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