In the first quarter of 2006, there were 53,328 subcompacts sold. In the first quarter of this year, 107,942 little engines that could have tootled off of dealer lots. That's a 95.1% increase. At the current pace, according to Ward's Auto, B-segment vehicles will nearly double their last year's sales of 274,272 units. That would put them at levels not seen since 1995.

Until recently, sales of subcompacts consistently declined. In 1998, 120,216 only of them were sold, which was a 26-year low, and a huge drop from the 567,210 cars sold just three years prior to that. It's a small market compared to other segments, but it's a noteworthy trend because of the multitude of factors that could be driving it. A Global Insight analyst said that "auto makers missed the ball when they aimed the latest crop of B-cars at the youth market," because Gen Y would rather have trucks or SUVs. (Has anyone told Scion or Honda that?) But if that's the case, who's buying them and why?

[Source: Sema via Winding Road]


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