|2018 Chevrolet Sonic|
For the previous couple of months, gasoline costs have been pretty low, actually beneath $Three a gallon in most locations. And when gas costs are down and the financial system is up, individuals usually forego the small vehicles and go for vans, SUVs, and large sedans. We get it: You’ve bought cash in your pocket and are prepared to spend.
However remember, it wasn’t that way back that gas costs had been over $four a gallon, the financial system was climbing out of the ooze, and folks had been shopping for small vehicles. They had been higher on gas, cheaper to buy, and cheaper to function. However American automobile patrons have brief reminiscences and auto producers would a lot relatively reap the massive income of huge vehicles and vans. I get it — it’s a enterprise. I additionally perceive that giant vehicles and vans are a standing image. Nobody seems at you want a baller in a Mitsubishi Mirage. Ask me how I do know. Ask me if I care.
Not way back we talked about Ford had opted to say adios to Fiesta, the corporate’s B-segment brawler, which hit the North American market in 2011. This was relatively alarming, since Ford put such an enormous emphasis into the Fiesta’s preliminary launch (bear in mind the Fiesta Motion?), and the Fiesta ST was lauded as top-of-the-line scorching hatches to grace North America in many years.Then simply final week, Chevrolet introduced it received’t be re-upping the Sonic’s subcompact contract. The Sonic first appeared in 2012, so it had a reasonably brief shelf life right here. Curiously, it does seem Chevy will proceed to supply the smaller A-segment Spark, which has loved shock success. And realistically, Chevy in all probability doesn’t want each an A- and a B-segment automobile in its lineup as of late.
BOWING OUT OF THE B-SEGMENT
So Ford and Chevy are bowing out of the B-segment. What about different firms?
To date, we haven’t heard something from Fiat (regardless of low gross sales), Honda hasn’t stated something in regards to the Match, and Hyundai remains to be promoting the Accent (though it axed the sedan variant) in addition to the Accent-based Veloster. Kia simply refreshed the Rio, and Soul gross sales are nonetheless robust, so it seems like we’re good there. We haven’t heard something but from Mitsubishi, who has been seeing success with its Spartan Mirage. Nissan nonetheless appears to be promoting scads of Versas, and somewehat amazingly, Toyota sunters on with its getting older Yaris Liftback, which nonetheless is utilizing the venerable 1NZ-FE powerplant first utilized in 2000. Sure, it’s had quite a lot of facelifts, nevertheless it nonetheless employs a four-speed auto and is priced above most of its rivals. The Yaris iA, aka Mazda2 sedan, nonetheless sells effectively.
So whereas the Fiesta and Spark are useless males strolling … er … useless vehicles driving, there are nonetheless a number of subcompacts to select from. However are these vehicles consultant of issues to come back?
SUBCOMPACT CUVS ARE STILL STRONG
One factor that’s not going anyplace is the subcompact CUV or crossover. The Hyundai Kona is new, the Ford EcoSport is new, and there are quite a few others with robust numbers from the Buick Encore and Jeep Renegade, to the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-Three. The upcoming Nissan Kicks will be part of the sport shortly, too. Whereas small vehicles are slumping, small CUVs are nonetheless scorching, and probably getting hotter.
Sure, it’s disappointing to see Ford and Chevy abandon the B-segment hatch/sedan market, and it could be signal of future issues to come back. That’s, until gas costs proceed to rise, which they’re. Gasoline by us in Portland, OR is over $Three a gallon for normal unleaded.
With an unsure financial system, political tensions, and dicey international coverage, the market might actually go anyplace. We do know North American patrons love their large vehicles, however the query will stay whether or not or not they’ll proceed to desert the B-segment.