October was the first month in 2011 where four new, unconventional hatchbacks — the Mini Coupe, Honda CR-Z, Hyundai Veloster, and Volkswagen Beetle – all competed against one another. The four take unconventional roads towards the same goal–the blend of convenience, fuel economy, and driving fun–and might attract different buyers, but one of the four has emerged the clear winner in the sales department.
The winner, by a large margin, is the 2012 Hyundai Veloster, which sold 3,724 units last month, the second month since it was launched on the market. The Veloster’s take on economical fun comes from a 1.6-liter normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, which helps it attain 40 mpg on the highway when mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Thus far in 2011, nearly 4,558 units have been sold – impressive, considering it first hit dealers in September. A Hyundai spokesman wasted no time in celebrating the win: “we’re really excited,” he said. “We’ve nailed the execution, and the sales are reflecting that.”
Coming in second is the Volkswagen Beetle, as sales amounted to 1,516 units last month. This is the Beetle’s second month on sale since its complete redesign for the 2,012 model year. The car has sold 2,440 units so far this year, which is good enough to give it a 78.5 percent improvement over the previous model’s sales figures in the same timeframe last year.
The 2012 Mini Coupe has only been on sale for one month, but it sold 414 units in October, enough to earn it third place in the quirky competition. A spokesperson for Mini says the Coupe is certainly a niche model and won’t cannibalize Hardtop sales, but does expect those volumes to increase as production and supplies ramp up.
Bringing up the rear, surprisingly, is Honda’s quirky two-seat CR-Z hybrid. Honda sold a scant 289 CR-Z models last month, down 79 percent from October 2010. It’s a strange turn of events for the CR-Z, which has been enjoying a good sales year overall: the hybrid has found 10,461 models this year so far, about 212 percent more than the same period in 2010. A Honda spokespersonsays that the low sales numbers are due to surprisingly low inventory. Dealers are selling as many CR-Zs as they can, but last month’s inventory barely had enough stock to provide each dealer with a single CR-Z to sell. That depletion of inventory, in turn, can be blamed on residual supply and production problems from this year’s earthquake in Japan.
Sources: Hyundai, Honda, Mini, Volkswagen