Automotive Blog

GM and Ford gain share in growing sub-compact segment

One reason for the improved U.S. market shares for both GM and Ford in 2013 is their rising shares of the non-luxury subcompact car category. GM's share of this segment climbed from 8.6% in 2011 to 14.3% last year, and it should reach 15% this year. Both the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark have sold well and represent improvements versus the Daewoo-based Chevrolet Aveo. In 2012, the Sonic ranked number two in the subcompact segment based on registrations, trailing only the Versa.

Ford did not participate in this segment prior to 2009, but by 2012 the Fiesta accounted for 8.0% of all sub-compact registrations. The Fiesta recently has lost ground, though, in the face of stiff competition from both Chevrolet and the Asian models.

Not only have the two domestic companies been gaining share in the subcompact segment, but the segment itself has been growing and now accounts for a significant portion of all new vehicle registrations. Dismissed years ago as trivial, this segment in 2012 accounted for 4.5% of the U.S. new vehicle industry, more than minivans, midsize pickups or large non-luxury cars.

Looking forward, Polk forecasts that the segment will continue to grab more than 4% of the industry through the next several years. While the domestics will maintain a healthy presence in the segment, both will lose some share in the face of increased competition from Nissan, Mitsubishi, smart and MINI, among others.

Tom Libby is manager, loyalty practice and industry analysis, IHS Automotive

Posted on June 20, 2013

About The Author

Manager, Loyalty Solutions and Industry Analysis

Tom currently uses his passion for the auto industry to serve as a Solutions Consultant for IHS Automotive's Loyalty Practice. His past roles here include Sr. Forecasting Analyst and PolkInsight Advisor (he worked for two years in Polk’s Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey office). Tom's other interests include reading, gardening, sailing and running. Aside from Detroit and New York, Tom has also lived in Los Angeles, Denver, and Boston, where he drove a taxi for two years. Tom has also traveled extensively in the United States and overseas, including an overland trip across Asia after graduating from college. Tom is inspired by people who practice what they preach and enjoys socializing with friends that he's met throughout his career and from school.

Tom is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA). During the 2009 calendar year, Tom was President of that organization. He is an active member of the Automotive Press Association, and in the past has written a blog for the online version of the Detroit Free Press. Tom has a bachelor's degree in history from Amherst College, an MBA with a marketing concentration from Columbia University and once served as an Adjunct Professor of Market Research at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.