By on December 8, 2009

Nissan Versa

Are you surprised that the Versa is the segment leader? It does offer a roomy versatile package for the buck. And it reflects the reality of 2009: maximum utility for minimum price. The Fit’s a bit pricey, and is coming off a stellar 2008. The Accent and Rio’s sales combined would make the true subcompact leader, not surprisingly. Their success can be seen in the Yaris’ less-than stellar numbers. Aveo is a perpetual laggard. Mini got hit hard recently, but not as bad as Smart, which is really smarting. Chart follows:

Ranking by YTD November 09 Sales % change YTD Sales % change
Nissan Versa 5554 23% 76097 -5%
Hyundai Accent 3831 93% 63937 32%
Honda Fit 3570 -21% 62745 -16%
Toyota Yaris 3557 -15% 58726 -40%
MINI 2564 -44% 41736 -17%
Chevy Aveo 2212 -28% 35157 -34%
Kia Rio 3496 64% 30734 -12%
Smart 649 -66% 13731 -38%
Scion xD 822 -36% 13531 -49%
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32 Comments on “November Sales Snapshot: Subcompacts...”


  • avatar
    xyzzy

    In my opinion, the FIT’s problem is that the refreshed design is inferior to the original.  Too bulbous, and a lot of the “cute” factor went away.

  • avatar
    arapaima

    Isn’t the Versa technically midsized?

  • avatar
    MrDot

    The problem with the Yaris is that it is also too expensive relative to what you get, which isn’t much.

  • avatar
    wsn

    The Fit is too expensive, here in Canada it costs $20k ($19k USD). With that much money, I can buy a Sonata after rebate for both.

    P.S. The girth of the Fit’s steering wheel is way too large for me. And I am 5’11” with normal sized hands.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      What options does the Fit have.. v the Sonata (ntm the varied price / size classes).

      Personally…
      If the Fit has the options you want.. with the size ya looking for.. then buy that. Dont buy a larger car cause ya think its cheaper with rebates — all they do is drop the price of the car.

      Which brings up the discussion..
      Are you buying the car.. or the price of the car.

      Ya could check out a Civic and or a Corolla.. heck even a Mazda 3 hatch for that money. All depends on what you want v options in the vehicle.

  • avatar
    Colinpolyps

    Having driven my grandson’s Versa I was amazed at the room and comfort of the seating. Seating is important when you tip the scales at 255 lb. This car is on our list for spring shopping as a city vehicle. They are well priced and seem so far to be trouble free.
     
     

  • avatar
    Liger

    What’s up with the Scion xD?  That seems like more of a failed redesign than the Fit.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Scion has completely lost its way after its first-gen cars were discontinued.  The second-gen stuff only added bloat and cost, abandoning the value that Scion once offered only a few years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      I find it quite funny that the origin of Scion was to give younger buyers an affordable and fashionable option of small and frugal light cars.  Mainly for commuting and city driving for school or first jobs.In the end Toyota ruined this sub-brand by making them too expensive to buy new and now too big and bulbous.  It seems as if Toyota decided Scion should simply be a slightly reskinned Corolla or Yaris with techno option lists.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      I find it quite funny that the origin of Scion was to give younger buyers an affordable and fashionable option of small and frugal light cars.  Mainly for commuting and city driving for school or first jobs.In the end Toyota ruined this sub-brand by making them too expensive to buy new and now too big and bulbous.  It seems as if Toyota decided Scion should simply be a slightly reskinned Corolla or Yaris with techno option lists.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Versa is probably best value in the whole bunch. Lots of room, good price point, doesn’t try to be “cute”. Mini too damned expensive. Koreans will be players with next gen versions. That Scion xD is real dud. Smart’s 15 minutes of fame are up.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500 will be real players when they go on sale.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      The Foesta won’t. It’s too expensive (tops at $23K…for a cheap rollerskate from Ford)…the Focus is the better buy, hardly a hit in the mileage…and it even weights less than 100 pounds more than the Fiesta.
       
      The Fiesta (like the Focus/Fusion) will not outsell the top sellers.

    • 0 avatar
      MrDot

      Z71, I realize your raison detre is to troll any and every pro-Ford article or comment, but you should at least get your numbers right on the Fiesta:

      Fiesta S sedan: $13,320
      Fiesta SE sedan: $14,320
      Fiesta SE hatch: $15,120
      Fiesta SEL sedan: $16,320
      Fiesta SEL hatch: $17,120

      If you get every option and dealer accessory, you might hit $23k, but nobody’s paying that much for one.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      “If you get every option and dealer accessory, you might hit $23k”
       
      That’s why I said ‘TOPS’ at $23K.  And my numbers are right.  Go build one on Ford’s website…mine came to $23,400…and that’s with NO moonroof and NO nav. system.
       
      It’s outrageous…and if the truth bothers you, don’t blame me.  The Fiesta should TOP OUT at $19,995…with destination.  Ford doesn’t have the brand equity to charge the outrageous prices they do for their appliances.  Look at how the Fusion is selling compared to the Camry/Accord.  Look at how the the Focus is selling compared to the Civic/Corolla.  The Flex is not selling (the ancient Explorer is outselling it), the Taurus is already down from last month and is hardly outselling the Crown Vic.
       
      And once the Party gets here…it will fall behind the Fit/Yaris.  If people are going to be asked to pay Toyota/Honda money for a Ford…they they will just get the Honda or Toyota…much less of a risk.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      Z71 SIlvy..
      This is one of the odd times.. where Im going to speak positive about a Ford vehicle. Ford is in the unique position (against Fiatsler / Gvt Motors) to offer a decent compact at a decent price. If “you” shun this.. and it does “go away” then you effectly call the entire debate about Euro compacts coming to the U.S to sell a moot point.

      This Fiesta.. and the Focus from Europe, NTM the Transit Connect and any other vehicle they bring over based on the Fiesta / Focus platform.. is a totally new concept to Ford.

      They are trying to market a smaller than midsized vehicle optioned properly to those who want a car like this. This concept.. is the most basic advertising that Ford has ever set to motion. They are putting the sizes out there,  optioned properly.. in a vehicle people want.

      And honestly..
      STOP comparing Accord / Camry to Fusion. Prices might be similar, but the sizes and reps arent.

      Also..
      If I do have 22g to spend and I am given a choice.. Mazda 6, Malibu, Accord, Civic or Mazda 3 hatch… I’m going to go for the Mazda3 hatch simply because Midsize isnt MIDSIZED anymore. And I’m damn tired of Honda not keeping up with engine technology. NTM.. I tested a Civic.. and its horrible. The interior is just deplorable.. least they could do is offer the hatch.

      And honestly..
      I hate to be a mean fuck…

      But if ya got 22 or 23g.. it really doesnt matter what size. It matters what is on ya list.
      I want…
      Compact size – midsize isnt midsized anymore. NTM, midsized means bloat and lazy ass driver. I WANT TO DRIVE!
      I want a hatch
      I dont want awd/4wd
      I want lightweight / under 3000lbs.

      And..
      I want to drive the damn car.

      If you got a problem with spending 23g on a loaded Fiesta HATCH, and you think its better spent on a Sonata with the blanket warranty..

      Or a bloated Accord
      Or the Camry with other issues
      Or the Fusion

      Then you are missing out.
      This could quite possibly be the Ford Contour Pt2. How to sell and market a European car.. in the U.S… someone has to spend the money.

  • avatar
    Roundel

    As bad as smart is doing, they are still selling more than the xD…. thats kinda pathetic.  Once gas prices start heading up next year, this whole segment will light on fire again.
    As a smart owner… I do have to admit that the car is what it is… and thats not much. I love it, it fits my needs perfectly. They do need to actually advertise the car… and offer incentives and actually let people haggle on the sticker. The 15 mins are up, time to let the customer decide how much they want to pay for it.
    I do have to admit after renting a Versa, I was so suprised at how comfortable and roomy it was. Its no suprise its the number one selling in its class, and its cheap too.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    Glad you showed the Versa hatch…OTOH the sedan is ridiculous from a styling standpoint.  Why bother at all putting a vestigial “trunk” on a car of this class?   It takes to an extreme the current styling meme of short rear decks. 

    Oh well, at least I wouldn’t have to worry about someone setting their coffee mug on my Versa sedan’s rear trunk lid–it would likely fall off. 

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    In my opinion, the FIT’s problem is that the refreshed design is inferior to the original.  Too bulbous, and a lot of the “cute” factor went away.
     
    The problem with all these cars is that the spike in gas prices, collapse of the economy and C4C did strange things to their sales numbers.   That said, the new Fit is a better car in every way but two:
    * It loses one of the Magic Seat modes.
    * Kneespace is constrained.  I don’t think anyone who doesn’t have a 36″ inseam will be seriously troubled, but I noticed I can’t manage the new Fit, yet I drive the old one daily.
     
    The problem with the Yaris is that it is also too expensive relative to what you get, which isn’t much.
     
    MSRP to MSRP, the base Yaris is mostly competitive with the Rio, Accent and Aveo.  The problem is the upper-trim models are gouging and the Korean Trio are usually discounted to levels the Yaris never reaches.

    Having driven my grandson’s Versa I was amazed at the room and comfort of the seating. Seating is important when you tip the scales at 255 lb.
     
    The Versa is to seating what the Fit is to cargo: an automotive TARDIS.  I’m 6’8″ and can sit behind myself in the Versa.  In addition, I can fit a rear-facing carseat in the Versa, again behind myself.  These are things I can’t do in certain midsizers, small trucks/crossovers, including Nissan’s own Sentra and Rogue.  If you carry people with any frequency, this (and the Cube, which is even more spacious) is the car to have in this class.  And the next to classes above it.
     
    Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500 will be real players when they go on sale.
     
    The Fiesta might, but it’s not a whole lot better than the Fit, is more cramped than the Versa and gets worse real-world mileage than the Yaris**.  It does have a better ride/handling compromise than anything in the class, but that doesn’t mean much.  It’ll probably turn Fit sales numbers at best, and for the same reason: it’s too expensive.
     
    The 500?  No way.  It’s a boutique car that’s much more cramped than anything else in the segment.  It might expect Mini levels of sales, but no more.  It might get some play in Europe, but in North America it’ll join the Mini and Smart.
     
    ** Yeah, Ford quotes 40mpg highway.  I’ve driven the thing in Europe and real-world mileage didn’t seem remarkable.

  • avatar
    wulfgar

    Glad to see the Versa getting some love. While the Fit is a great vehicle, we had a 1 year old and a 2 year old at the time we were purchasing. The so-called “Magic Seats” in the Fit did nothing for rear seat leg or car-seat room and the Versa was an easy choice.  Other than the *&%$ TPMS issues, trouble free and 30 mpg with my lead-footed wife driving…….

  • avatar
    VelocityRed3

    My parents bought a Versa about 2 weeks before Cash 4 Clunkers ended.  They traded in a 1994 fully loaded(LOL) Mercury Villager (ne Datsun).  I have not been to their house yet to see it, but Iknow my 67 year-old dad is upset that he did not “spring” for the alloy wheels.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Times are tough and for someone looking for the absolute cheapest (but best value) car, that el strippo $9990 Versa 1.6L sedan looks mighty appealing when compared with such equivalently priced bottom-feeders like the Aveo, Accent, and Rio.

    Of course, don’t look for such luxuries as automatic, cruise, A/C, power windows or locks (or even a radio) on your low-ball Versa. At least you still get six airbags (!) and power steering. For a mere ten large, it’s easy to see why the Versa is the current number one subcompact.

  • avatar
    drifter

    Are you surprised that the Versa is the segment leader?
    No, becuase it is best value in its segment while is Fit is yet another fugly, overrated (by press)   Honda.

  • avatar
    davejay

    The Versa is to seating what the Fit is to cargo: an automotive TARDIS.  I’m 6′8″ and can sit behind myself in the Versa.  In addition, I can fit a rear-facing carseat in the Versa, again behind myself.  These are things I can’t do in certain midsizers, small trucks/crossovers, including Nissan’s own Sentra and Rogue.  If you carry people with any frequency, this (and the Cube, which is even more spacious) is the car to have in this class.  And the next to classes above it.

    This. And, despite the lack of a flat floor with the seats down, I remain amazed at how much I can fit into my Versa. Trouble-wise, I needed a new battery a few months after I picked up the car, and they had to grind down a rough spot weld that tore my sunroof weatherstripping (and replace the sunroof panel, of course) but that’s been it — more than 16,000 in a bit over a year and completely reliable. I wish I could say that for the previous three Nissans I’ve owned.

    Also, you can change the air filter in less than ten seconds, without tools; I’ve never had an easier air filter to change in any car, not even compared to pre-fuel-injection cars with ring filters.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    My in-laws (in their 70’s) were looking for a new car and really liked the Versa for its interior room and ease of ingress/egress.  My wife, who was with them, inexpliccably became enamored with the Cube.  She was making fun of it, and the salesman, who overheard her, told her to try it out.  Her opinion swung 180 degrees.  Nissan must be doing something right

  • avatar

    This would seem the logical Snapshot thread in which to post the number for the Suzuki SX4:
    November 2009 sales: 1087
    % change: -14%
    YTD sales: 19581
    % change: -31%
    (All figures above from the Suzuki Media site:
    http://www.media.suzuki.com/auto/index.php?p=541 )

  • avatar

    I’m a Honda guy but the fit is really ugly. I’d still probably buy it if I wanted something that size, but I’d have to think about it.

  • avatar
    supersleuth

    Fit sales are probably constrained by supply. Honda is getting killed on the exchange rate, even at the premium prices it charges,  and thus has throttled back on the number of Fits it imports. They have already made noises about building it in the US in the near future, which they probably will have to do in order to make a decent profit on it.
    Those contemplating a Fit vs. Versa choice should keep in mind that the Fit has been and continues to be a quality / reliability champ, but the Versa, not so much. See the TrueDelta data, for example.
    As for me, I love my ’09 Fit and haven’t suffered an instant of buyer’s remorse. But I do have the base model (threw in an extra $200 for keyless entry, which is the only missing feature on the base that I care about) which is much better value for money than the Sport IMHO.

  • avatar
    brettc

    According to the Ford site, the Fiesta comes with rear drum brakes. 2010 is less than a month away, right? I don’t think it’s 1990 anymore. I can spend a little bit more money ($2999) and get a Golf TDI that has a lot more standard features, a 6 speed transmission, better fuel economy and rear discs. And here I was somewhat interested in the Fiesta. If they’re skimping on brake components, I don’t want to know what other corners have been cut.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      You’re using a comparison of convenience that isn’t apples to apples.  For the $13k base model yes it has drum brakes, most people spending $13k on a car aren’t to worried about the brakes (and would be quite impressed with what ford is offering for that price).  Now the four door TDI on the VW site starts at $23k, thats a alittle bit more than $3k (actually $10k or so) so yes I would expect to have a few more standard features.  Price the fiesta to $23k and then do the comparison.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Nissan must be doing something right
     
    The Versa and Cube are huge inside, and we’re not talking Chevy Impala/Ford Crown Vic huge, where the space is compromised by a chopped roofline, low and badly angled seats, intrusive consoles and a steering wheel that leaves a few inches of clearance between itself the seat.  They’re big in ways that fit actual people—especially anyone much taller than average—and the seating is very comfortable, with a high hip point and a good angle for support.
     
    I bought a Fit, mostly because of the cargo space, but I would have bought a Cube were it available at the time and it was a real toss-up between the Fit and Versa and I’m not always sure I made the right choice.
     
    Kudos to Nissan for building cars that are practical and comfortable, rather than Lutzian pseudo-coupes.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I’ve been telling folks about the Versa being the best in class for about three years now.
    We had a 2008 Fit. If you’re mostly in town it’s excellent. But as  family hauler or highway runner, the Versa is a better offering.
    You could have bought a Nissan Versa S during the early C4C phase for about $7500 + tax, tag and title. That was definitely the new car deal of the decade.
    A base Versa for $5500 during that time? Naaahhh… Not unless you’re from the North Country.

  • avatar
    obbop

    “Too bulbous  (that describes my head), and a lot of the “cute” factor went away (cute is something I lack and lacked. Even as a tyke I was ugly. Sniff).
    Does that make me “fit”?
    “Trim” doesn’t apply.
    My morale just plummeted.
    Sniff

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