There’s a deathwatch in effect for midsize sedans in America. While no one expects sedans to go extinct anytime soon, there are disturbing trends that point to a major contraction in the market for them.
This is bad news for automakers that have staked their claim in creating the best midsize sedans money can buy.
The Truth About Cars lays down these facts:
There’s no denying that cars, in the sector-wide sense, are truly struggling. Not only did America’s best-selling car, the Toyota Camry, report declining year-over-year volume in April 2017, so too did its top-selling small car alternatives, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
Moreover, through the first one-third of 2017, outside of the midsize sedan segment, U.S. sales of passenger cars are down by more than 133,000 units this year, an 8-percent drop compared with the same period in 2016.
Lexus and Acura built their businesses on sedans. While Lexus has done a better job expanding into the SUV and crossover markets, both automakers know they need to step up their sedan offerings or risk hemorrhaging cash.
Toyota global branding boss, Tokuo Fukuichi, said to AutoNews,
Unless we can really offer a sedan experience you cannot have with an SUV or crossover, I think the sedan may not be able to survive if it does not evolve. At a certain point of time, the traditional, square, three-box sedan will go away.
Expect Lexus to build more performance-oriented sedans rather than the luxurious and comfortable cocoons that made the brand famous.
Acura, Honda’s luxury brand, has had a blurry identity in the U.S. since it debuted here. Its sedans are neither known for their styling, their luxury, nor their high-end performance. The consequence of not having a strong brand association has caused Acura to fall off the list of many potential buyers.
Honda hopes to remedy that with the new TLX, which will get a complete redesign for 2018. The same 4-and 6-cylinder non-turbo engine choices will carry over, though. We’ll see if that’ll be enough to bring back the buyers, but considering the state of sedans, it might be too little, too late.
Would you rather buy a sedan or a crossover?