By on November 11, 2013


Four months ago, when we last looked into the U.S. compact car sales battle, the Toyota Corolla (including the Matrix hatchback offshoot with which Toyota combines Corolla sales figures) was the class leader. Yet the expiring Corolla’s lead over the Honda Civic was slim, and it didn’t seem promising.

Indeed, through ten months, the best-selling compact car in America is the Honda Civic, not the Toyota Corolla. By the end of October, the Civic was America’s third-best-selling car, up from sixth at the halfway point.

Toyota’s Corolla is now 23,705 sales back of the increasingly popular Honda.

The Civic’s 10% year-over-year improvement through the end of October comes on the heels of a year in which Civic sales rose to their highest level since 2008. Honda may not be commanding absurd transaction prices, and they may be competing with the same kinds of incentives used by other automakers, but that doesn’t change the outright number of Civics that are currently being sold.

The Civic outsold Honda’s top seller, the Accord, in the months of July, August, and October. Accord sales were down 0.5% over the last four months as Civic volume jumped 25% to 122,185 units, 1781 more than what Honda managed with the Accord.

By those measurements, the Honda Civic seems to be the dominant small car in the United States. Through six months, 13.5% of the sales generated by the cars we showed in the compact table were Civic-derived, a figure which has risen to 14.6% through ten months.

But you can do math just as well as Dave in accounting. If fewer than 15% of of compact car buyers are choosing the Civic then most compact car buyers, more than 85% of them, are choosing something other than the Civic.

There certainly is a dominant group of small cars. The Civic, Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Jetta, and Nissan Sentra – the seven compacts which have attracted at least 100,000 buyers so far this year – produce 73% of the compact category’s U.S. sales.

Although October was a particularly poor month for compact car sales in America, the category has certainly punched beyond its weight category over the course of 2013. Automotive News says car sales are up just 5% this year even as the overall auto industry has grown 8.2%. Yet compact sales are up 6.6%.

The segment has been pushed forward most especially by the Dodge Dart, which has contributed 46,630 more sales than Dodge compacts did last year, and by the Hyundai Elantra’s 25% year-over-year improvement, equal to 42,382 extra sales. Declines among compacts were most notable at Kia, Mazda, and Volkswagen.

If we define the compact segment’s borders in a stricter fashion, compact growth still appeared slow in October, yet healthy through ten months. Exclude the Suzuki SX4, two Scions, Nissan’s Cube, and the Kia Soul and compact sales rose 0.8% in October; 8.1% year-to-date. Exclude those cars plus the defunct Dodge Caliber and compact sales were up 0.9% in October; 8.2% year-to-date. Exclude the aforementioned cars and the premium-leaning Acura ILX and Buick Verano and compact car sales rose 0.7% to 143,475 units in October; 7.9% to 1,732,330 year-to-date.

Acura ILX
1529 + 31.1% 17,275 7658 + 126%
Buick Verano
3502 – 5.6% 39,874 32,648 + 22.1%
Chevrolet Cruze
19,121 -15.9% 211,862 199,721 + 6.1%
Dodge Caliber
92 – 100% 45 10,113 – 99.6%
Dodge Dart
5455 + 3.0% 71,453 14,710 + 386%
Ford Focus
18,320 – 17.5% 203,762 205,006 – 0.6%
Honda Civic
20,687 + 32.1% 280,889 254,716 + 10.3%
Hyundai Elantra
14,512 + 2.5% 209,469 167,087 + 25.4%
Kia Forte
5911 – 20.4% 57,421 67,139 – 14.5%
Kia Soul
7988 + 3.2% 98,864 101,344 – 2.4%
Mazda 3
9518 – 19.4% 89,288 103,223 – 13.5%
Mitsubishi Lancer
1256 – 7.6% 16,581 14,024 + 18.2%
Nissan Cube
475 – 37.5% 4719 6287 – 24.9%
Nissan Sentra
5624 + 49.3% 106,680 91,464 + 16.6%
Scion xB
1463 – 14.8% 15,238 17,055 – 10.7%
Scion xD
855 – 16.3% 7676 9280 – 17.3%
Subaru Impreza
4738 + 3.9% 64,922 68,389 – 5.1%
Suzuki SX4
1072 – 100% 2859 10,633 – 73.1%
Toyota Corolla/Matrix
20,949 + 12.8% 257,184 243,652 + 5.6%
Volkswagen Golf
2914 – 22.8% 26,836 35,322 – 24.0%
Volkswagen Jetta
13,476 – 13.1% 135,983 140,504 – 3.2%
159,457 – 0.1% 1,918,880 1,799,975 + 6.6%
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71 Comments on “Cain’s Segments, November 2013: Compact Vs. Mid-Size Cars...”

  • avatar

    Save Impreza and SX4, it amazes me how many FWD I4 cars can co-exist in the same market.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s amazing how the Jetta spanks the Golf – pretty much the same car but one is a more practical hatchback. I don’t understand the whole ‘trunk is better’ mentality of the US consumers.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually they’re not the same car…The Golf is a much better car. It is made in Germany has an independent rear suspension, 4 wheel discs and a much nicer interior…The Jetta is the dumbed down “American” model with rear drums. beam rear axle, cheaper interior and an antiquated SOHC 4 cylinder in the base car

        • 0 avatar

          That’s about right.

          VW Golf a lease queen?

        • 0 avatar

          It’s not smart to have a cramped rear seat, at least not in the US. The Jetta has a much roomier rear seat and I would gladly trade the room for the supposedly superior interior of my 2007 Jetta. The 4.slow is slightly above average in reliability and the TDI is slightly below average according to the latest edition of CR. I’m not sure about the 2.5. For 2014, all models get independent rear suspension and the 2.5 is replaced by the 1.8T.

        • 0 avatar

          All Jettas have been upgraded to have the multilink rear suspension and rear discs, even the base “S” model.

          Personally, I think a torsion beam axle is a fine compromise solution for a non-sporting application. It has decent handling, low cost and low weight. However, I am clearly in the minority on this question.

        • 0 avatar

          The Jetta has discs at all 4 wheels now and the 2014 model has Independent rear suspension again. But it is still Americanized and decontented compared to what it was in previous generations. I love my Jetta wagon, which is a Golf wagon. The wife doesn’t like hatchbacks for some bizarre reason, so she’ll be getting a Jetta again when we replace her car. Maybe I can convince her to wait for the 7th generation Golf…

      • 0 avatar

        Golf sales are way down as Mk6 production has ended and the dealers have only leftover 2013 inventory on the lots.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s harder to hide bodies in a hatchback.

  • avatar

    A dear old friend of mine is going through exactly this decision process. His dilemma is that compact cars often cost as much if not more than midsize cars but have less room.

    In his case, although he initially started looking at a 2014 Corolla and Civic, he resolved to buy either a Toyota Camry LE or Nissan Altima 2.5S.

    Now the question is, “CVT or step-tranny?”

    I advised him to go with the conventional six-speed automatic of the Camry. I’m just not comfortable with any CVT. Buying a CVT is OK if you don’t keep it beyond the factory warranty period. Keep it beyond that and your just asking for trouble and financial ruin.

    • 0 avatar

      The issue with midsize cars is that you will opt for a SUV to get even more room. You basically get the same car just with a hatchback and extra ride height.

      • 0 avatar

        I hardly see a conflict – you generally pay more for a midsize than a compact for similar features and luxuries. A few extra cubic feet becomes another factor like engine size, comforts, etc. that can be calculated in your personal needs vs. wants vs. budget tables.

        As for SUVs, the compacts (CR-V, RAV4) are usually built from the chassis of the compacts, and the midsize (Pilot, Highlander) from the midsize cars. There’s a good bump in price as well… again, it just becomes something else to run in your calculations. That there is overlap is a good thing – it means there are more choices for different priorities, rather than the old fashioned tiers where automakers wouldn’t outfit one car beyond a certain level because it might impact the next tier. You still see this at times (Fit vs. Civic – if you want a sunroof, auto climate control, etc., you can’t have it with the hatchback – you’re forced to either take an old-man trunk on the Civic, or go to a CR-V.

        I hear the same regarding pickups – by the time you outfit a compact pickup with lots of luxuries, it’s well into basic fullsize prices. Ford used this as an excuse not to sell a compact pickup anymore. In 2003, I bought a GMC Sonoma for prices comparable to a basic compact car ($12,700 after rebates). It had a 4-banger and a stick shift, got 30 mpg on the highway, and usually just over 20 around town. The entire segment has disappeared, aside from a few Tacomas and Frontiers (and actually finding one on a lot instead of what is essentially an open-backed 4Runner is nigh impossible.)

        • 0 avatar

          afflo, many people are limited to what is available on the dealer lots, i.e. dressed-up compacts nudging $22K vs Altima and Camry with more room, auto, air, cruise, PW/PDL for the same price.

          No conflict. Which is the better deal? For many, it is the bigger bang for their buck that they get with Camry and Altima. Accord is a little pricier and hampered by an unproven CVT.

          Yet others want to buy only from a local dealer which limits them to the brands of those dealers.

          Were I to buy a midsizer or compact (which I’m not) my choice would be a Mazda6, followed by a Camry LE and then an Altima 2.5S, price-wise and size-wise.

          IMO, these three beat all the compacts for value, ride, handling and bang for the buck.

          I currently own a 2008 Highlander, 2011 Tundra 5.7 and a 2012 Grand Cherokee. Hopefully, I will never have to choose to buy something smaller.

          • 0 avatar

            If you’re going to pass it down in the family play it safe with the warmed over 2007 Camry, if you’re going to do three to five years and trade I would go Altima as I believe Nissan worked out its CVT exploder. When you start getting into mid twenties out the door you should just look at the next level which doesn’t run you much more, IMO.

          • 0 avatar

            Good advice. I will pass it on.

            I’m not buying a compact or midsizer for myself although I will be buying something for my 21-yo grand daughter’s college graduation sometime in May 2014.

            We’ll be trading her 2011 Elantra in on it and put ~$25K on top of that, plus whatever her dad (my son) and her Mom will contribute toward that purchase.

            If she gets and appointment with the Forest Service, National Park Rangers or State Park Rangers she will be assigned a full-time truck by them and that could change the equation altogether.

      • 0 avatar

        CelticPete, the issue with SUVs is ingress/egress for old people or anyone of short stature.

        • 0 avatar

          Most old people find getting into/out of your typical SUV/CUV to be easier than getting into a car.

          • 0 avatar

            Not always. A friend of mine has a 2012 GC Laredo 4X4 and is considering buying a 2014 Camry so that he can give his ’89 Camry to his grand daughter, who is using it now as her daily driver.

            His outlook is toward the future when he and his wife can no longer enter or exit their GC without making all sorts of old people noises.

      • 0 avatar

        You say that as if bigger is better…

        • 0 avatar

          Bigger IS better! Size matters.

          Some people are enamored with petite, small or compact, I understand that. But for those who can afford it, bigger is better.

          • 0 avatar

            hey HDC, well that’s a contradiction. If you really get that some are enamored of smaller cars, surely you recognise that to them pricing is not the only consideration going into their purchase.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey Marcelo, I lived in Germany, the land of my mom’s heritage, for eight years during the 1970s and traveled extensively to Portugal, the land of my dad’s heritage, to visit family, so I can appreciate the value and appropriateness of smaller cars, in their own environment.

            My 9-seat, three bench, 1972 Olds Custom Cruiser yank tank station wagon was twice the size of most Citroens, Simcas, Seats, Ladas, Fiats and Peugeots out there and weighed at least three times as much.

            My Dad’s M-B 220D was no slouch either. CV2s and Simca 1000s got out of the way when they saw either of our cars coming their way.

            Ironically enough, none of my extended family in Portugal owned a car. My extended German family on my mom’s side ALL owned at least one car, many of them in the M-B 200 class, and at least one other car or van for their businesses.

            But that was then in a place far, far away. This is now, in the US. Small has its place, but bigger is better. Why get cramped up when you don’t have to? We have a choice. We drive what we can afford.

            I can see why a number of people may choose a small, compact or subcompact car, especially if they live in a metropolis. I can even understand some people choosing the novelty of EVs, PEVs and Hybrids. That’s their choice. I’m cool with that.

            So I understand that some people will choose something small over midsize, large or humongous. My idea of a manly SUV is a Ford Expedition, GM Suburban, Toyota Sequoia or Nissan Armada. It doesn’t have to be brand new — I’ve kept old ones going for decades.

            My idea of a real truck is at least a full-size half-ton with a 350 or 5.7L V8. Again, like most Americans, bigger is better. The F150 is America’s best-selling vehicle! Not exactly small, either.

            For my money, the bigger the better. The old saying that there is no replacement for displacement translates equally well into road space displacement as it does into cubic inches or litres for an engine.

            I find it amusing that many people in my area, and CO, WY, ID and UT where we have family, own more than one car. They sometimes even own a small or compact car.

            But when they hit the road, they leave the littlest car at home and venture onto the roads of America in comfort.

            Yeah, See The USA in your Chevrolet Sonic doesn’t sit as well as See The USA in your Chevrolet Malibu or Impala.

            More often than not what they use is actually their Silverado, Suburban or Tahoe to see the USA.

            Just because SOME people choose to buy small does not give them the right to condemn others who buy the largest vehicles on the planet.

            Because they can. There’s a place for everyone on the roads. I prefer to be in the largest thing I can afford. My guess is that MOST North-Americans share that philosophy with me.

          • 0 avatar

            hey HDc, great answer and reasoning. Good enough for an article! I can’t say I disagree. We’re more similar than you think. I really can’t condone criticism of anyone’s choice in a car. Be it a subcompact or a limo, we have to respect others’ choices. Lecturing from smaller car lovers is terrible as is the disrespect shown by owners of larger cars in the vocabulary they use when referring to small cars. Of course, I agree that most buy small cars due to low financial capacity, but such is not always true. The animosity between the two groups is really hateful. Feelings of superiority, greenie admissions, none holds no bearing with me.

            You’re absolutely right as to environment. Cars developed as they did in Europe due to many reasons. The main ones seem to me to be short distances and relative economic distress. Those created a car culture that favored small. With growth in income those cars became more luxurious, but still small. In the US development almost diametrically different. Hence, the preferrence for larger cars. A culture developed that now finds it difficult to admit to and adjust to limitations. If, and it’s a big if, the US continues its very relative decline, unfortunately the culture will have to adjust. No longer the market will support the level of exceptionalism the US has enjoyed until now. I mean a Ford Galaxy could sell enough to warrant its existence. The late Taurus doesn’t.

            The US won’t become Europe of course, but it’s quite likely it’ll become more like Canada or Australia, where big and small cars seem to co-exist much more easily.

          • 0 avatar

            “The US won’t become Europe of course”

            Hey Marcelo, let’s hope it does not but it really all depends on the voters in America who vote for what they want, and endorse their choice of socio-economic society through the form of government and representatives they select.

            There are an increasing number of natural-born Americans (who can) that choose to make another country their home for the remainder of their lives.

            Other Americans move from high-priced, densely-populated areas like America’s East and West Coasts to the desolate wide-open spaces of America’s Great Southwest.

            Most popular foreign destinations are Mexico, Central America, South America and a very large contingent choose Brazil.

            Some seek the Dutch protectorates of Aruba, St. Maartens and Suriname and live, what appears to be, wealthy lifestyles on very little money, with little or no tax consequences. And beautiful Caribbean scenery too!

            The trending of the automotive landscape in America is wide and varied with many factions pushing their ideals on the new car buyers. Downsizing is one nasty unintended consequence of this ideal being forced down our throats.

            IMO, the reality is that there is room for everyone. The glitch comes in when one person’s freedom of choice is forced upon another person’s freedom of choice, as in liberal-left Democrat green-weenie mandates under the guise of environmental protection and resource conservation forcing all of us in America to downsize and pollute less.

            These idealists need to visit Asia, Africa, Siberia and South America to see what real pollution is, on a scale that dwarfs America’s industries.

            I’m in the camp that believes that the market place will sort itself out based on demand of a commodity, including vehicles.

            But I also believe that America is diverse enough, and broadminded enough, to where anyone can drive what they choose to drive and can reasonably afford. Like some old codger driving a nasty old, blue smoke belching Panther. There are no replacements for those old comfort barges.

            In the case of oil, if the price of fuel gets high enough, the market will find a way to sort itself out; for instance, like with alcohol-fueled vehicles, natgas, CNG, Propane, EVs, and Fuel Cell.

            But I cannot support something that uses food-stock like corn to make alcohol. That doesn’t make sense to me at all.

            I’m glad to see that we in America can still buy the F150-class vehicles and the Camry-class vehicles. Obviously, there is demand for them, year after year. And there is money to be made on these vehicles.

            But the automotive landscape is changing in America under the present administration and liberal-left Democrat-controlled government. It has affected me and not in a good way. I like big, potent engines. Always have. Always will. Really hard to find potent engines these days unless you step up to the high-priced class.

            As a political Independent I can only grit my teeth when I vote for the lesser of two evils. I console myself when I crawl behind the wheel of my Tundra 5.7 and accelerate hard onto US54. Oh, what a feeling!

    • 0 avatar

      According to CR, the Camry is very reliable but CR no longer recommends it because of the poor offset crash results. They no longer recommend the Altima because of poor reliability.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree. My friend also stated that he was loath to buy a Camry made in the US since his ’89 came with the JT… designation and is holding up very well. Quality is as quality does.

        He’s considering buying a midsize sedan and has narrowed the field down to the least of the two evils, the Camry or the Altima. He doesn’t like the Honda Accord CVT because it is unproven yet.

        Since I’ve known this guy since basic training in the AF in 1965, I have advised him to consider an ES-350, an E-class or a 5-series. He doesn’t like to finance but doesn’t have the money for either of those outright. So I suggested a Lease.

        Personally I like the Mazda6 but the nearest dealer is 75 miles west of where he lives, and he’s not keen on Chrysler, Ford or GM.

        All he has nearby his home is Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, Ford and GM. It may turn out that he’ll end up buying an Accord EX V6 with a 6-speed automatic for big bucks, but only time will tell.

        • 0 avatar

          ” I agree. My friend also stated that he was loath to buy a Camry made in the US since his ’89 came with the JT… designation and is holding up very well. Quality is as quality does.”

          Does he have any first hand experience or is he just assuming?

          • 0 avatar

            The experiences of mutual friends, fellow Elk, Moose Lodge members, VFW and DAV members who have trodden those roads, been there and done that.

            Small community. Everybody’s into everybody else’s business.

            And there are only three dealers in town, among them a Toyota dealer that sees more people travel out of town to buy their new car than they sell.

            Some travel all the way up to Albuquerque, NM, 216 miles to the north, to get the better selection and price.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      HDC, I thought I would loathe the CVT in my new car, but when I got used to how it drove and reacted I’m fine with it. While I can’t predict what future transmission repair/replacement will be, I replaced a two in my Trooper at $3000-3500 each. I expect the CVT replacement by then will be similar.

      • 0 avatar

        I know that time and technology usually improves the breed but we had a family friend who lost two CVTs in her Murano daily commuter and because of that now drives a 2012 Grand Cherokee Limited 5.7 Hemi 4X4 by choice, with a step transmission.

        To me, the hydraulic step-automatic transmission is possibly at the pinnacle of its development whereas the CVT still has lots of improvements ahead.

        If I could afford it, I would like to see the LS460 automatic more widely used in the Toyota line. That would raise the MSRP! It is truly an outstanding transmission, as is the automatic in the M-B E-class and S-class. These three trannies have evolved beyond anyone’s expectation, but at what cost to the buyer!?

        There’s no doubt in my mind that the CVT is the transmission of the future because of its infinite ratios and adaptability, but were I to get saddled with one, I would not keep it longer than the factory warranty.

        Let the repairs be someone else burden.

  • avatar

    A couple of observations:

    1) Scion is irrelevant/dead. The FR-S and Xc — really the modern Supra and Celica — should just be merged into the mother ship. They can call the experiment a “success,” and be done with it.

    2) I hope the improved next-gen Mazda3 hits those 100K numbers of other compact segment leaders. Combined with Mazda6 getting more consideration, the franchise would have a US future.

    3) If combined YTD Jetta/Golf sales are now under 200K units and Passat isn’t hitting 100K, the core VW USA brand is once again in deep trouble. I haven’t heard of any outstanding mainstream product on the way to fix the situation, just more de-contented crap.

    4) There were still 45 Dodge Calibers for sale in 2013!

  • avatar

    Why aren’t the Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger and Dart represented on the bar chart? Last time I checked, Chrysler was still making and selling them (he said sarcastically).

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      The chart at the top shows the nine leading compacts and their midsize brethren, the nine top-selling compacts being the ones that will generate at least 100,000 sales in 2013. ME Derek Kreindler has delved into the Dart/Avenger conundrum previously (, and it’s worth a read.

  • avatar

    Well, I looked up the Chrysler data myself on Mr. Cain’s own website, (a good site by the way!). Anyhoo, thru Oct. ’13 Chrysler sold 111,207 Chrysler 200’s, 84,005 Dodge Avengers and 71,453 Darts. Significantly, Chrysler sold more 200’s and Avengers combined than GM sold Malibus and Regals. It’skind of mind boggling to think that Chrysler outsells GM in the midsize segment.

  • avatar

    The Dart is on that chart. 200 and Avenger shouldn’t be there because the chart is for compacts.

    And yeah, it amazes me that Chrysler outsells GM in midsize, a market GM OWNED with 4 divisions half a lifetime ago. But I guess Chrysler not pretending to have any airs about fleet sales is what keeps the assembly lines moving.

    It also points out that GM sales and marketing continues to be horrible. As much as he sounds like a broken record, Jim “Buick Man” Dollinger is right to condemn them.

    • 0 avatar

      bomberpete: I am talking about the BAR CHART, not the numeric listing of compact car sales. The bar chart compares the sales of the manufactures midsize vs. compact cars, which is the topic of the thread. NONE of the Chrysler models are shown on the bar chart. Mazda had significantly less sales in both categories, yet both the 3 and 6 are featured. I don’t get it. Fleet sales are included in all of the manufactures sales, that is not a factor here.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m stunned that the Dart is outselling the Forte. They don’t even eat in the same diner.

  • avatar

    The Corrolla’s problem is simple. The old model looked stale and wasn’t class competitive. Add in the people who knew a new model was coming and it’s a no-brainer that the civic did so well.
    I fully expect baring any supply issues, that the Corrolla’s will retake the lead in the coming months.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know if I fully agree.

      The average Corolla buyer isn’t going to care about 4-speed autos in the base model, the general hatred of the CVT (I readily admit the high praise the Corolla CVT gets in comparison to its peers), the 2013 vs the 2014 (unless they see them side-by-side). All they care is that it says Corolla.

      It’s like Apple. Apple could have their employees poop in a box, call it the iPoop and people will line up to buy it. It smells 35% better than any other poop.

      This isn’t saying the Corolla is poop. Just saying the average Corolla buyer doesn’t have a clue on model year, horsepower, torque, fuel economy, or other choices in the segment. It says Corolla. I bought my last Corolla in 1998 and it was great. So I’m getting a new Corolla.

      This segment is way more competitive now, and as noted by many reviewers the Corolla, especially the interior is ehhhh, in the middle compared to its peers. Buyers don’t care and I wonder how much weight the average buyer puts in any reviews. Because if they did, Civic sales would be going in the other direction (although Honda did rapidly address most of the shortcomings of the previous release)

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The new Corolla should do just well, now that it has the looks to match the competition,I have already seen quite a few around and it just cam out!

    • 0 avatar

      Cams are coming out of the new Corolla?


      I’ve seen a couple if the wild already also – both S models – they certainly stand out a lot more than the previous generation and the non-tacked on body work is much improved.

  • avatar

    Fascinating stuff.

    Projecting out, looks like the Mazda3 will beat 100K this year.

    The Dodge Dart can just about be called a failure at this point. It sure didn’t live up to the volume that leadership said it needed.

    Nissan’s holding on to the Cube is just pathetic. Put it out of its misery.

    I’m puzzled on why anyone would by an xB (which is very dated) over a Kia Soul. Oh ya, reputation and Toyota never exaggerated on a grand scale the MPG of the xB (although I wonder how many Soul buyers even remember that)

    Surprised Forte sales are that low – would have expected a higher number.

    Corolla losing lead is interesting.

    In alpha order, sedans specific (Matrix exception), 50K or more sold:

    Civic up 10.3%
    Corolla/Matrix up 5.6%
    Cruze up 6.1%
    Dart up – but not truly 386% because of the Caliber it replaced and the big sales hole that was there in the transition
    Elantra up 25.4%
    Sentra up 16.6%

    Focus down 0.6%

    Impreza down 5.1%
    Jetta down 3.2%
    Mazda3 down 13.5%
    Forte down 14.5%

    Corolla sales are up, but others are up a lot more, and the players that are down, with exception to the Mazda3 and Forte, which are at the lower end of the volume bar, aren’t down a whole lot. So others, specifically Hyundai and Honda are growing marketshare faster than Toyota in the segment in 2013.

    I have to wonder how much losing the Matrix is impacting the numbers, and I have to wonder how much the 2013 to 2014 transition is hurting the numbers. But Kia could say the same thing, with a new model transition that would constrict inventory as they transition and the Soul sitting right next to the Forte (and to me, the better value)

    I would have to speculate with the Camry having the lowest ATP in class, and lease deals within spitting distance of a Corolla, the average buyer in the Toyota showroom, if they ask the question, probably at least ponders the Camry LE.

    I’m actually surprised the Cruze is up for 2013. Although the Focus is flat, it’s my understanding that Ford has dialed back Focii fleet sales in 2013 over 2012 (when the Focii was the supreme fleet queen at 45% IIRC) so the “flat” is pretty impressive.

    It will be interesting to see if Toyota will crank up the incentive machine in November/December to goose Corolla sales in a drag race with the Civic. A 27K hole to fill in less than two months feels like a tall order.

    One last observation, and no offense to the TTAC gods – but it appears the average buyer doesn’t care what Consumer Reports or the average car reviewer has to say. If they did, the Civic would be dead, dead, deadski in the sales department.

    • 0 avatar

      Isn’t the Soul pretty old at this point? In any case, I rented one and hated it. The ergonomics and visibility didn’t work for me at all, while they do in the xB.

      I know a lot of people enjoy their Souls and I don’t doubt them at all, but maybe everyone shaped like me has to get a Cube or xB.

    • 0 avatar

      @ APaGttH The Civic is the winner to many buyers simply by having the fewest critical weaknesses. The engine and transmission are conventional yet efficient, and the interior is roomy, with a relatively open driving position. The ride/handling balance is good for commuting – neither wallowy nor harsh. Show me another car in this class that is as well-rounded for 90% of the general public (not necessarily you or me).

      • 0 avatar

        Right on the money Marko, that is precisely why I bought my 2012. No other compact has the same airy cabin and general roomy feeling. The height of the dash is actually remarkably low, my coworker has a ’91 Accord 5spd coupe and the Honda DNA is plainly evident (complete with road noise unfortunately). I thought the seats were some of the biggest and most comfortable in the segment as well. Compared to the previous 8th gen Civic, there is an extra 3 inches of shoulder room, and it makes a world of difference to me. The fact that it had a port injected R18 and a plain jane 5spd manual is reassuring that I’m not going to be a guinea pig for cutting edge technology.

        I did not like the 2011 Corolla I tried out at all, it was a significant step below my friend’s 1995 Corolla DX in terms of ergonomics and particularly interior quality.

    • 0 avatar

      Cube is terrific, but it’s sold to fight a Versa. It loses that fight because it’s significantly more expensive.

    • 0 avatar

      The Cube is love / hate. It’s like a white piano. Those who want it…really want it. the Dart…wrought w/ piss-poor marketing.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    highdesert cat–The Honda CRV is very easy to get in and out of. My wife bought a loaded 2013 CRV last June and it is not as high as many of the crossovers. The Honda Accord is an excellent choice and is competitive in price to Camry and Altima. It is hard to really find a bad car or crossover in the compact and midsize segment. Much of the choice is just personal preference.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Jeff, my buddy already owns an SUV/CUV. He has a 2012 Grand Cherokee Laredo 4X4. It was because of him that my wife fell in love with the styling of the Grand Cherokee.

      Even with side-steps (running boards) it’s hard to get into and out of if a person has bad knees, bad hips, a bad back or is short of stature. A lot of old people have those afflictions.

      My buddy wants to replace his 1989 Camry Sedan and replace it with another Sedan. Initially he was looking at the 2014 Corolla and Civic, but he quickly found more room at about the same price in the Camry and the Altima, and they still had the PS/PW/PDL, Automatic, AC and Cruise that were a must-have for him.

      The CR-V and the RAV-4 are great vehicles but they’re not in his field of consideration because compared to the Camry and Altima sedans they’re narrower and a bit more cramped for space.

      But a Honda Accord EX V6 Automatic may be a consideration if he decides to commit on an over-$30K sedan. For that amount of money, I’d consider an Avalon. But that’s me.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Have him check out the Outback. A wagon on stilts.

        • 0 avatar

          There’s no Subaru dealer nearby.

          Old people are not as flexible, nor do they travel well, so they tend to flock to local dealerships in case they need warranty repairs. Most people do.

          I am one of the very few who has lucked out and got three new cars in a row that never had to go back to the dealer for any warranty work.

          Those who gambled and bought something like the M-B E360 4-Matic that my neighbor did, lost. No M-B dealers in our vicinity, so I had to pick the old guy up in El Paso and drive him home. That’s a 200+ mile round trip.

          Now, I would have done it for free but he insisted on reimbursing me for my assistance.

          And when his car was repaired, I drove him down to El Paso to pick it up since his wife no longer can drive because of her infirmities.

          There are a lot of Subies in the mountainous area where I live, but the nearest dealer with a respectable service department for warranty work is in El Paso, TX.

  • avatar

    A few months ago I thought about getting a new car. I narrowed my choices down to the Civic, Corolla, Focus and Cruze.

    The Civic had a wonderful drivetrain, lots of interior room and plenty of features. My main concern was the dash design. The Corolla was frankly my favorite. It was very roomy, it fit me very well and just seemed like a good value overall. The Focus wasn’t bad, but I just couldn’t find much to love about it, other than the fact that I could get a really good deal on it as I have family that work for Ford, and I have a good friend that sells Fords. The Cruze had a lot of nice features, but I am a bit leery of owning a turbo.

    So what did I decide? After much thought, I decided to pay off my now thirteen-year-old Oldsmobile Alero and just enjoy it. It’s comfortable, everything works on it, there are no lights glowing on the dash, and it takes me on long trips with no complaints. Plus, I still get compliments on it. I’m thinking of having the rust bubbles that popped up on the rear quarter panel repaired and just drive it till it quits. I has a little over 116k on the odo, so I am hoping it will make it to 200k.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The refreshed Civic just looks totally upscale and well put-together for its class. Honda has managed to put its character into the styling while still maintaining a clean design. The darkened tail-lamps are a nice touch, is very comfortable and roomy, its interior materials and design are lovely, and it comes with a bevy of desirable features. It also keeps its price in check, and beside that, it has a proven track-record for reliability. I think it totally makes up for the shortcomings of the 2012 model. If I were in the market for a compact car—and I soon might be—the Civic would be on my short list. It’s no wonder it sells in droves.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a 2012 and am totally jealous of the 2013 taillight refresh. The front end treatment I’m not so crazy about, nor the weird hubcaps that they put on the LX. Mine scream “cheap” as is, the 2013 even more-so. I haven’t sat in a 2013 to appreciate the interior upgrades, frankly I don’t see what was so appalling about the 2012’s hard plastics. They are hard, but have good looking texture and the fit and finish is great. No squeaks or anything. Mine has the beige interior, it still has the black dash-top and upper door-card section. I test drove a grey HF and the grey plastic definitely wash much less appealing to my eye. Mine definitely has some road noise, very sensitive to concrete pavement (some of that could be cured with tire choice), I hear the 2013 has better sound insulation. Also the center arm rest should be padded more and perhaps made adjustable.

      In terms of MPG I cannot recommend it enough, I had 6 straight tanks of 39-40 mpg this summer with a mix of suburban commuting, city, and highway driving (75mph). Now that it’s colder it’s down to 36ish. Super comfy for long drives, I crack off 10 hour jaunts like no-one’s business. Lots of room to stretch legs and knees out.

    • 0 avatar

      The ’13 Civic still has loads of hard plastic all over the dash – all they really did was add a little sliver of padded plastic on the passenger side of the dash and left the rest as is. I think the Civic is a nice car, and I never had a problem with the ’12, but the interior trails a lot in the class.

      The Corolla’s interior has more soft touch materials in it and is one of the top in the class.

  • avatar

    Considering that the Civic’s engine and transmission now span 1.5generations, this year’s models might be especially blessed with longevity. In production for a lone time, down one gear compared to the competition but gets essentially the same milage, also familiar with lots of independent mechanics, easily obtainable parts for cheap.

  • avatar
    sunridge place


    Nice segment snapshot….would also be interesting to take those same compacts and pair them with their subcompact little brothers.

  • avatar

    Seems like market share hasn’t changed much over the last 25 yearg (Tho quality / engineering has).

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