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Subcompact sales fail to impress; Ford Fiesta and Chevy Aveo selling similarly

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Subcompact sales fail to impress; Ford Fiesta and Chevy Aveo selling similarly

by Zach Bowman (RSS feed) on Dec 8th 2010 at 8:58AM

fiesta-630.jpg

Despite the wave of all-new compact and subcompact fighters hitting the market right now, sales of small cars in the U.S. don't appear to be budging much. According to Cars.com, models like the much-hyped Ford Fiesta are struggling to do much better than their older, stale counterparts at other automakers. So far, the Fiesta is number four in sales in the subcompact segment, falling well behind the Nissan Versa with 6,724 sales in November, the Honda Fit with 4,180 units and the Hyundai Accent at 4,052. In fact, Ford only managed to move 3,473 Fiesta units – just a hair above the 3,262 soon-to-be-replaced Chevrolet Aveo vehicles that rolled off of dealer lots last month.

Fortunately, the news is a little better for larger vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze. General Motors managed to sell 8,066 of its small sedans in the vehicle's first full month on the market, and a total of 8,955 new-for-2011 Volkswagen Jetta models found homes during the second to last month of the year as well. Even the aged Ford Focus saw its sales jump by 27 percent to 13,030 in November thanks in no small part to an aggressive incentive program.

Head over to Cars.com for a full breakdown of America's disappointing subcompact sales, then chime in with your thoughts on the matter in Comments.

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/12/08/subcompact-sales-fail-to-impress-ford-fiesta-and-chevy-aveo-sel/

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A bit early to be calling the race, no? There's been virtually no Fiesta advertising in the mainstream. Sure most of us Auto nerds know about it, but nearly everyone outside of that circle has never heard of a Ford Fiesta.

It's also only been available in any number at dealers since mid summer.

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They really need to promote the fact that these are not penalty boxes. Well the Aveo kind of is but the Fiesta is not. Ford needs to get people test driving these cars.

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Puddle jumpers are a hopeless cause in the USA. It's who we are. Plus, no 3-door bodystyle makes it impossible for me even to daydream about it.

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With gas prices on the upswing again (I don't even know what the excuse for it is this time), it's way to early to call it a loss. When gas hits $4.00 again, people will once again flock towards smaller cars, only to find that this time, they aren't just cheap fuel sippers.

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Yes and then when gasoline comes back down in price, those ppl will have buyer's remorse just as they did during the C4C project. Americans just do not like small cars. Why ask why? Give them what they want, not what you think they should have. It does not work. Simple.

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Americans don't like small cars because gas is cheap. Canadians like small cars because gas is comparatively expensive. Seeing as Canada and the USA are identical in almost every other way, it's a pretty safe bet that once your gas prices hike up to our levels, your country is going to really start loving cars like the Aveo and Fiesta.

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Couple things:

  1. Gas prices aren't going to fall back to $0.88 a gallon again, what with increased world demand and proposed gas taxes.
  2. Last time gas prices hit $4.00 people had things like the old Focus, Versa, Yaris, Aveo, Corolla, Cobalt to buy. The only remotely compelling small cars were the Fit, agining Civic, Mazda3 and Mini. This time they will have the Cruze, SuperSonic, Forte, Accent, Elantra, Fiat 500, new Focus, and Fiesta to choose from as well. They won't be limited to penalty boxes, they'll have nice cars to choose from, that look every bit as expensive as bigger cars (Focus in particular, and that looks more expensive than most midsizers do now), all the amenities, sophistication, refinement, and most of the room (Cruze is now considered a Midsize car) they had before, just in a smaller, more nimble, and more fuel efficient package.
  3. There will always be the choice. Just ask Dodge about the Charger. That doesn't mean that's what the masses will gravitate towards. They will go for what makes financial sense.

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Yes and then when gasoline comes back down in price, those ppl will have buyer's remorse just as they did during the C4C project. Americans just do not like small cars. Why ask why? Give them what they want, not what you think they should have. It does not work. Simple.

Far too logical. :AH-HA:

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Versa, exterior-wise, is an abomination. How it sells is beyond me- must be outrageous deals.

Fiesta is pretty decent, friend owns a med-dark blue one... but as we brushed over before- the 2-dr needs to be here, too.

In the segment, it's the only one I would consider at the onset.

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This is a segment where the manufacturers need to be ready for a wildly fluctuating level of demand. Sales are directly tied to variables beyond the scope of the industry itself. They need to have plans in place to adapt quickly as conditions change.

There will be near-zero lead time, they have to be nimble.

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This is a segment where the manufacturers need to be ready for a wildly fluctuating level of demand. Sales are directly tied to variables beyond the scope of the industry itself. They need to have plans in place to adapt quickly as conditions change.

There will be near-zero lead time, they have to be nimble.

It's not just this segment, its every segment, particularly the large car/truck/SUV/CUV segments as well as the compact and subcompact segments. The opposite ends of the spectrum will always fluctuate much more than the middle segments, so the automakers needs to be prepared on all ends.

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Generally true,DF.

But this segment is the most susceptible to rapid shifting as it has little intrinsic sales appeal to carry it (in the US market).

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Well the sales are tied together. When one market shifts then invariably so must another. That would be the large vehicle segments, particularly large trucks and SUVs shift when the compact/subcompact segment shifts.

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Well the sales are tied together. When one market shifts then invariably so must another. That would be the large vehicle segments, particularly large trucks and SUVs shift when the compact/subcompact segment shifts.

Yes, but to a much lesser degree. The other segments have built-in demand that this one does not (again, in the US).

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To a degree yes, but SUV and truck sales fell of the face of the earth, because while there is established demand, most sales are to customers who don't need them for their abilities or size like you do, for example.

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To say the Fiesta has not been marketed is totally false. The thing was hyped no end in electronic media for a year or more before the first one was sold in the USA.

I like the Fiesta (and maintain a dislike for Ford for not selling us the 3-door) in any colour except yellow and green because those colours have been jammed down our throats in every Fiesta ad... but reality has shown time and time again... Americans only buy tiny cars out of fear, not out of want. Why fault us for that? Leave us alone! GIVE US WHAT WE WANT. KILL CAFE.

And I'll go out on a limb here and say Americans don't like small cars because they have no room. Because they get blown around in the wind. They just do not feel safe in them. And on and on. The next size class up is our traditional lower limit... and with Focus and Cruze both offering versions with 40 mpg ratings... what does the 40 mpg (but only in its OWN special package model) Fiesta offer over the larger cars?

Edited by ocnblu
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To a degree yes, but SUV and truck sales fell of the face of the earth, because while there is established demand, most sales are to customers who don't need them for their abilities or size like you do, for example.

I would argue that the decline in SUV/truck sales that you bring up is more the product of a longer term, slower, market shift that has many other factors behind it. It is not anywhere near the volatile shift we see in subcompacts. It may be more permanent, however.

The subcompact segment rides a sort of permanent pendulum that lacks the steadying influence of genuine customer desire for the product.

If we were to find a cheap, clean, renewable fuel we could use today, this segment would evaporate overnight.

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To say the Fiesta has not been marketed is totally false. The thing was hyped no end in electronic media for a year or more before the first one was sold in the USA.

I like the Fiesta (and maintain a dislike for Ford for not selling us the 3-door) in any colour except yellow and green because those colours have been jammed down our throats in every Fiesta ad... but reality has shown time and time again... Americans only buy tiny cars out of fear, not out of want. Why fault us for that? Leave us alone! GIVE US WHAT WE WANT. KILL CAFE.

And I'll go out on a limb here and say Americans don't like small cars because they have no room. Because they get blown around in the wind. They just do not feel safe in them. And on and on. The next size class up is our traditional lower limit... and with Focus and Cruze both offering versions with 40 mpg ratings... what does the 40 mpg (but only in its OWN special package model) Fiesta offer over the larger cars?

I don't know what your irrational hatred of small cars is. It's not like you can't go right out and by yourself a Silverado 3500 or a Charger. The choice is there right now and will remain. Plus you traded in your full size truck for a Cobalt and then a small pickup instead of another GMT900, so what's the problem? Why the hate?

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And I'll go out on a limb here and say Americans don't like small cars because they have no room. Because they get blown around in the wind. They just do not feel safe in them.

Yeah, you're really going out on a limb here. Because those are based on old perceptions.

The space offered in small cars these days is cavernous for their physical size.

Having ridden in a Smart car on the Austrian Autobahn going at speeds most Americans won't ever touch, I can safely say that the vehicle wasn't blown around in the wind, despite maneuvering between large trucks, and windy sections of the Alps; that was five years ago, and small cars have improved immensely since then.

The whole 'not feeling safe' perception was fostered by SUV's. People in small cars felt unsafe because SUV's were so prolific. Making a left turn with an SUV opposite you is a hairy experience because you can't see what's coming behind. Driving in between these ponderous, heavy monstrosities that had a tendency to roll over didn't really feel safe either. The idea that you had to sit higher to feel safer became a major reason for SUV sales. When SUV's become less popular, it'll be safer for small cars psychologically. In the meantime, they're crammed with tons of safety gear that make many vehicles, especially SUV's look terribly unsafe by comparison.

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Only when crashed into barriers, which is not like the real world in which Fiestas and F-350s share the road.

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Plus you traded in your full size truck for a Cobalt ... Why the hate?

Probably from owning a Cobalt. That's enough to make anyone hate small cars! :P

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