These Compact Sedans Sold Well in First Half of 2024

2025 honda civic hatch and 2025 toyota corolla hatch parked facing each other
These Compact Sedans Had a Great First Half of ‘24Courtesy of Manufacturers
  • Compact sedans recorded an uptick in first-half sales in the US, but the momentum remains decidedly with trucks, SUVs and crossovers.

  • While the “Upper Small” segment for the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic demonstrated impressive growth of nearly 23% for the first half, nearly every other car segment has lost volume.

  • Is this the start of a sustained resurgence in compact sedan popularity, or are these sales merely reflecting consumer excitement about lower average transaction prices?

A couple of new-vehicle numbers popped from the sales chart pages this month. Make that, new-car sales numbers: Honda Civic was up 38.1% for the first half of this year to 129,788, and Toyota Corolla sales were up 25.8% to 121,991, both compared with first-half 2023 sales.


Toyota could have sold more Corollas, redesigned for 2024, if it had better supply, says division sales Vice President Damon Rose.

The Corolla and Civic sedans are still not as popular as their compact crossover counterparts, which are two of the industry’s bestsellers once you get past full-size pickup trucks from the three Detroit brands.

For context, Toyota sold 248,295 RAV4s (up 32.8% from the first half of last year) and Honda sold 196,204 CR-Vs (up 19.9%).

Nissan’s Sentra compact sedan was up 55% over first-half 2023 to 89,028, and the subcompact Versa was up 61.7% to 17,812, while Rogue crossover sales fell 4.5%, to 141,160.

It was a mixed bag for the two South Korean brands, which also remain in the sedan game. Hyundai sold 17% fewer Elantras in the first half, at 62,289, while Kia Forte sales rose 13.6% to 70,473. The Volkswagen Jetta was up 76%, but it’s a niche model among compact sedans, with 20,508 sold.

2024 hyundai elantra nline
2024 Hyundai Elantra N-Line.Hyundai

What’s going on here?

SUVs, pickups, and crossover/utility vehicles have dominated the US market so well for so long that Corolla and Civic sales increases stand out.

Has the tide turned for sedans now that the Detroit Three have abandoned the segment?

The short answer is, no. First-half sales this year confirm that 80% of the US market is trucks: pickups, vans, SUVs, and car-based crossover/utility vehicles, and many of those demonstrated first-half growth, both for mainstream and luxury brands, according to Wards Intelligence data.

Car Segments Still Lag Far Behind Trucks, SUVs

Group all those “truck” segments together, and the data show 3.7% first-half growth to more than 6 million vehicle deliveries in the US.

The “car” segments making up the remaining 20% of the US market (such as Accord, Civic, and BMW 3-Series) show a first-half sales drop of 4.1%, to a total of 1.5 million vehicles sold, according to Wards data.

And while the “Upper Small” segment for the Corolla and Civic demonstrated impressive growth of nearly 23% for the first half, nearly every other car segment has lost volume.

Over the last couple of decades, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, especially, have insisted they would keep building compact and midsize sedans as long as their segments total sales in the low millions.

It’s akin to minivan sales, which dropped off after the first significant wave of SUVs. Not everyone makes minivans anymore, but automakers that are still in that game aren’t about to drop out, yet.

Rose says Toyota’s dealers are “begging and pleading for more sedans.” As middle-class and first-time new vehicle shoppers blanche at an industry average transaction price of $48,389 for the first half of the year, according to Cox Automotive, compact sedans come well equipped without breaching $30,000.

2024 nissan sentra
2024 Nissan Sentra.Nissan

Dealerships typically take heavily equipped models at the top trim levels when a new model is introduced or thoroughly redesigned.

Toyota passenger car ATPs were at $31,443 in June, more than $8,000 less than the brand’s overall ATP, which includes trucks and SUVs.

But Corolla’s ATP for the first half was below $30,000, Rose says. Toyota’s dealerships are being allowed to “order less-expensive grades if they need them,” he says.

Midsize Sedans Aren’t Selling as Well

Midsize sedans like Camry and Accord, which once ruled Toyota and Honda dealers’ lots, push up those sedan ATPs, but for the first half of the year, their sales results were a mixed bag.

The Camry still rules sedan deliveries, with 155,242 sold in the first half, though up just 3% as Toyota transitions to an all-new model for 2025. Accord sales fell 19.2% to 80,721, and Nissan Altima was off 5.3% to 59,896.

Civic is number-one in its segment for retail sales, a Honda spokesman says via email, and it has gained 4.7% market share in the industry’s largest passenger car segment.

Civic is also the number-one model by volume for manual gearbox sales in the US, according to Honda.

Both Civic and the Honda HR-V compact crossover have ATPs under $28,000 for the first half, the Honda spokesman says. HR-V sales were up 19.9% for the first half of the year, to 196,204, nearly 66,000 units greater than Civic results.

And therein lies the issue: Is this a resurgence in compact sedan popularity, or does it merely reflect consumer enthusiasm for lower average transaction prices?

2024 chevrolet trax
2024 Chevrolet Trax ACTIV.Chevrolet

“Crossovers are being cross-shopped with more traditional sedans and hatchbacks,” says Sam Fiorani, vice president of global forecasting for AutoForecast Solutions.

“Occasionally, small sedans may see an uptick in sales, but the additional cargo space in a crossover along with the high ride height is pushing an increasing number of buyers in that direction.

“Fewer and fewer buyers have a preference for a traditional three-box body style over the two-box utility vehicle, and the shift away from sedans will continue.”

Chevrolet’s success with its Trax CUV bears that out. The small crossover’s ATP is about $24,000, according to a Chevy spokesman.

Sales were up 230.3% to 90,463 units for the first half of the year, making the Trax Chevrolet’s third-best seller after the Silverado in all its iterations, and the Equinox midsize crossover.

Toyota sold 45,167 Corolla Crosses, up 59.4% for the first half. Its entry into the compact crossover segment launched two model years ago.

honda hrv
Honda HR-V

Corolla Cross is more upright and looks more like a smaller RAV4 than a competitor for the Honda HR-V or the Chevy Trax, which was redesigned for 2024, with a longer wheelbase and overall length.

Both the Honda HR-V and Chevy Trax have sleek, almost coupe-like four-door hatchback profiles, and if their sales trend continues they will surely grab more Corolla and Civic customers.

Until then, car enthusiasts can celebrate a small but significant uptick in popularity of traditional compact sedans thanks in part to their affordability.

Do the lower prices make compact sedans attractive to you in the new-car market, or will you pay for more vehicle? Please comment below.