Now that the books are officially closed on the 2013 selling season, let's do a quick rundown of the leading players in the leading segments from the past year, with a focus on the mainstream entries for today. But first, some context: After a difficult December in which the industry managed a modest .3 percent gain in volume, the final tally for the year—according to the data published in the Wall Street Journal—showed automakers delivering 15,600,199 units in 2013 and achieving a combined 7.6 percent increase in volume as compared to 2012.
With that mark as the baseline for whether a vehicle outperformed the industry as a whole last year, and noting that all volume numbers come directly from the automakers, let's start with the smaller cars and work our way up. (Also, hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles will be covered in a separate report.)
For the random collection of city cars and sub-subcompacts down at the bottom of the size spectrum, there was a clear separation between the trio at the top and everyone else:
- Chevrolet Spark—34,130 sales, up 175.6 percent
- Fiat 500—35,834 sales, down 18.1 percent
- Mini Cooper—29,278 sales, up 4.3 percent
- Smart fortwo—9,264 sales, down 7.4 percent
- Scion iQ—4,046 sales, down 54.4 percent
- Mitsubishi Mirage—2,438 sales in its first year on the market
Notes: The Chevy Spark did most of its best work earlier in the year, and ended the year with a 23.2 percent drop in volume in December; the results for Mini refer solely to the hardtop version; and the Mitsubishi Mirage has been at dealerships for just two months.