, the Dart looks like a best buy compared to the pricier 2015 200.


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