Retail sales for the Compact Performance niche reached new heights during 2007, peaking at $6.688 billion for the year. This accounted for a 12.21% increase over 2006: the 10th consecutive year since SEMA began documenting the segment separately. Product segment changes continue to support the notion that these enthusiasts are seeking better handling, higher performing vehicles and related modifications as the market matures.
The Compact Performance market seems to be evolving at breakneck speeds. We have cataloged its progression over the past few years, but wanted to take a slightly new approach to presenting information this time around. This report covers the standard breakdown of the segment but adds a supplemental introduction to a side of Japanese tuning most people have barely, if never, been exposed to. Some of these concepts may or may not materialize outside of Japan, but they have begun to surface in magazines, forums and at events with potential to influence the market. Since 1998 the Compact Performance market has continued to expand. In 2006, the niche reached $5.96 Billion at the retail level, increasing 18.18% over the previous year.
The significance of the Compact Performance Market is now incontestable. Unlike many novelties in the automotive world, the popularity of compact cars has not receded like many critics once thought. Currently the phenomenon is still growing—retail sales grew from $4.11 billion in 2004 to $5.04 billion n 2005. Instead of an industry dominated by cheap aesthetics and fake performance, compact car tuning has evolved into a verifiable market. Once laughable, the industry supporting “ecoboxes” and “rice rockets” has covered more ground than many competing genres.