Subcompacts are getting more popular due to increasing fuel prices

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 4, 2011

It’s interesting how the small cars fared against the bigger ones in terms of popularity during the month of April. While subcompacts are getting more popular due to increasing fuel prices and their affordable pricing, they’re still low-volume compared to the other models in their respective lineups.

For example, subcompacts like the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit are far from being disliked but it is the pricier, bigger compact cars such as the Ford Focus and Honda Civic that are truly profitable and popular. In April, the Fiesta was the most popular subcompact with 9,147 units sold. This is a bit higher than half of the Focus’ 17,265 sales total.

The Fiesta wasn’t available yet in April 2010, but the Focus experienced a 22.4% increase year-over-year. In April 2011, five out of every 100 Fords sold were Fiestas. In April, 9.5% of Ford’s 182,542 sales were from Focus vehicles.

The Fiesta ranked eleventh in the best-selling models while the Focus came in at fourth place. On the other hand, Honda’s Fit hatchback sold a record 8,116 units in April, standing for a 73% increase year-over-year.

Sales of the Civic increased by 7% to 26,777, which is more than triple the total sales of the Fit (which accounted for 7% of Honda sales). The Fit was Honda’s sixth best-selling model. Among Hondas, the Civic came after the Accord and it had a bit lower than a quarter of Honda’s April tally.

The established trends remained. Cars.com editor Kelsey Mays threw out a question during a KickingTires story on why compacts and subcompacts have similar mileage. The answer is that while subcompacts are just a bit more efficient than compacts, it’s an overlap in pricing that’s to blame. In fact, a basic Civic coupe is priced only $505 higher than a basic Fit.

Topics: united states, sales

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