Ford and Chevrolet once wrote off the United States subcompact car market to Japanese brands, but now they are playing dominating this segment. Ford and Chevrolet now account for nearly a fourth of all subcompact sales in the US. July 2013 sales results showed the Nissan Versa leading the entry-level subcompact cars with 9,007 units sold in the US.
At second and third were the Ford Fiesta and the Chevrolet Sonic, respectively. Trailing behind were the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris. On the other hand, the top-selling subcompact vehicle, the Kia Soul, competes on other segment with other sporty, non-entry crossovers like the Nissan Juke and Scion xB.
In response to the surge of the Ford and Chevrolet brands, Japanese carmakers plan to roll out a new generation of North America-built subcompact at lower prices. Fred Diaz, US sales and marketing head for Nissan Division, remarked that local carmakers are getting “really, really good” at building small vehicles.
Diaz noted that many years ago, domestic OEMs “couldn't imagine that Asian imports would be able to come in and be as strong as they were.” He remarked that Nissan would not want to make the same mistake and “turn a blind eye to the domestics." Observers like Tom Libby, head of North American forecasting for R. L. Polk & Co., view the surge of Ford and Chevrolet, a brand of General Motors, as astonishing.
He noted that seeing a GM brand outselling Toyota and Honda in a small-car segment is “a little startling." Libby remarked this situation is not something that has happened before. He was also surprised at the sales figure for the Toyota Yaris, which he described as “so low by comparison.” GM’s Chevrolet sold 50,960 Sonics in the first seven months of 2013, nearly four times the sales figure Toyota posted for the Yaris.