Ford — with its Fiesta subcompact (above,) Focus and C-Max compacts, Fusion midsize and Escape compact SUV — had about 818,000 sales in the supersegment. (Ford)
Dearborn — Ford Motor Co. is looking at auto industry sales in a new way, lumping a handful of the most popular segments into one "supersegment."
The supersegment is the combination of four segments — subcompact, compact, midsize and compact SUV — developed internally by Ford to show dealers the biggest growth segments in the industry. Sales within those segments make up slightly more than half of all new-vehicle sales.
"We see this trend playing out over the next 10 years," said Erich Merkle, Ford's U.S. sales analyst.
In the so-called supersegment, Ford has regularly trailed foreign automakers Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., but is quickly making up ground, especially in 2013, where Ford has leapfrogged Honda (through February) for second place among supersegment sales.
Honda in 2012 posted about 980,000 sales in the supersegment. The Japanese automaker's segment total was derived from sales of the Fit subcompact, Civic compact, Accord midsize and CR-V compact SUV.
Toyota — with the Yaris subcompact, Corolla and Prius compacts, Camry midsize and RAV4 compact SUV and Scion small vehicles — posted about 1.1 million sales.
And Ford — with its Fiesta subcompact, Focus and C-Max compacts, Fusion midsize and Escape compact SUV — had about 818,000 sales in the supersegment.
Ford wants to better challenge Honda and Toyota, particularly among the 90-million-strong Millennial generation, which Edmunds.com and R.L. Polk & Co. found is less loyal when it comes to buying cars.
The Dearborn automaker thinks it can conquest buyers and build a larger customer base through the supersegment.
Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Edmunds.com, said the segment is "totally invented by" Ford, but "a different way to slice and dice the numbers. It is a way that looks at where we're going."
The supersegment has grown at the expense of large cars, like the Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala, sales of which have continually declined.
Tom Libby, lead analyst of North American forecasting at R.L. Polk & Co., wrote in a blog post this week that the market share of large mainstream cars was 3.5 percent in 2012, down from 5.8 percent in 2008.
Large mainstream cars now make up a smaller slice of the U.S. market share than the woeful minivan segment, which Libby deemed "an endangered species."