15 Years Of Compact Sedan Sales

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Honda’s decision to delay a redesign of its Civic piqued some curiosity amongst our Best & Brightest, particularly Mark MacInnis who requested a five-year sales chart on the Civic and a few competitors. We’ve gone one better and worked up a 15-year graph of sales volume for some of the more popular compact sedans in the US. Of course a significant number of those pre-2001 Civics were hatchbacks, and Toyota counts its Matrix hatch as a Corolla, so the numbers are just a little skewed. Still, it gives a fairly good sense of where the major players stand in this important segment.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
8 of 37 comments
  • Mark MacInnis Mark MacInnis on May 18, 2010

    OK...so, the CIVIC was gaining market share and total volume each year from 05 to 08 with their new model...then the bottom dropped outta the world. The existing Civic is cleaning Corolla's clock. Then why wouldn't you EXTEND its life to give the next gen a thorough going over..to ensure quality, etc.etc. Thanks, EN!....I look for Honda, when the next gen is out, to outsell the Corolla and gain market share....but to be fair, the various permutations of Scion cars should be included in the Toyota amounts.

  • Hreardon Hreardon on May 18, 2010

    Issues with the 2.0T were generally with the 1st generation than ran until 2008 when it was replaced by a significantly updated version running a timing chain instead of a belt, amongst other significant improvements. So yes, the I would be leery of the first gen 2.0T, but the current one used in the 2009+ A4/A5/GTI/A3/Tiguan/etc. is significantly improved and MUCH more reliable.

  • Canucknucklehead Canucknucklehead on May 18, 2010

    Ahh, VW cars, a true love/hate relationship for me. Mostly hate. I would never own one out of warranty since they are mega money pits out of said warranty and huge time wasters in said warranty. In my experience, VW owners love their cars so much they are willing to put up with major component failures for the joy of driving their cars. They also have a habit of not admitting they happened.... For these reasons, VW will always be a small player in our market which is very much reliability driven due to the large mileages people put on cars here. Go to Europe and see what it costs to drive and you will see who there are so many low km cars around! The present model Civic sells like gangbusters and it is still, in my opinion anyway, better than anything else it competes with. Recently I test drove a 2010 Corolla LE with the keyless toy and it was not nearly as satisfying to drive as the Civic we ended up buying and a goodly bit more money too. In today's market, the Civic's tooling is paid for and every car they make is money in the bank. They can also afford to cut prices on them, which is exactly what they have been doing up here in Commieland. When the economy picks up, look for a quick intro of the new Civic. For the time being, Honda will profitably churn them out until the demand starts to wane. Then they will build a cra*pload of them, flog them at a discount and then intro their new Civic.

    • See 1 previous
    • Texlovera Texlovera on May 19, 2010

      So, A GTI is truly a poor man's Ferrari?

  • Stevelovescars Stevelovescars on May 18, 2010

    I hadn't realized that the Cobalt was such a major failure. It never appealed to me, but I thought I had heard (with a bit of disbelief) that it was actually selling fairly well. This chart makes it pretty clear that it never managed to gain any traction in the market at all over the craptastic Cavalier that it looked all-too-much like. I am curious to see the Mazda3 on this chart... in particular, to see if the recent evil grin front-end redesign has had a negative affect on their sales. I recently decided to buy a sub-$20k car for commuting and wanted to like the Mazda3. It was a horrible dealer experience that pushed my wife and I to the nearby VW dealership. To put things in perspective, we're very pleased with our Mazda5 and we still lament selling our old Protege5 rollerskate. I was even willing to overlook the front end redesign. We ended up with a base 5-speed manual Golf 2-door that appears to be very refined and quiet with incredible stock front seats that remind me of the Recaros in my old Jetta GLI 16v from many eons ago. In terms of electrical gremlins, one odd problem is that the courtesy lights don't come on when the door is open (appointment to get it fixed is set for later this week). This seems like the kind of oversight one simply would never see on a Civic and one I wouldn't expect in a German-built Golf, either.

    • See 1 previous
    • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on May 19, 2010

      It shows that GM has absolutely no credibility trying to flog the Cobalt [or any of their other small cars : Astra anyone?] as a "premium" offering.