The US Small Car Market - September 2012
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The Upper Tier segment represents the biggest segment in unit sales, however greater growth is shown in the Lower Tier and Specialty Tier segments with their smaller frames and greater fuel efficiency.
Rising gas prices and improved vehicle quality are driving consumers to small cars. These vehicles are no longer valued for their practicality but are being marketed more for their lifestyle component. This market picked up in 2011, when unit sales increased 12%, an increase that is expected to continue by the end of 2012. After remaining stable in 2013, this market is expected to pick up 15% in 2014. Between 2014-17, the small market is expected to grow 55.8% in unit sales.
The majority of all respondents to Mintel’s online survey (55%) neither own or lease a small car nor do they plan to buy one in the next six months or more. However, over one quarter (27%) currently own or lease a small car. Those respondents who are planning to purchase either in the next six months (3%) or more than six months hence (3%) is minimal. For automakers aiming to introduce new small car models, the best potential base is the 12% of consumers who do not currently own or lease a small car but are interested in purchasing one.
For the purposes of this report, Mintel considers the small car market as being for new vehicles only (not used), and has used the following segment definitions:
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