Thursday, January 5, 2017

How Subcompact Sales Stacked Up in 2016

Kia Soul Turbo
Kia Soul Turbo
If there was a theme for the 2016 auto sales year, it might be that fuel prices were down and truck sales were up. (Fact: Ford sold nearly 65% more trucks than it did cars this year.) Generally, that's not great news for small car sales. However, it really wasn't all that bad; the little guys soldiered on with some highs and some lows. And while there might not have been a ton of new small car excitement, the earth kept rotating around the sun, dogs still chased cats, and small cars continued to sell.

Scion iA - Subcompact Culture
Scion iA
If there was a winner in terms of percentage increase vs last year, the Scion iA, aka Toyota Yaris iA was a winner with a mammoth 269.2% increase over 2015. Granted, its numbers are a bit out of scale, since they only sold 7,600 some-odd units in '15. Regardless, they sold a lot more in 2016. Because math. Then there was the Mazda CX-3 crossover, which jumped a big-old 189.7% and moved 18,557 little Mazda-branded crossovers. A more accurate number, however, would come in the form of the Honda HR-V subcompact crossover, which was up a healthy 96.1% and moved an impressive 82,041 units in '16. Not bad, Honda—not bad.

The largest sales drops for '16 were the Fiat 500L, down a semi-alarming 59%, vs. '15; the Toyota Prius c, which down slightly less semi-alarming 46.7%; and the two-door MINI Cooper /S Hardtop, down 43%, which is just moderately semi-alarming.

2016 Nissan Versa Note - Subcompact Culture
Nissan Versa Note
Sales gains are nice, but units sold is arguably more important since that's what brings home the bacon, and by bacon I mean money. And by money I mean profits, which are used to buy real bacon. And yet again, the Kia Soul killed it in the sales department selling 145,786 models. That make six straight years in which the Soul has been the best-selling car on our charts. Nissan's Versa also sold a lot of cars, as it often does, moving 132,214 units. And in third place, the Jeep Renegade which is also the top-selling subcompact CUV, probably because it's awesome, moved 106,606 baby Jeeps.

And in the negatory department, the slow selling (and fairly slow driving) Honda CR-Z hybrid only managed to sell 2,338 units, and still didn't get impressive fuel economy. Only 3,118 Fiat 500L models were sold to people looking for a strange-looking car (despite they fact they drive quite well). Finally, MINI sold 4,584 Cooper /S Convertibles in '16. I'm sure that had nothing to do with the fact they start at about $31,000 ...

Chevrolet just started selling its Bolt EV in December, and it moved 579 units. This one we'll be keeping an eye on in '17. Not only is it a neat looking little thing, but it could be a game changer in the EV world. Additionally, the Fiat Spyder, aka the "Fiata" will be a wildcard in '17.

Right now, fuel prices are on the upswing, and depending on how high those prices soar can depend on how many small cars are sold. Buckle up people—2017 will undoubtedly be interesting.

2016 Subcompact Car Sales

Make/Model% 2015 vs 2016YTD
Scion iA/Toyota Yaris iA269.227983
Mazda CX-3189.718557
Honda HR-V96.182041
Jeep Renegade75.0106606
MINI Cooper /S Convertible48.04584
Hyundai Accent29.779766
Chevrolet Trax25.479016
Hyundai Veloster24.030053
Kia Rio20.928700
Buick Encore16.378565
Mazda MX-5 Miata10.29465
Chevrolet Spark8.135511
Honda Fit7.856630
Mitsubishi Mirage3.322226
Fiat 500X3.011712
Kia Soul -0.9145786
Nissan Versa-8.5132214
Chevrolet Sonic-14.755255
Smart Fortwo-17.06211
Honda CR-Z-23.92338
MINI Countryman-23.912706
Ford Fiesta-24.348807
MINI Cooper /S Hardtop 4 dr-26.411174
Nissan Juke-27.819577
BMW i3-30.87625
Toyota Yaris Liftback-35.210872
Fiat 500-36.023980
MINI Cooper /S Hardtop 2 dr-43.111264
Toyota Prius c-46.720452
Fiat 500L-59.03118
MINI Cooper /S Clubmanna12204
Fiat Spyderna2475
Chevrolet Boltna579

Table represents sales of cars in the U.S. only.


Unknown said...

You didn't even mention that the 500L-based Renegade was the (distant) 3rd highest seller with close to 110k. Sort of ironic, really. The Fiat designers enlarged the 500 and failed miserably, while the Jeep guys took the platform and made a smaller Cherokee and killed it.

On slightly different topic, by adding the performance-oriented Soul, Kia is primed for another record sales year. If they would add 4/AWD, they could have the proverbial 'killer app'.

Puri said...

Fiat isn't scared to 'let their freak flag fly' and design cars how they want to, but it definitely bit them with the 500L. Although the interior is spacious and comfy and it has a lot of really nice amenities like the panoramic roof, upgraded audio, leather, nice uconnect system, ect, the bottom line is that it's ugly. And being riddled with transmission problems for their first year or two of release looked bad on consumer reports. IMO it's time for them to scrap it, especially with the 500X being so well. If nothing else they need to redesign it.

I'm glad to see that they improved significantly with the 500X, it seems to be very popular amongst 500 owners that was to upgrade to a larger vehicle. Their decision to badge the CUV with Abarth will keep a lot of current 500 Abarth owners in the brand when it's time to expand to a larger vehicle.