The rise of small and medium SUVs have completely changed the buying habits of Australians, who have fallen out of love with the humble small hatchback and sedan.

    Sales of small cars have plummeted by 67 per cent in Australia over the past decade, while their overall market share has collapsed from 23.4 per cent to just 8.2 per cent.

    The number of nameplates in the mix has halved to 22, and the number of brands competing there has reduced by a third to 17.

    When we talk of small cars, what do we mean? Our definition is sourced from Australia’s VFACTS new car sales database, published by the car brands’ peak body, the FCAI.

    Small cars sit between light cars and medium cars, and are separated from small and medium SUVs which offer greater ride height.

    Everyone knows the leading small cars, which include staple nameplates such as the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Hyundai i30, Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf.

    The VFACTS data splits the small car market into two pieces based on price point, with luxurious options like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A3 in their own sub-segment.

    We have included all small cars into one, to really demonstrate just how far these vehicles have fallen in a mere 10 years.

    In 2013 small cars were the most popular type of car, owning a massive 23.4 per cent of the of overall new vehicle market (comprising cars, SUVs and commercials).

    Seven of the top 20 nameplates that year were small cars, being the Toyota Corolla (1st), Mazda 3 (2nd), Hyundai i30 (4th), Holden Cruze (8th), Ford Focus (12th), Volkswagen Golf (14th), and Honda Civic (20th).

    2013 Top 20 models:

    1. Toyota Corolla: 43,498 sales
    2. Mazda 3: 42,082 sales
    3. Toyota HiLux: 39,931 sales
    4. Hyundai i30: 30,582 sales
    5. Holden Commodore: 27,766 sales
    6. Toyota Camry: 24,860 sales
    7. Mitsubishi Triton: 24,512 sales
    8. Holden Cruze: 24,421 sales
    9. Nissan Navara: 24,108 sales
    10. Ford Ranger: 21,572 sales
    11. Mazda CX-5: 20,129 sales
    12. Ford Focus: 19,180 sales
    13. Hyundai ix35: 19,098 sales
    14. Volkswagen Golf: 17,342 sales
    15. Holden Colorado: 17,203 sales
    16. Toyota RAV4: 16,983 sales
    17. Mazda 2: 15,167 sales
    18. Toyota Prado: 14,568 sales
    19. Toyota Yaris: 14,437 sales
    20. Honda Civic, Ford Territory: 14,261 sales each

    Pull forward to 2022 with the last full year of data and the market share of small cars has tumbled to a meagre 8.2 per cent. What was the number one segment a decade previous is now the number five segment – behind 4×4 utes, medium SUVs, small SUVs and large SUVs.

    Only three small cars finished in the top 20 for 2022: the Toyota Corolla (6th), Hyundai i30 (9th), and Kia Cerato (19th).

    2022 Top 20 models:

    1. Toyota HiLux: 64,391 sales
    2. Ford Ranger: 47,479 sales
    3. Toyota RAV4: 34,845 sales
    4. Mitsubishi Triton: 27,436 sales
    5. Mazda CX-5: 27,062 sales
    6. Toyota Corolla: 25,284
    7. Isuzu D-Max: 24,336 sales
    8. MG ZS: 22,466 sales
    9. Hyundai i30: 21,166 sales
    10. Toyota Prado: 21,102 sales
    11. Mitsubishi Outlander: 19,546 sales
    12. Kia Sportage: 18,792 sales
    13. Hyundai Tucson: 17,870 sales
    14. MG 3: 16,168 sales
    15. Mazda CX-30: 13,891 sales
    16. Toyota LandCruiser wagon: 13,152 sales
    17. Mazda BT-50: 12,937 sales
    18. Toyota Kluger: 12,562 sales
    19. Kia Cerato: 12,354 sales
    20. Mazda CX-3: 11,907 sales

    This table shows the steady decline in small cars both in terms of sales and market share.

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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