• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    Subcompact Sales Slide Despite High Gas Prices


    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    April 16, 2013

    With gas prices on the rise, you would think sales of subcompact vehicles would also be rising? No. Wards Auto reports that subcompact sales are off since October, even though the price of a gallon of gas is rising and holding steady at $3.50 to $4.00 across the country.

    So why the drop off in subcompacts? Wards has a couple ideas to explain this. For one, the reason might lie in the boom/bust cycle that comes as a result of new or aging models in each segment. For example, the large crossover class are up a whopping 61% in the same time frame, thanks in part to new models and derivatives. But as Wards points out, most of the subcompact lineup are only two years old or less.

    The more likely reason for the drop off may have to deal with compact cars getting the same fuel economy as subcompacts. Also the difference in price between compacts and subcompacts isn't really there.

    Source: Wards Auto

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    0


      Report Article
    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    I agree with the compacts getting the same as subcompact gas mileage, but even more is the fact that subcompacts really only meet the needs of a small group of people. As you have a bigger person, they are less likely to buy a subcompact. For me being 6'6" tall I will never have anything below mid size CUV at worst.

    More people now than before are not able to be comfortable in compact or especially subcompact. You can only get so many stuffed like sardines into a subcompact.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    From what I can find, the bulk of mini buyers are repeat customers, they have a very low conquest rate of new buyers. I think this trend will continue with the subcompact market. Once you meet the needs of those that can only think sardine in a noisy can work transportation, you have to expect fall off.

    The SubCompact market has been saturated and while there are many high quality auto's out there, I really do not see much future growth for this segment compared to Compact and mid size especially when you have new Hybrid and alternative energy powertrains coming online.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Interesting as I would think this segment has been the fastest growing as far as # of models available the last 5 years, at least in North America. Even Buick has one.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have heard the same thing time and again. "I bought such and such little car as a knee jerk reaction to high gas prices but nothing fits in the trunk, it is too small and cramped inside and it's noisy." I hate little cars with a passion. If my legs and knees are smashed up against the center console or door panels that automatically puts it off my purchase list.

    1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Exactly, spend all that money for an uncomfortable ride. Quality of Life, Safety and common sense needs to come before the knee jerk reaction of just buying small or subcompact small.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Well, I'm not sure about the other sub-compacts, but I wouldn't consider the ride of the Sonic to be uncomfortable, nor would it be unsafe (they are incredibly safe cars)

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Americans like bigger cars. And, while they are not totally oblivious to fuel economy, that was never and is still not their top priority when shopping for a vehicle. One or two mpg doesn't register as a big reason to choose one model over another. Quite honestly, they are much more likely swayed by a nice alloy wheel design or rear seat headroom than a couple of MPGs. This is especially so with mid-size cars posting more than decent 34~35 mpg highway numbers. There is very little reason to spring for that 38 or 40 mpg sub-compact to save $40 on the annual gas tab -- quite honestly it is immaterial to most people.

    Sure there are those who drink the global warming coolaid or think it's cool to be seen as "green". But those buy Priuses and Model Ses, they don't shop for Sonics or Versas. Those who are REALLY on a tight budget -- one tight enough that $40 matters -- buy $3000 10 year old vehicles. That $15K they saved is much more than enough to make up for the gas savings or increased maintenance. 90% of the aerodynamic drag of any subsonic object is in the ass -- it comes from the low pressure and turbulent volume of air behind it sucking at its stern. The more distance you have to gradually "collapse" the displaced air stream the better your aerodynamic co-efficient is going to be.

    Also, let me let you in on a little secret... Sub-compacts tend to not deliver as much additional fuel economy as their downsizing and weight reductions seem to suggest. The reason is simple... all else being similar, long cars are more aerodynamically efficient than short cars.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Exactly, Dwightlooi. I have never, for the life of me, understood why anyone would settle for a subcompact car in the USA ever. There is no point, especially since a three year old used midsize car could handle that and you save yourself a lot of tiny car hassle. BTW, what are the fuel savings of a Chevy Spark vs a Sonic anyways? They don't seem large enough to justify going subcompact. Dropping from a large truck to a midsize CUV or sedan makes far more sense at every level. Subcompacts, no. I am very pleased that customers are increasingly rejecting the false choice that is the subcompact car.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Well, part of the problem is, the manufacturers don't seem to put their best technology into their smallest cars.

    Interested in seeing the mileage figures for the 2014 Spark with CVT over the current, outdated 4 speed auto.

    Wish GM would put a 6-speed manual in the car as an alternative to an auto.

    I found my Fiesta to be a perfectly fine small car to drive. All it needed was a 6th gear for more relaxed highway cruising. And it was plenty roomy for me.

    This Beetle suits me to a T (Di). It has plenty of power when I want it, and great economy when I need it. A big part of the entertainment of driving it (aside from that hard to quantify VW "feel") is watching the numbers tumble so far forward on the "average consumption" readout on the dash. It definitely does not feel cheap or compromised in any way to achieve such high MPG.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Ocnblu everything will be roomy for a tiny guy like you. For most people subcompact is a no go from the start and I think this market is over built and over hyped. Sweet point is the compact to mid size market for the US. Still I would want GM to have quality products at every sales point.

    I think the subcompacts could really have gone with far superior power-trains. I think they could have done a crazy high mileage diesel as well as a Hybrid. CNG should also be done.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    every day on the interstate on my daily drive I see quite a few Fiestas lately. I know the basic model Fiestas have been selling quite cheap. I don't know what the real world Fiesta mpg is, but I doubt it's way higher than the Focus. Makes me think though with seeing so many lately that the gas + price of car total cost must be getting cheap on those.

    Fiesta could use a small tiny turbo diesel, like a 1.2l 3 or something. I bet eye popping mpg would commence.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    Loading...



  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. zoomtm
      zoomtm
      (27 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      The automotive industry in the U.S. has been enjoying one of the best years in terms of sales. But one segment is seeing a drop in their sales. That segment is the midsize sedan.
      Automotive News reports that the demand for midsize sedans is at a five-year low. The numbers tell this sad story. In the first quarter of 2016, sales of midsize sedans dropped 3.4 percent. The second quarter saw sales dropped 13 percent, while the third quarter saw a whopping 21 percent drop. For the month August, all 16 midsize sedans saw an average drop of 27 percent. The Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Nissan Altima reported drops of over 30 percent.
      Automakers have been throwing money on the hoods of their midsize sedans to try and ignite sales. But this tactic isn't working.
      Why are midsize sedan sales down? It comes down to consumers wanting crossovers and SUVs.
      "It doesn't matter how deep you discount the leisure suit and bell-bottoms -- nobody's going to buy them if they're not fashionable. I don't think they're ever going to go away, but there's a lot more people who don't consider them anymore," said Eric Lyman, vice president of industry insights at TrueCar. 
      The outlook for midsize sedan sales doesn't look good as we enter fall and winter.
      "That larger sedan buyer just sees more value in the SUVs or CUVs," said Mike DeSilva, co-owner of Liberty Hyundai in Mahwah, N.J. "That's just where the activity is. And heading into the end of summer and going into winter, we're really going to get into SUV season."
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The automotive industry in the U.S. has been enjoying one of the best years in terms of sales. But one segment is seeing a drop in their sales. That segment is the midsize sedan.
      Automotive News reports that the demand for midsize sedans is at a five-year low. The numbers tell this sad story. In the first quarter of 2016, sales of midsize sedans dropped 3.4 percent. The second quarter saw sales dropped 13 percent, while the third quarter saw a whopping 21 percent drop. For the month August, all 16 midsize sedans saw an average drop of 27 percent. The Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Nissan Altima reported drops of over 30 percent.
      Automakers have been throwing money on the hoods of their midsize sedans to try and ignite sales. But this tactic isn't working.
      Why are midsize sedan sales down? It comes down to consumers wanting crossovers and SUVs.
      "It doesn't matter how deep you discount the leisure suit and bell-bottoms -- nobody's going to buy them if they're not fashionable. I don't think they're ever going to go away, but there's a lot more people who don't consider them anymore," said Eric Lyman, vice president of industry insights at TrueCar. 
      The outlook for midsize sedan sales doesn't look good as we enter fall and winter.
      "That larger sedan buyer just sees more value in the SUVs or CUVs," said Mike DeSilva, co-owner of Liberty Hyundai in Mahwah, N.J. "That's just where the activity is. And heading into the end of summer and going into winter, we're really going to get into SUV season."
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      If you think the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' sales probe couldn't take an unexpected turn, then you would be wrong. The Wall Street Journal reports that federal investigators are asking questions about a phrase that was used by various executives to dealers and regional sales managers.
      According to sources, executives at FCA would use the phrase “unnatural acts department” during conference calls and one-on-one conversations. This phrase was to convey to dealers and regional sales managers to get more sales before the end of the month. Such solutions included selling vehicles at a loss or asking dealers to buy a number of vehicles that would be used for test-drives with customers. Investigators are trying to figure out if the phrase was used a way to rally the troops to meet sales targets or a key piece of evidence of whether or not FCA executives deceived the public by using this phrase to tell dealers to falsify sales numbers.
      As we reported back in July, FCA is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission over their sales reporting practices. The investigation stems from dealers in Florida and Illinois suing the company for falsifying sales numbers. In the same month, FCA admitted the sales streak that supposedly lasted for 75 months only lasted for 40 months. The company also changed how it reported sales numbers.
      Source: The Wall Street Journal

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      If you think the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' sales probe couldn't take an unexpected turn, then you would be wrong. The Wall Street Journal reports that federal investigators are asking questions about a phrase that was used by various executives to dealers and regional sales managers.
      According to sources, executives at FCA would use the phrase “unnatural acts department” during conference calls and one-on-one conversations. This phrase was to convey to dealers and regional sales managers to get more sales before the end of the month. Such solutions included selling vehicles at a loss or asking dealers to buy a number of vehicles that would be used for test-drives with customers. Investigators are trying to figure out if the phrase was used a way to rally the troops to meet sales targets or a key piece of evidence of whether or not FCA executives deceived the public by using this phrase to tell dealers to falsify sales numbers.
      As we reported back in July, FCA is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission over their sales reporting practices. The investigation stems from dealers in Florida and Illinois suing the company for falsifying sales numbers. In the same month, FCA admitted the sales streak that supposedly lasted for 75 months only lasted for 40 months. The company also changed how it reported sales numbers.
      Source: The Wall Street Journal
    • By William Maley
      Jaguar Land Rover North America - Up 46.5% (9,329 Vehicles Sold This Month, 66,441 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Volvo Cars of North America, LLC - Up 30.9% (7,682 Vehicles Sold This Month, 52,892 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Subaru of America, Inc. - Up 14.7% (60,418 Vehicles Sold This Month, 391,969 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      FCA US LLC - Up 3% (196,756 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,531,247 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Audi of America - Up 2.5% (19,264 Vehicles Sold This Month, 134,562 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Mercedes-Benz USA - Up 2.1% (31,909 Vehicles Sold This Month, 245,329 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Hyundai Motor America - 0% (72,015 Vehicles Sold This Month, 521,078 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      American Honda Motor Co. - Down 3.8% (149,571 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,094,725 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Toyota Motor Sales - Down 5% (213,125 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,625,158 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      General Motors Co. - Down 5.2% (256,429 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,962,602 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Nissan North America - Down 6.5% (124,638 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,055,227 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      BMW Group U.S. - Down 7.2% (30,500 Vehicles Sold This Month, 239,631 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Kia Motors America - Down 7.9% (54,248 Vehicles Sold This Month, 442,544 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Ford Motor Company - Down 8.4% (214,482 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,784,009 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Volkswagen of America - Down 9.12% (29,384 Vehicles Sold This Month, 207,156 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Mitsubishi Motors North America - Down 11.5% (7,336 Vehicles Sold This Month, 67,160 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Mazda North American Operations - Down 12.8% (26,109 Vehicles Sold This Month, 199,378 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Maserati North America, Inc. - Down 23.1% (958 Vehicles Sold This Month, 6,971 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)

      Porsche Cars North America, Inc. - 

      Brands:
      Acura - Down 7% (14,246 Vehicles Sold This Month, 106,914 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Alfa Romeo - Down 62% (37 Vehicles Sold This Month, 376 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Audi - Up 2.5% (19,264 Vehicles Sold This Month, 134,562 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      BMW - Down 8% (25,531 Vehicles Sold This Month, 204,744 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Buick - Down 2.7% (21,678 Vehicles Sold This Month, 148,845 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Cadillac - Up 3.9% (16,346 Vehicles Sold This Month, 103,918 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Chevrolet - Down 3.9% (175,965 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,361,675 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Chrysler - Down 22% (18,753 Vehicles Sold This Month, 168,774 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Dodge - Up 5% (44,340 Vehicles Sold This Month, 356,660 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Fiat - Down 21% (2,732 Vehicles Sold This Month, 22,015 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Ford - Down 9% (205,239 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,712,371 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Genesis - 0% (1,497 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,497 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      GMC - Down 14% (42,440 Vehicles Sold This Month, 348,164 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Honda - Down 3.5% (135,325 Vehicles Sold This Month, 987,811 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Hyundai - Down 2.1% (70,518 Vehicles Sold This Month, 519,581 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Infiniti - Down 1.8% (10,439 Vehicles Sold This Month, 85,362 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Jaguar - Up 188.5% (3,298 Vehicles Sold This Month, 17,687 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Jeep - Up 12% (86,468 Vehicles Sold This Month, 639,393 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Kia - Down 7.9% (54,248 Vehicles Sold This Month, 442,544 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Land Rover - Up 15.4% (6,031 Vehicles Sold This Month, 48,754 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Lexus - Down 7.6% (30,938 Vehicles Sold This Month, 210,392 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Lincoln - Up 7% (9,243 Vehicles Sold This Month, 71,638 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Maserati - Down 23.1% (958 Vehicles Sold This Month, 6,971 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Mazda - Down 12.8% (26,109 Vehicles Sold This Month, 199,378 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Mercedes-Benz - Up 0.1% (28,404 Vehicles Sold This Month, 219,704 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      MINI - Down 2.7% (4,969 Vehicles Sold This Month, 34,887 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Mitsubishi - Down 11.5% (7,336 Vehicles Sold This Month, 67,160 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Nissan - Down 6.9% (114,199 Vehicles Sold This Month, 969,865 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Porsche - 
      Ram - Up 2% (44,426 Vehicles Sold This Month, 344,029 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      smart - Down 42.8% (353 Vehicles Sold This Month, 3,439 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Sprinter - Down 39.5% (3,152 Vehicles Sold This Month, 22,186 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Subaru - Up 14.7% (60,418 Vehicles Sold This Month, 391,969 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Toyota - Down 4.6% (182,187 Vehicles Sold This Month, 1,414,766 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Volkswagen - Down 9.12% (29,384 Vehicles Sold This Month, 207,156 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)
      Volvo - Up 30.9% (7,682 Vehicles Sold This Month, 52,892 Vehicles Sold So Far This Year)

      View full article
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)