It’s no surprise that with high fuel prices and a recession looming that sales of small. fuel efficient cars are up in the first quarter.
Within that group, the so-called lower small cars, the smallest and lowest-priced, boomed. Sales were up nearly 27% from last year. “And last year was a strong year,” notes Tom Libby at Power Information Network, a unit of consultant J.D. Power and Associates.
Standouts: Toyota Yaris (up 70%), Honda Fit (up 61%), Kia Spectra (up 41%). Their starting prices are $12,000 to $14,000. Their mileage ratings are low to mid-30s on the highway. “Yaris — I’ve never seen a model in that segment with sales that high, ever,” Libby says
An analysis of PIN data for USA TODAY showed more owners of small, cheap cars are trading for something similar — 20.8% in the first quarter vs. 17.5% a year ago — instead of moving up in size or price, as they usually do.
More telling: 6% of compact owners traded down in size and price in the first quarter vs. 4.6% a year ago. And 3% of midsize car owners took two steps down, skipping mainstream compacts. usatoday.com/autos