Ward’s Autoreported on Tuesday that Ford’s U.S. sales executives were, “‘pleased’ with small car sales in March, side-stepping analyst question whether they benefited by GM recall.”
Prompted by GoodCarBadCar to expand on Ford’s pleasure amidst declining Focus and Fiesta sales, Ward’s not incorrectly pointed out that Ford is acknowledging an overall decline among small cars, and more to the point: “GM recall topic raised and Ford wisely stayed away.” (Twitter is responsible for the sentence structure.)
But that was early Tuesday, and we’ve since realized that compact car sales, though down in in Q1 overall, were slightly improved in the month of March 2014, specifically.
Indeed, subcompact sales increased in March, as well, but the Fiesta didn’t take part in the growth. (We display the C-Max with hybrids/electrics like the Prius, Leaf and Volt in GCBC’s midsize results page due to the higher price points, but C-Max sales dropped 39% in March.)
The Focus has been riding a declining wave in each of the last seven months. Ford recently refreshed the Fiesta, but its subcompact market share fell from 13.1% in March 2013 to 11.9% in March 2014 – Q1 market share for the Fiesta fell from 12.2% to 11.9%.
In the overall scheme of things, Ford’s not wrong. Passenger cars, small and big, have struggled this year to match the pace they achieved in early 2013. And the Focus, suddenly looking a bit tired and ready for a 2015 refresh of its own, is not bringing in more and more customers because of its on-road dynamic potential. Rather, cars with less sharpness are claiming greater market share, and Focus sales have fallen 16% this year, far worse than the compact category’s 3% decrease.
Sales of the Chevrolet Cruze, no spring chicken for MY2014, are growing at a fair clip this year. The Cruze doesn’t yet appear to be too negatively impacted by the negative attention recently paid to General Motors. We’ll know more on that front when April’s results arrive four weeks from now.
In the end, the Cruze was not America’s top-selling small car in March 2014, nor was 2013’s class-leading Honda Civic. Corolla sales slid 5.5%, but with nearly 30,000 units, the Corolla led the way.
You can click any model name in the tables below to find historical monthly and yearly U.S. auto sales data. You can also select a make and model at GCBC’s Sales Stats page. These tables are now sortable, so you can rank small cars – subcompacts, compacts, city cars, warm hatches, urban crossovers – any which way you like. Suggestions on how GCBC should break down segments can be passed on through the Contact page.