The light or city car segment had a modest sales increase of 3.9 percent overall in 2012 compared to 2011 with sales remaining relatively consistent across the field.
For light cars under $25,000, the Holden Barina (up 50.5 percent to 12,357), Honda Jazz (up 22.4 percent to 9,063), Hyundai Accent (up 97.8 percent to 7,170) and i20 (up 53.2 percent to 13,339), Kia Rio (up 27.9 percent to 7,915), Skoda Fabia (up 155.1 percent on an incomplete year of sales in 2011 to 722 in 2012), Toyota Yaris (up 16 percent to 18,808) and Volkswagen Polo (up 36 percent to 5,925) recoded an increase thanks to sharper prices, new models and finance offers. The Volkswagen Up! also made a late entrance and accounted for 531 sales last year.
Meanwhile the Chinese made Chery J1 suffered a 12.9 percent decrease in sales (down to 378), the Ford Fiesta went down by 15.2 percent to 10,413, Holden’s Barina Spark failed to make an impact, dropping by a massive 66 percent to 1,278 sales. Other losers included the Honda City (down by 56.8 percent), Nissan Micra (down 3.6 percent), Proton S16 (down 32.6 percent), Smart Fortwo (down 39.8 percent to just 142 sales for the year), Suzuki Alto (down 1.8 percent) and Swift (down 2.2 percent).
As for the more premium light cars, the electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV found 95 buyers this year (compared to 30 last year), the Fiat 500 saw its sales increase to 428 (up 43.1 percent), Citroen’s DS3 remained strong with 212 sales, Peugeot’s 207 gave way to the 208 with sales increasing moderately year on year accounting for the transition. Renault sold 71 Clios, compared to 69 in 2011.
Despite the trend towards downsizing, the light car segment failed to gather much momentum this year and given the expected update schedule of the big brands, it’s unlikely that the trend will change much in 2013.