By on May 14, 2015

2015 Honda Fit

In April, for the first time this year, U.S. sales of the core group of nine subcompact cars increased on a year-over-year basis.

After January’s 2% decline, February’s 11% decrease, and March’s 12% drop (and the first-quarter’s 9% decline), April sales of the Nissan Versa-led subcompact group grew 9% compared with April 2014. This brings the year-to-date tally to 163,309 sales, down 4% over the same period last year.

Although it was the first of the year, April’s increase wasn’t exactly a flash in the pan. There’s been a gradual build-up in subcompact sales during the month of April over the last few years. April 2013 sales jumped 6% and April 2014 sales rose 9% before last month’s 4003-unit, 9% increase.

And the segment didn’t rely on the top-selling Versa/Versa Note for its expansion. In fact, Versa sales slid 8% in April 2015. The Toyota Prius C, Kia Rio, and waiting-for-2016 Mazda 2 declined, as well.


But after troublesome months in which GM’s subcompact market tumbled, Chevrolet Sonic sales improved in April.

The Hyundai Accent surged past the 8K mark for just the second time in 37 months.

Ford Fiesta sales improved on a year-over-year basis for the first time since May 2014.

The new Honda Fit recorded its eighth consecutive month in which sales improved, year-over-year.

For the second consecutive month – and just the second time in 19 months – Toyota USA reported more than 2000 Yaris sales.

April 2015
April 2014
% Change
4 Months 2015
4 Months 2014
% Change
Chevrolet Sonic
7,655 13.7% 20,015 31,888 -37.2%
Ford Fiesta
5,824 2.7% 18,092 21,422 -15.5%
Honda Fit
4,197 55.6% 24,623 14,641 68.2%
Hyundai Accent
6,419 27.9% 25,007 22,427 11.5%
Kia Rio
3,214 -12.8% 8,800 12,780 -31.1%
Mazda 2
752 -97.2% 249 4,560 -94.5%
Nissan Versa
10,481 -8.0% 46,644 45,084 3.5%
Toyota Prius C
3,569 -1.3% 12,402 12,402 0.0%
Toyota Yaris
1,450 48.5% 7,477 5,594 33.7%
43,561 9.2% 163,309 170,798 -4.4%

Subcompacts remain low-volume players, even in an especially positive month such as April. Even if we were to include the less ordinary small cars and sub-subcompacts (Spark, Mirage, Mini, as examples), this would still be a low-volume sector of the passenger car market. The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, on their own, sold 27% more often than the subcompact category as shown here last month. The top-selling Versa is only America’s 16th-best-selling car this year; the 33rd-best-selling vehicle overall. This group of nine accounts for just 7% of the car market in a good month like April; just 3% of the industry’s April volume.

As a result, there’s room for growth. But true subcompact popularity isn’t about to be found in actual subcompact cars. This growth is, at worst, inconsistent, and at best, modest. (This group of subcompacts was up 4% in calendar year 2014 as a follow-up to 2013’s 4% increase.) No, Americans will instead turn toward subcompacts that are priced more like compacts and entry-level midsize cars, vehicles which don’t shout, “I’m frugal!”, to your co-workers, vehicles which are more upright and more spacious, vehicles which aren’t really subcompact cars at all.

U.S. sales of the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, Mini Countryman and Paceman, and Nissan Juke shot up 65% to 17,011 in April 2015. And around the next corner comes the Fiat 500X, Mazda CX-3, and Honda HR-V.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and Facebook.

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33 Comments on “April 2015: Finally A Strong Month For Subcompact Car Sales In America...”

  • avatar

    Time for graduation gifts?

  • avatar

    mazda 2 down to 21 sales? Wow.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      There wasn’t a MY2015, and Mazda2 isn’t even on the MazdaUSA web site as of last month. That’s despite the appearance of EPA ratings for MY2016. Go figure.

  • avatar

    Versa NOTE $9,900
    Nissan Versa $9,999
    Kia Soul $11,100
    Fiesta $11,200
    Jeep Patriot $12,100
    Caravan $15,400
    Honda Fit $15,500

    • 0 avatar

      $11,100 for a new Kia Soul? I had no idea they were that cheap.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, me either. I have NO IDEA if there is any catch to those listings. I have not contacted the dealerships to see if anyone or everyone qualifies. Like perhaps new college grad; military discounts, etc. shrug. but I was researching those versus buying like a 3 series used. always a compromise with pros and cons. Thought I’d share my morning’s research.

      • 0 avatar

        IMHO, if you’re buying the B or C segment, or subcompact and compact CUV segment, and you don’t need AWD, the Kia Soul is by far the best overall bang for the buck.

        You can get into near luxury territory with the options available, if you want to take it that far.

        It’s very interesting to me to see how Kia got the box on wheels so right, and how Toyota (aka Scion), Nissan and Honda got their offerings so wrong (the xB Mark 1 withstanding)

        • 0 avatar

          xB was great, imo.
          I agree Kia is good value.
          Seats can fit big, corn-fed men. :)

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah, the Soul is an eminently practical vehicle. Plenty of space for both people and stuff, can seat adults comfortably in the back seat even with the front seats all the way back. My wife looked at one for her last car before deciding that our childless selves didn’t need a “practical” car yet, so she bought a Juke instead.

    • 0 avatar

      I wanted a Soul so badly, but then they de-contented the heck out of the stickshift model. WTF, Kia? No RKE? No cruise control? NO SALE!

  • avatar

    Who on earth would pass up a Honda for a Chevy when their prices are close? I guess the same people who disfigure themselves with tats and reach 300lbs by middle school. Yoiks.

    • 0 avatar

      Have you actually driven a Sonic? Or a Fit?

      • 0 avatar

        Yup. The Sonic is surprisingly good. I say surprisingly (since CJinSD didn’t get it) because I had really low expectations when the keys of a new 2015 LT were put in my hands last October.

        It can legitimately seat four adults for starters. It’s highway manners at 75-80 MPH was better than even the Hyundai Elantras I’ve had as rentals. The interior is definitely dated but nothing felt cheap comparable to its class (key point, it isn’t to say it’s a luxurious interior, it’s still an econobox, but by econobox standards, a nice one). It got tremendous gas mileage, had enough power for what it was, and performed well while driving through a severe thunderstorm.

        We all dropped the car off very impressed for what it was – and the LTE WiFi hotspot (because it was new the free trial was still ongoing) was easy to configure and fast.

        The biggest problem for the Sonic is its price if you go LTZ or RS trim when new – at the low $20s you’re now into the C-segment on a number of vehicles – but they are a great deal 2 to 3 years old used. Three year old ones appear to have lost 50% of their value. They are also one of the few cars you can buy today at any trim level, from base to top, and get with a manual transmission.

        I wish GM would shoehorn the new 1.6L turbo 4 in there – 200 HP would be a blast.

        • 0 avatar

          Hell at low 20s you’re well into mainstay D segment (euro speak for US mid size). I’m surprised to hear that 4adults fit comfortably, I thought the sonic was universally panned for tight rear accommodations.

      • 0 avatar

        “Have you actually driven a Sonic? Or a Fit?”

        No and yes. Wife has a Fit (not figuratively, she’s *too* nice :-)

    • 0 avatar

      Honda is/can be 50% more than others, see my price comparison from today above. Versa still good bang for buck. V6 Caravan more utilitarian (7 passenger; cargo) than Fit for same price. I have 20 year old one with 175,000 still purring like kitten.

    • 0 avatar

      CVT, goofy styling, HondaLink only works with the iPhone, and the idiotic touch slider for stereo volume. I have no tattoos and don’t weigh 300 lbs.

    • 0 avatar

      SO you havent driven a Sonic. Got it. Built in Michigan, drives like its on rails. ‘Murica

      • 0 avatar

        “Built in Michigan”

        Yeah, I guess that’s what made me think of 300 lbs. and tats.

        • 0 avatar

          Careful, your badge snobbary is showing in spades.

          Stereotyping American car owners must be the new form of acceptable bigotry. That, and poking fun at people who believe in God.

          I like Hondas, but I wont choose one over another make *just because* its a Honda.

          You admit you have not driven a Sonic, yet youre ready to banish it to the trailer park simply because its built in Michigan and wears a bowtie. Sounds pretty stupid to me.

  • avatar

    Chevrolet Sonic sales from Jan 1 to Apr 30, 2015:

    20,015 – down 37.2% for the year – last year volume after first four months, 31,888 for a difference of 11,873 units.

    Chevrolet Trax sales from Jan 1 to April 30, 2015:

    13,137 units.

    Coincidence? I think not. The numbers basically line up that the Trax is cannibalizing Sonic sales.

    Seeing how the Gamma based Trax has probably got more points of margin than its platform sharing brother the Sonic, that’s probably a good thing at the end of the day.

    • 0 avatar

      Trax is $17,000 and up
      Sonic is $11,300 and up

      Are people paying 50% more and cannibalizing? or is there another causal factor at play?
      That’s a big step up, and not one done easily by most people I would think in the market for an $11k car. Not saying it can’t be happening. But I would wager other cars in that segment might be conquering sales.

      • 0 avatar

        Not all the Sonics are at that one minimum price. Where I live pricing one with a few options (no turbo) gives a kbb of 16k. I know that’s only a few hundred off a mid grade Fit, but haven’t looked at trax trim levels. Are you sure that 11k Sonic is a 2015? I’m not seeing any out here at that price (not looking all that hard).

  • avatar

    I see Avis and Enterprise put in a big Yaris order.

  • avatar

    My girlfriend bought a Fit yesterday… May +1 I guess…

  • avatar

    Shouldn’t the Mirage be in this list?

  • avatar

    Remember all the social media drool and pop-up visitations for Fiesta’s launch?
    Plaid inserts doing well for that niche brand VW NA.

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