Box cars are a niche product that have found their place in the market, and among the three in the segment, the Kia Soul continues to reign king – by a huge margin.
Kia had an excellent 2011 overall, reporting a whopping 36.3 percent year-over-year sales gain over 2010. A big part of that total was the Soul -- it was the company's second best-selling model, which overshot the 100,000 mark in 2011 with a total of 102,267. This represents an astounding 52.4 percent gain over the totals for 2010, when 67,110 Souls were sold. Even in its first year on the market in 2009, the Soul still came in first on top of the Scion xB and the Nissan Cube, with 31,621 vehicles moved off the lot. With help from the old school Hamstars, and the lowest starting price of the three, the Soul train keeps charging ahead.
The once-hip Scion xB is showing its age, as 2011 sales for the box car totaled only 17,071 units, representing a 16.7 percent decrease over 2010. It seems as though the xB continues its ride down a slippery slope, as 2010 annual sales were also down 19.5 percent compared to 2009, when 25,461 units of the xB were sold. The fact that the five-door hatchback hasn’t seen a major refresh since 2008 could be partly to blame for declining sales, but it also seems as though the Soul has stolen the box-car thunder. 85,250 more Souls were sold in 2011 than the xB, and the Soul's 2011figure is about 60,000 more than the xB’s 2010 and 2011 annual volumes combined.
The quirky Nissan Cube comes in dead last, with 14,459 units sold in 2011. This represents a 37 percent decrease over 2010, when the Cube surprisingly managed to beat xB sales by roughly 2500 units with a total 22,968. Although it came in third for 2011, its performance in 2010 picks up a little bit of its slack. We wouldn't be surprised if, like in other markets, the advent of the similar-sized and equally funky Juke stole some of the Cube's thunder. When looking at combined 2010 and 2011 sales, the xB is still the biggest loser, as the Cube beats the xB by a hair with 46 units at a combined total of 37,427 vehicles.
Source: Kia, Nissan, Scion