Small cars on track to grab largest share of US auto market since 1993

Article by Anita Panait, on October 10, 2012

With carmakers from the U.S., Europe and Japan posting superb sales figures for their small cars, this sector is on its way to grab its largest share of the US vehicle market since 1993. Carmakers Chevrolet, Fiat, Volkswagen, Toyota and Honda all came up with excellent numbers in September that drove small cars to their best sales month in four years. Helped by high pump fuel prices as well as the entry of very outstanding compact and subcompact cars, the US car maker saw a 50-percent year-on-year increase in sales of small sedans, coupes and wagons in September. Nearly all carmakers posted huge figures in September for small models, which accounted for one in five sales for the first time in more than three years.

Toyota and Honda are still the top-sellers of small cars in the US, although local carmakers are steadily gaining on them. As proof, GM’s Chevrolet was the top-seller for the subcompact and compact segments in September with its Sonic and Cruze models. Ford sold more small cars than in any September in a decade while Chrysler’s Fiat brand logged a second straight monthly sales record.

Tom Libby, an analyst at R.L. Polk & Co, told Bloomberg in phone interview that small cars that were previously perceived as econo- boxes now feature equipment that’s also available in bigger, more expensive cars. Libby remarked that the current crop of small cars has everybody agreeing that they are “much better cars with more integrity than their predecessors."

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