What is in this article?:
- Whither Compact Cars?
- Some CUVs Doing C-Car-Like Volume
While compact-car sales have slumped for six straight months, demand for compact CUVs has skyrocketed.
Honda Civic best-selling C-car in U.S. in 2013.
Is America’s love affair with the C-car over?
It certainly seems things are trending in that direction.
The 6.0% decline in WardsAuto’s Upper Small segment in February marked the sixth straight month of losses for the U.S. group, home to some of the best-known and highest-volume nameplates in the industry, including theCivic, Corolla, and Focus.
While some compacts have been able to buck a downward trend –’s Elantra has been up five of the past six months, most nameplates are off a little or a lot.
The Subaru Impreza,Jetta, Dodge Dart, Mazda3 and Focus struggled in the September through February period. Declines ranged from about 3.0% for the Impreza and Jetta to double-digit percentage plunges for the Dart and Focus.
FiatChrysler announced March 3 it is temporarily laying off 325 workers at the Dart’s Belvidere, IL, assembly plant the first week of March due to bulging inventory.
But even the usually consistent players are having a tough time.
’s Corolla, the No.2 best-selling compact in the U.S., also has seen reduced demand, despite being all-new for ’14.
After the late-September launch of the ’14 model, the nameplate recorded just two monthly increases, 8.7% in October and 1.2% in February.
Bob Carter, senior vice president-automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., told WardsAuto in January that higher-than-usual incentives on the Corolla’s top rival, the Civic, were having a detrimental effect.
“(Honda had) $2,500 cash on a Civic (in December) plus a $3,000 stair-step, hit-your-number (dealer incentive),” Carter said.
But even sales of the Civic haven’t been immune, falling four of the past six months, from a minor dip of 0.3% in January to a deficit of 15.9% in November.