SUV sales are going through the roof, but it’s the small-car segment that remains the biggest by market-share, sitting at 18.7 per cent for the first half of 2017.
This equates to 112,312 sales, down about 5 per cent over 2016. In other words, sales are eroding, but slowly. And three members of this segment remain ensconced in the top-five selling vehicles overall, behind the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger utes.
The fact that these three kings of the class are down, at a rate greater than the segment average, is due to the introduction of several brand new offerings, and very sharp factory incentives on some old favourites.
Fourth-in-segment is the Kia Cerato on 10,331, up a massive 65 per cent. With many brands shifting slightly upmarket, Kia has capitalised by retailing its ageing offer at $19,990 drive-away with an auto thrown in, and reaped the rewards.
Next is the Volkswagen Golf on 8994, down 17 per cent despite sharp pricing of runout models ahead of the recent launch of a facelifted model.
Two new Japanese entrants have pinched a number of sales from the established set, being the Honda Civic (6563, up 350 per cent, even more impressive given the hatchback version only just arrived) and Subaru Impreza (6373, up 114 per cent).
Another new arrival is the Holden Astra, which is the number-two European model in-segment after the Golf, with 4735 sales — a good result, albeit fewer than its Cruze predecessor managed over H1, 2016. Then again, the just-launched Astra sedan will help.
Ninth spot is an old warhorse in the Mitsubishi Lancer (3612, down 14 per cent), showing that proven mechanicals and cut-throat pricing can counteract age, just ahead of the savagely underrated Ford Focus on 3243, up 10 per cent.
Nipping at the Ford’s heels is the Hyundai Elantra on 3203 (up 27 per cent) which, when paired to Hyundai’s i30 hatch, almost matches the Mazda 3’s total. Almost.
Germans own the next three spots in the ladder, though sales of premium-priced small cars have fallen at a rate almost three-times the segment average.
Read about the total market over H1 here for more in-depth info.
Small car sales H1, 2017
BMW 1 Series
Volvo V40 and V40 CC
Holden Cruze (discontinued)
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
Toyota Prius V
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Nissan Pulsar (discontinued)
Kia Rondo five-seat
Citroen C4 Picasso
Proton Suprima S
Renault Fluence (discontinued)