Compact Car Clash: Chevy Cruze Falls From Top Spot; Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic Post Gains

Well, so much for the Chevrolet Cruze’s dominance in the compact car market. After a five-month reign at the top of the pile, the two stalwarts of the segment – the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic – have regained their dominance in the numbers one and two spots, according to the October 2011 sales numbers.

Toyota Corolla – 16,244 Sold

Despite its age – despite a facelift for the 2011 model year, the current-generation Corolla made its debut back in 2006 –the Corolla has retaking its spot atop the compact-car heap. For much of this year, Toyota’s production was rocked by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and then later in the year by the rising value of the Yen against the dollar. Now that the Japanese giant is operating at 100 percent once again, buyers appear to be snapping up their old favorite.

Honda Civic – 16,173 Sold

Hot on the heels of the Corolla is its longtime close competitor, the Honda Civic. Sales jumped by almost 18 percent over last month thanks to a final full roll-out of the all-new 2012 model in all sedan, coupe, Si, hybrid, and natural gas flavors. Like Toyota, Honda’s production levels had been affected by a series of weather-related causes, be in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan or a series of storms last month that kept east-coast buyers away from dealerships.

Chevrolet Cruze – 14,295 Sold

The now former king of the castle has fallen two spots down to number three, thanks to a sizeable 21-percent drop in sales over last month. Even so, Chevy isn’t worried. Spokesperson Annalisa Bluhm told us “while some of our competitors had compelling incentives [in October], the Cruze is now our number one seller for both Chevrolet and GM over the whole year, overtaking the Silverado both in the states and worldwide. We don’t see [the drop] as an indication…consumers prefer and like [the Cruze].” She’s right – looking at the year-to-date sales numbers, the Cruze is pulling a close number two to the Corolla at 201,819. A slim margin of 1316 units is all that separates it from the leader of the pack.

Volkswagen Jetta – 13,058 Sold

While enthusiasts have bemoaned the loss of a high-quality interior and a certain robust VW characterin the new Jetta, buyers have yet to agree. Volkswagen’s latest compact sedan is more than holding its own in the top five of the compact class. Last month, it rose to third place, but fell 13 percent in October, earning it the fourth-place spot. Some of the slide could be attributedto the 2011 model’s price hike – it may have only been $500, but it also helped move the Jetta from being one of the cheapest offerings in its class to one of the most expensive.

Hyundai Elantra – 13,000 Sold

Hyundai is right in the Jetta’s rearview mirror – only 58 units separate the Elantra’s October sales numbers from the Jetta. Since the current-generation Elantra’s debut last year, sales of Hyundai’s compact have been on a slow slide month-by-month – going from a high of number two in the class in May and June of this year down to number five in October – it maintains a strong foothold with the number four spot in year-to-date totals.

Ford Focus – 12,386 Sold

Where’s the Focus? Last month, the car trailed the fifth-best-selling compact – the Civic – by a fair share. This month, the car still slots in last in terms of volume, but compared to September, October’s sales grew by 20 percent month. That growth, Ford spokesperson Erich Merkle told us, is what we should expect to see for the model in the coming months.

“We’re seeing increases in retail sales for the Focus…we came very close to doubling our retail sales in Californa, and we’re up 50 percent in New York,” says Merkle. “We’re treating the Focus like the Fiesta by focusing on coastal markets first. We’re confident in the reception that [the Focus] is receiving in regions that are not traditional for Ford.”

As the months roll on, Ford expects to send a greater inventory toward the middle of the country to help bolster the already-positive sales numbers from the coastal regions. It's also worth noting that the Focus was the number-two selling compact for much of the past six months. This is one to watch in the months to come.

Do you think that the Cruze has the potential to topple the Corolla for full-year sales, or will the long-standing king stay in its thrown? Or do you think that one of the new contenders has the possibility to become the new champ of the compact segment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Top 5 Sales Rankings Since May 2011:

May 2011:

  1. Chevy Cruze – 22,711
  2. Ford Focus – 22,303
  3. Hyundai Elantra – 20,006
  4. Honda Civic – 18,341
  5. Toyota Corolla – 16,985
  6. VW Jetta – 16,671
June 2011:
  1. Chevy Cruze – 24,896
  2. Ford Focus – 21,385
  3. Hyundai Elantra – 19,992
  4. Toyota Corolla – 18,872
  5. Honda Civic – 17,485
  6. VW Jetta – 17,105
July 2011:
  1. Chevy Cruze – 24,468
  2. Toyota Corolla – 17,577
  3. VW Jetta – 15,713
  4. Hyundai Elantra – 15,181
  5. Ford Focus – 14,889
  6. Honda Civic – 14,006
August 2011:
  1. Chevy Cruze – 21,897
  2. Toyota Corolla – 16,420
  3. Hyundai Elantra – 15,054
  4. VW Jetta – 14,500
  5. Ford Focus – 14,093
  6. Honda Civic – 12,083
September 2011:
  1. Chevy Cruze – 18,097
  2. Toyota Corolla – 16,147
  3. VW Jetta – 15,023
  4. Hyundai Elantra – 14,386
  5. Honda Civic – 13,724
  6. Ford Focus – 10,309
October 2011:
  1. Toyota Corolla – 16,244
  2. Honda Civic – 16,173
  3. Chevrolet Cruze – 14,295
  4. VW Jetta – 13,058
  5. Hyundai Elantra – 13,000
  6. Ford Focus – 12,386
Source: Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Volkswagen

european man
On my continent we see the Chevrolet Cruze as a B choice car. I will explain what it means. B choice cars are cheaper and the interior is from the cheapest plastic. A Corolla for example have a A status in the compact segment and stands for quality made. The Cruze sales in Europe are poor. The buyers knew that the Cruze is Korean made and this car will only bought buy people who want much luxory for less money. Personaly the Cruze is looking good but the German car makers and Japanese car makers have a better imago on the European continent.
mE
if Ford wants to sell more of the Focus, they need to revamp their packaging and prices. The buyers in this segment are highly informed, and are ware of the reliability problems with the Fiesta and Focus, and they compare heavily. The other companies have 3-4 trim levels, the price, and destination charge. Ford has its usual unrealistic base price, and everything is an option, most decent options tied into packages that give you electronic crap no one needs. At the end of the day, you can rack up almost $8500 in options to bring it to the level of other makers, then you get "fees" that can run $1200-1600. You go through this ridiculous bargaining procedure with the dealer mixing about fake numbers. The your car devalues 50% in two years. This is the way my parents bought cars.

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price

subscribe

new cars

Read Related Articles

TO TOP