Chart Of The Day: Compact Cars In October And Year-To-Date (Bonus Edition!)

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

With October’s compact segment numbers reflecting the midsized segment’s return to the Toyota-Honda duopoly, the year-to-date graph shows that 2011 saw the rise of a new contender in the compact class: Chevy’s Cruze. With “ virtually zero” 2012 Civics at Honda’s dealers (allegedly) due to Earthquake aftermath and Thai flooding, it’s beginning to look like Civic could be kicked out of the new triumvirate, leaving Cruze and Corolla to fight it out to the finish. To celebrate the drama, we’ve included a special bonus graph showing the “Big Six” compact horserace from January through October, to go along with the YTD graph. Enjoy!

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Stuntmonkey Stuntmonkey on Nov 05, 2011

    It would be interesting to see how the urban/suburban divide shapes up for the Focus. My bet is that it's got better penetration in areas with higher density and narrower streets. I can see the resistance to paying for a premium for a small car in the burbs where lanes are a mile wide and there are cheaper alternatives. However, my feeling is that no matter how much we want them, it's just not the economy for a premium small car... at least not as the bedrock of a product line. They took a volume product and pushed the price up... hopefully increasing their margins along the way... but they could end up contracting their volume. End result could be the same revenue on a smaller base... that's not just a good thing for a volume producer. It's what Audi did when they headed for the hills during the sea-change from Audi 90/100 to the A4/A6 era. It only makes sense if you can't meet volume... Ford can't do that. They have to be a volume player, their infrastructure is based on volume. I think Honda had it right in the 90's before a number of things gimped it up... build a volume Civic and then produce the upscale Integra cousin on the same platform. What Ford has done is to basically replace the their 'Civic' line with an 'Integra' line... potentially not working. Yes, you could argue that buyers could opt for the less spec'd version, but I think what is happening is showing the worth of having differentiated premium and volume name plates... it's not to enhance your high end offerings, it's to maintain the base of the lower end.

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    • Jerseydevil Jerseydevil on Nov 06, 2011

      I agree that Mercury should still be here. The high content cars could be there; for those who want a sporting, loaded small car (like me). I like automatic high beams and windshiled washers, heated and cooled seats, fancy suspensions, in a very small car. Then Ford could concentrate on cost cutting of base models. If Nissan can build a base $10,000 car, so should ford. Honda did it with the old civic/ integra proposition, they sold a boatload of both. Not everyone is willing to pay for all the content. Thats why the sentra is popular. Cheap, inoffensive. These days, seems that ford, etc are after the bling money, forgetting the basic needs of transportation. For myself, i look at GTI's, Mini cooper, now Fiat 500. I dearly love the Mustang, but its not a sports car in spite what anyone says. It's an american old school grand tourer. Nice, but not a canyon carver. Sigh. Perhaps a reincarnated Capri mustang clone, with a peaky 4 cyl turbo motor, better suspended. Oh well.

  • Jogrd Jogrd on Nov 05, 2011

    I've had enough of an education in statistics to understand that I represent a very small sample against the large population of satisfied Honda owners. A few $800 ignition jobs notwithstanding, I had pretty good luck with Hondas though not as good as everyone else I know, including the friend who is on the third transmission in his Odyssey but has "never had a problem with it." But my poorly explained point remains. The Valiant was probably one of the most reliable cars of its era until the vastly superior Accord came along and redefined the game. Now the Koreans for sure, and maybe even Detroit (though even I'll admit I hedged my bet with an extended warranty) may be about to do the Corolla what the Accord did to the Valiant. Didn't the Japanese companies concede defeat on televisions last week? Not something that seemed likely 15 years ago. Anf fortunately my Dad tried the unknown Tercel rather than the Valiant's successor the Volare.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 05, 2011

    iPhone with 4% market share has a 50% share of profits in smart-phone market. Which company is in better shape Apple or Nokia? I would consider rather share of profits in compact car market rather than meaningless market-share.

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    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 06, 2011

      @eldard If compact cars are not profitable then they are unprofitable and and then achieving highest market share is to the detriment of the company. In this case Toyota and Honda must be losers if they command highest market share selling most unprofitable base trims and Ford and GM are doing better having less market share but selling higher trim and therefore losing less money. In so called free world companies are competing to lose more money.

  • Th009 Th009 on Nov 06, 2011

    For the premium cars, BMW is in the market share lead (worldwide), with Audi and Daimler close. Others are far, far behind. The three are also highly profitable, with much better gross margins than other premium makers. BMW has traditionally had the best margins though Audi is now ahead as BMW spends money on the new 3-series launch. And, yes, the compact models (3-series, A4/A5, C-class) are the biggest money-makers for the three.

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    • Eldard Eldard on Nov 06, 2011

      @Inside Looking Out Not every manufacturer can become a low volume, high margin seller. Not everyone will be able to afford a high end product. The Germans cemented their positions a century ago. The market for volume goods will continue to exist. And there will always be companies ready to suck the money from that market.