ATLANTA — A report by AutoTrader.com revealed that new model entries in the compact car segment made considerable gains in consumer interest in September. The automotive information Website’s New Car Insights Report also indicated that luxury vehicles are gaining ground, with notable new-car rank improvements compared to the previous month.
New entries led the charge on AutoTrader’s list of “Big Movers” — vehicles that have gained significantly more consumer interest month over month. Recording large month-over-month rank improvements were the Hyundai Veloster (up 219 spots to No. 144), the Chevrolet Sonic (up 215 spots to No. 109), the redesigned Volkswagen Beetle (up 169 spots to No. 141) and the Fiat 500 (up 30 spots to No. 66). The redesigned Nissan Versa rounded out the top compact cars on the Big Movers list, jumping 72 spots to No. 50.
Barring any unforeseen issues, these small cars are expected to rise up in the rankings as consumers seek more economical choices, according to AutoTrader.com.
"In the past, small cars didn't fare very well with American shoppers, as many of the available options were considered cheap and lacking in features. However, the compacts being produced today like the Veloster and the Sonic are exciting, fun-to-drive and fuel-efficient,” said Rick Wainschel, vice president of automotive insights for AutoTrader.com. “Add in some great technology features being offered on these models, and there's a lot more to love about these small cars."
Luxury cars made some big month-over-month moves on the site as well. The Mercedes-Benz CL Class led the pack, moving up 82 spots from August to September — the largest rankings leap of all of the new luxury vehicles on the site. The C Class, fueled by new designs for the 2012 model year, made a 74-spot leap, while the GL Class moved up 27 spots. Additionally, The S Class experienced a 25 spot improvement.
Rounding out the list of luxury cars making big moves in September were the Audi TT models with a 55-spot jump, the Jaguar XF with a 39-spot leap and the Hyundai Equus with a 39-spot improvement.
"The movement of these luxury cars in September was quite revealing to us," Wainschel said. "What these numbers say to us is that there may be some pent up demand developing in the luxury car segment. Whether these vehicles continue to garner significant interest will likely be driven by consumer confidence and the economic climate over the next few months."
Out of the total views on AutoTrader.com in September, trucks experienced a point change of 2.3 compared to the month prior. On a year-over-year basis, views for full-size trucks were up 3.4 points from September 2010, and a full 6.3 points from September 2009.
Mid-size SUVs are currently the second most-viewed segment on the site, though the overall share of views declined from August to September by 0.9 points. Full-size SUVs also have shown similar increases in consumer interest, with the segment up 0.1 points in share of views on a month-over-month basis.
"We definitely saw a dip in interest for large trucks and SUVs during the April-May timeframe as gas prices were near record highs, but the segments have experienced a healthy rebound since then," Wainschel said. "With compact car and luxury car interest also seeing recent gains, automakers will have to carefully monitor the trends in shopper behavior to chart their course and adjust their sails."