Small-car sales will slowly increase to 2,424,500 units by the end of the year, 2,487,300 units in 2009, according to data from AutoPacifc. Overall annual growth is expected to average 2.3% through 2009, helped by new subcompacts entering the market next year.

Ford will unveil its 2010 Ford Fiesta next year, while Chrysler will begin selling its 2011 Dodge Hornet the following year. Rising gas prices and a depressed economy have pushed consumers into smaller vehicles. Sales increased 11.4% during the first six months of 2008 compared to previous-year sales, as shown in the table below.

Popular in the sport-compact segment, the Honda Civic has been a canvas for personalization for the last two decades. Although the look of the car has changed dramatically over the years, consumers’ desire to buy and customize this car continues, revealing that the Civic is a staple to the specialty-equipment industry. Nearly one in 10 (9%) enthusiasts that responded to SEMA's Automotive Lifestyles Survey said that they drove a small car. The table below outlines the top 20 specialty-equipment purchases made by this group.

Performance tires, air intakes, exhausts and suspension components—modifications that help boost performance, fuel economy and handling—are popular among small-car owners. Nearly nine in 10 (88%) small-car owners surveyed noted that the primary reason they personalize their cars is to increase performance, spending about $3,000 last year to do so. The most popular small cars owned by the enthusiasts surveyed were the Honda Civic, Acura Integra, Subaru Impreza, Nissan 240SX and Volkswagen GTI.

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