Once again car segmentation. After the analysis of all passenger cars, from ‘A’ to ‘F’ Segments, followed by all types of SUV and MPV, is now time for the sporty cars. Though they occupy a small place in terms of units sold their importance comes from the impact they generate in a brand. Most of the sporty cars are developed to improve the image of a company or increase the awareness of it. They are usually produced in low quantities as their price is high because their target is really exclusive. Actually it is also the main raison why so many car makers do not offer anything in this segment, not even in the smallest sporty cars. They are positioned in a different segment as they are developed to be sporty and not just a simple modification of regular passenger cars. The Mazda MX-5 is a good example of the ‘C-Sport’ segment as it is a really small spyder which was conceived as a that. Besides the Mazda, there are some others like the Lotus Elise and the Peugeot RCZ, which could not be considered as a real sporty car as it is a modification of regular Peugeot 308. Alfa Romeo plans to produce a small spyder sharing platform with the next generation Mazda MX-5, both produced in Japan. So far, the group does not offer anything in this segment, which due to lack of information is not possible to say an exact quantity of cars sold, but is close to 40.000 units/year in the whole world (7.000 in the UK, 5.900 in France, 5.700 in USA and 5.000 in Germany*).
But there are also mid-sized sporty cars that are a bit more popular as they are better positioned and differentiated from regular cars. That’s why Germans, Asians and Americans are present in ‘D-Sport’ segment, by far the most popular of Sporty cars. Once again, the data coming from this kind of cars is not always available. Anyway last year around 320.000 units were sold world-wide. There is no data for Chinese market but it is known that sporty cars are not popular yet. USA is the largest market with 226.000 units. In Europe almost 48.000 units were sold and of course Germany is the largest market with 21.600 units, followed by the UK and Switzerland, where this kind of cars has a larger market share than in the rest of Europe. As it was stated before, Germans are the absolute leaders of the category with their nice Audi TT, BMW Z4, Mercedes SLK and Porsche Boxster/Cayman. But in America, due to segmentation and price reasons, the leaders are real American cars: Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. They are certainly larger than the dynamic Germans but they are considered mid-sized sporty cars as they have larger brothers, such as the Corvette, that belongs to ‘E-Sport’ segment. Chrysler more than 42.000 units of Dodge Challenger in the whole world during 2011. In USA it was far behind the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro, so the market share of the group in the segment was relatively low, 18%, the same of Canadian one. For now the next step of the group in this segment is going to be the arrival of Alfa Romeo 4C, a direct rival of Germans, but according to Marchionne, they don’t expect big sales as it is more an impact car to allow Alfa to come back to American market.