Ford and Chevy have each enjoyed surprising success with their latest subcompact car offerings, the Fiesta and Sonic. In a class dominated for decades by the Japanese, each has carved out a solid niche in sales, and each makes a fine entry-level ride for drivers with a diverse set of needs.
Posts Tagged ‘Subcompact Cars’
The new 2013 Chevrolet Spark is the smallest Chevrolet production vehicle ever built, but General Motors has high hopes for its 38-mpg five-passenger mini-car. Why, exactly?
The Spark has not been a runaway hit, but in a segment that didn’t exist 5 years ago, its 2,000+ monthly sales volume is strong. But better still for GM’s bottom line, the car is bringing buyers into the Chevy ecosystem that would not have considered the brand’s other products.
Not only was the sub-$12,000 Nissan Versa the best-selling subcompact or micro-car of 2012, but it smashed the next-closest competitor by more than 30,000 units.
Nissan sold 113,327 of its little sedan and hatchback over the calendar year, and 10,618 in December alone. The Chevrolet Sonic was next at 81,247 units, followed by the third-place Hyundai Accent at 61,004. After Hyundai’s subcompact entry jumped in price with its recent redesign, the Versa is now the cheapest new car you can buy in the U.S. at $11,990 to start. And for buyers in a segment where price is often the most important consideration, that combined with far more standard features than the previous-generation Versa were enough to help Nissan remain on top.
The Fiat 500, the first U.S.-market model to come from the Italian automaker in decades, deserves recognition for its strong performance of 43,772 units, outselling entries from more-established small car players like Toyota and Kia.
|Subcompact/Microcar Sales||Dec. 2012||All of 2012|
At next month’s 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Honda will show an all-new concept previewing a new addition to the brand’s U.S. lineup: a smaller crossover SUV to slot in beneath the compact CR-V in size and price.
Called only the “Urban SUV Concept” for now, Honda’s latest will be built atop the platform underpinning the next-generation Fit subcompact, which is set to go on sale for the 2014 model year. Such “micro-crossovers,” like the new 2013 Buick Encore and upcoming Mazda CX-3, provide drivers with a high seating position, good efficiency and decent cargo capacity while maintaining length and width more along the lines of the Fit and other subcompacts.
The final production version will likely wear the Fit badge with some suffix. Today, Honda sells a car along these lines in other world markets called the Fit Shuttle. The next-gen Fit lineup will also expand to include a sedan, as Honda makes a push to sell 200,000 Fit-based subcompacts in the U.S. annually going forward.
Hot on the heels of the new-for-2013 Ford Focus ST high-performance hatchback, the smaller Fiesta will release for the 2013 model year with a thorough makeover from Ford’s new worldwide ST performance division. Ford can boast that the Fiesta ST will have the largest power of any car in the subcompact segment, thanks to the brand’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder we like so much in the new 2013 Escape crossover.
As tuned for the Fiesta ST, this willing engine makes 197 horsepower and a healthy 214 lb-ft. of torque and comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Ford also recalibrated the Fiesta’s steering and suspension dynamics for a sportier ride, adding in 17-inch exclusive alloy wheels, SYNC with MyFord Touch and dual exhaust. With an estimated 34 highway mpg to go with its performance cred, the Fiesta ST should convince a whole new generation of young car nuts that Ford brings the goods.
Pricing information has not yet been released, but we’ll venture a guess at a hair under $19k. Look for the Fiesta ST in U.S. dealerships in mid-2013.