By on August 11, 2011

With signs of change appearing in the midsized segment, I thought we would look at our archived sales results for the “Big Six” sedan nameplates in hopes of some historic context. And here it is: competitive convergence is turning what used to be Toyota and Honda’s wading pool into a bloody knife fight.

Sonata has relentless momentum on its side, and Altima has enjoyed remarkably consistent, if less dramatic, growth. Fusion looks like it’s taking off like a rocket ship, but I purposefully left out sales results for its predecessor, the Taurus, which actually overlapped Fusion by several years (sorry Ford fans, but I wanted to keep this to a single nameplate per manufacturer). Malibu’s been up-and-down since the late 90s (I also did not include fleet-special “Malibu Classic” sales), and with a facelift coming, 2011 will be key to determining the most recent model’s ultimate success. And while Camry peaked in 2007, Accord’s peak was much earlier, in 2001… and both are currently on an unmistakeable slide. With the two kings tumbling, and everyone else gunning for them in a tight cluster, it’s clear that we’re in the midst of a possible long-term shift in the US car market.

 

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69 Comments on “Midsized Wars: The “Big Six” Sedans, 1995-2010...”


  • avatar
    Strippo

    First to get to 250K wins. Or loses. #everythingisrelative

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    It’s a shame Ford screwed up the success it had with the Taurus. Incredible to think what might have happened if that 1996 restyle had been better and Ford had put effort into a 4-cylinder Taurus instead of the Contour.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Great graph. I hope this data stops people using the tsunami as the sole reason for the continued slide of Accord and Camry. It is clear that from 2008 onwards sales fell with year on year declines. This is contrasted by their competitors (especially Fusion) which either stayed about level or increased year upon year. 2011 is just a continuation of that trend and the tsunami (which thankfully has been quicker to recover from than predicted) has at most merely accelerated it a little.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It is clear that from 2008 onwards sales fell with year on year declines.

    Companies with a heavier retail sales mix are bound to have their volumes more greatly affected by economic downturns that those that sell into fleet, especially when the fleet sellers use higher incentives as a matter of course.

    Honda avoids the fleet market almost entirely, while Toyota has used it far less than the domestics or the Koreans. Meanwhile, both have increased their incentives, but have still kept them below the market averages.

    Ford is still a pretty heavy user of incentives, and Hyundai still competes on price (although its growing reputation is improving its transaction prices and lower its fleet percentages.)

    The bottom line is that Toyota and Honda want to maintain their price points as well as they can. They would rather than lose sales than to engage in much more discounting. Both have long competed on a quality-at-a-price strategy, but this may be harder to maintain if others such as Ford and Hyundai are perceived as having equal product quality. So no, it isn’t just the tsunami, but it isn’t what you think it is (and as a domestic booster, what you want it to be.)

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’ve been seeing lots of advertising of heavy discounts on the Camry from both Toyota and some local dealers for the past year. It has been continuous, there was no pause caused or in response to the tsunami. The most recent I’ve seen from Toyota is 0 for 60 plus $1K cash, and military and gran bonuses of $1K are also available. I’m pretty sure that GM and Ford have higher profit margins on their fleet queens than Toyota is getting at retail.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Incentives aren’t evenly spread across all models. While Ford and GM have higher incentives overall than Toyota or Honda, the incentives on midsize and compact cars have lately been pretty even compared to the imports. Though they are the best selling vehicle line for each of the Detroit manufacturers, the fullsize trucks need to carry larger incentives (one of the big reasons is to allow room for upfit options but still allow attractive LTV ratios for banks) and those truck incentives tend to sway the domestic incentive numbers higher than many of the imports when viewed as company totals.

      Honda and Hyundai are also fond of offering incentives through subsidized lease residuals. Hondas have generally high resale values, and Hyundai’s numbers are improving, but both regularly offer leases with residual values that are far higher than what the actual predicted value of the vehicle will be when the lease comes to term. For all practical purposes this practice is really no different than offering a rebate – the company just ends up paying when the lease comes due instead of at point of sale.

      • 0 avatar
        Secret Hi5

        Good post Nullo, especially re: lease residuals. It’s always nice to read your “insider” perspective.

      • 0 avatar
        Motorhead10

        taking all the different versions (low-rate financing, cash, lease deals (not sure if these capture the gap between the book residual (from ALG?) and what Honda and Hyundai write…) of incentives into account – here are the July incentive estimates for each of those models
        Camry $3693
        Accord $2330
        Altima $2313
        Fusion $2112
        Malibu $4341
        Sonata $793

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Camry fleet sales has pushed up to 18% – I’ve been asked to prove this point, I’ve linked to the TTAC article multiple times when challenged. Do a search yourelf. Been to a Hertz or Avis lot lately? Plenty of Camrys, no waiting.

      If your argument was true, then the Altima, selling into fleets at about 20% would have the same woes – it doesn’t. Hyundai fleet sales for the Sonata were about on parity with the Camry in 2008 which pokes further holes in your argument.

      Camry and Accord sales started to decline at the same time a revamped Fusion and Malibu came out in 2007/08 — both were declared legit competitors in the class – the data plays the scenario out.

      The argument that fleet sales has handed the D segment to the American comers is beyond weak.

      The Fusion is a competent car. The ‘bu was a competent car at release of the new Epsilon platform based model (it has not aged well from a design stand point and desperately needs the new model out). The Sonata only limiting factor is production numbers. The 2008 Camry was rated below average in Consumer Reports, lost its automatic recommended rating – the Accord has become quite bloated.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I agree with Nullo and Scoutdude. I would also add that fleet sales also dropped greatly during the economic issues and yet most makes (other than Toyota and Honda) managed to stay flat or increase sales. It is therefore pretty obvious that the major driving force is that the other makes now make mid-sized sedans that are as or more competitive than the Accord and Camry. This is a multi-year pattern so single events like tsunamis, bankruptcies etc are washed out.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      PCH, I agree. Toyota and Honda have a much higher retail sales component than Detroit, and the retail sales component has been hit hard in the recession.

      Fleet sales have held up much better. Governments have been big buyers of Detroit fleets, and corporate balance sheets are in better shape than household balance sheets.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        To bad the fleet sale data doesn’t support Pch101 position:

        The chart above shows data from 1995 to 2010. In 2009 fleet sales plunged to just 1.1 million units. In 2010 it improved slightly to 1.4 million units.

        We also know that during this time Toyota in particular ramped up fleet sales, with the Camry going from about 8% to 18% fleet sales by the end of 2010. We also know that Hyundai fleet sales were about consistent, along with Honda.

        So the point is fleet sales are driving these sedans and the resurgence of Ford, GM and Hyundai?

        http://www.autorentalnews.com/Article/Print/Story/2011/02/From-Recession-to-Recovery.aspx

        You wrote…

        and corporate balance sheets are in better shape than household balance sheets

        Last I checked, the rental agencies are the largest corporate fleet buyers of automobiles in the United States. Your claiming their balance sheets are just fine – yet they pushed off purchases for almost two years. Anyone who does frequent business travel can tell you of suddenly getting 2 year old cars with 40K miles on them, when prior to 2008 this was unheard of from agencies like Avis or Hertz.

        So rental fleet sales plummetted according to the link I provied, Nissan and Toyota in particular got super aggressive with fleet sales during the EXACT same time. The total pie got smaller, the Japanese guys increased their piece of the pie, leaving less for Detroit – yet somehow all those Fusion’s and ‘bus got bought by QE I and QE II and the rental agencies??? Isn’t the GM sedan of choice for the government at a federal, state, county, and local level the Impala? Isn’t the Impala not on the chart at all? And during 2008 and 2009, also not on the chart, wasn’t the Pontiac Grand Prix the rental whore of choice for the Avis and Hertz of the world??? The GM W-Bodies don’t even make this chart – your claim is pretty baseless.

        And who was the biggest single benefactor of Cash for Clunkers during QE I, with the Camry being one of the top selling models during this exact same period??? Or do we want to ignore the Cash for Clunkers effect also and how that would have goosed numbers.

        It is extremely hard to argue with a 15 year old chart – and the decline of the Accord/Camry occured not after the economic meltdown, not after the pump and dump to fleets, but before – when the revamped Fusion and a new Malibu hit dealer lots, and the Sonata got a bit more interesting at the exact same time – and Nissan was really nailing it with the Altima. GM was dumping Pontiacs and Saturns (not on this chart) while still growing ‘bu sales at the same time and maintaining the fleet queen Impala sales (and lets not forget lost in this chart sales of the Chevy Classic – fleet exclusive piece of crap). While all of this happened from 2005ish to 2007 the whole segment peaked. It’s new competition – the excuses are getting very worn out – and the data doesn’t support it.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        jj99 Fleet sales were down just as much or more than retail sales. I know my state when the realized that they were going to have a big budget problem suspended purchasing new vehicles as one of their first cost cutting moves. Essentially they added at least another year to the planned replacement dates across the board. You’ll also find much higher miles on average on rental cars today than in the past. Many business also decided to increase the length of time they kept their vehicles. So fleet sales are not the magic bullet that is causing the sales increase of the domestics.

      • 0 avatar
        jj99

        I respect your views on fleet sales vs. retail sales, but your comments conflict with statements regarding retail sales share vs. fleet sales share reported by Detroit firms several times. Once in a while, Detroit reports improving retail vs. fleet, but much more frequently, it is the other way.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        To bad the fleet sale data doesn’t support Pch101 position

        You really ought to try to understand that stuff that you link.

        “In 2009 fleet sales plunged to just 1.1 million units. In 2010 it improved slightly to 1.4 million units.” That’s about a 27% increase. Since when did a 27% gain in volume become “slightly”?

        Ford’s fleet sales for Q1 2011 were 36%. If you review their own investor reports, you’ll see that their share of the fleet market exceeds their market share of total sales, which tells you that Ford has an above-average presence in the fleet market.

        GM’s fleet sales for January-July 2011 were at 27%. I didn’t look up Chrysler, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and presume that they continued to lead the industry in fleet sales.

        Honda typically avoids fleet sales, regardless. Toyota stopped taking fleet orders after the tsunami for a few months, so those numbers were bound to fall, and they were never anything close to the high 20′s-mid 30′s of GM, Ford or Chrysler.

        I have no idea why the domestic boosters try to deny the fleet numbers or to pretend that fleet sales are common to every automaker. The reality is that the difference in fleet sales is quite wide, ranging from imports that hardly touch them to domestics that dominate them.

        Meanwhile, domestic incentives lead the industry. The real gainer is here is Hyundai, which has been cutting incentives. Their strategy of converting excess production from fleet to retail is working nicely for them.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      “Companies with a heavier retail sales mix are bound to have their volumes more greatly affected by economic downturns that those that sell into fleet … ”

      I don’t think so. Rental fleets cut their new vehicle purchases in half for recent years compared to past trends. The rental/fleet market has contracted percentage wise even more so than has the retail buyer market.

      The other fleet buyers are government and industry users, and those users have been in big time cut back mode these last few years as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Rental fleets cut their new vehicle purchases in half for recent years compared to past trends.

        Fleet sales were fast road to sales gains for automakers in 2010

        When is a 17 percent increase a 1 percent decline? When you’re an automaker pushing sales through fleet customers and not individuals walking into showrooms.

        The U.S. auto industry reported 11.5 million cars and trucks were sold last year, a rebound from a rough 2009. But roughly one in five of those vehicles sold were to rental car companies, businesses and government agencies that buy their cars and trucks in bulk.

        The 9.5 million vehicles sold at retail represented a 9 percent improvement over 2009, but fleet sales jumped 18 percent, according to trade publication Automotive News. Both are equal in the sales column, but the total doesn’t necessarily indicate the average buyer returned to some brands.

        http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/print-edition/2011/01/14/fleet-was-fast-road-to-2010-auto-sales.html

        The fleet SAAR is generally more stable than is the retail SAAR. The fleet SAAR largely stabilized by summer of 2009. Those companies that are more dependent upon retail have to expect more volatility as a matter of course, as retail auto sales are inherently cyclical. One reasonable use of fleet sales is to smooth out that volatility.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    “And while Camry peaked in 2007, Accord’s peak was much earlier, in 2001… and both are currently on an unmistakeable slide.”

    So when did the March 2011 tsunami hit Japan?

    Nice graph. Can we get a projection?

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      2008 was when the US economy imploded, many manufacturers slid downwards. Hyundai and Chevy were selling for cheaper (and Hyundai had that absolutely brilliant “if you lose your job we’ll take back your car, even if your loan is upside down” marketing thing going on). Looks like Toyota isn’t recovering from it, though.

      2001 was when Honda’s leadership stopped following the late Soichiro’s legacy and started making their own decisions, usually the wrong ones. The Civic and Accord were the first models to take a dive in quality, they certainly weren’t the last. Shame, really, Honda was a neat company once.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    The (somewhat bloated) ’03 Accord was the start of that nameplate’s big slide. The 1998-2002 model was the last of the “true” Honda Accords, which were roomy, not bulky, reliable (well except for the V6 automatic tranny) and reasonably fun to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Agreed, roughly the same time the Camry started its decline, with ’96 or ’97 being the best of the best.

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        Meh. My buddies ’02 Accord has the dreaded head liner failure and some other assorted trim / fit / finish issues. Granted all the important systems (powertrain, safety, emissions) are still going strong. but I do remember the ‘old’ Accords (89-93, 93-97) not having any issues at the 9 year mark. I would argue that decontenting had just started on the ‘unimportant’ stuff with the ’98 – ’02, and accelrated badly into the 2000′s.

        Also, ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      I owned an 02 and an 03, both V6s with AT. The 03 was definitely hotter, and its handling was more locked in. But, it was uglier, a bad Bangle Bimmer imitation, the controls were poorly arranged, the visibility out of the cabin was poor.

      When I needed to sell one of them, I sold the 03 and kept the 02. I feel good about it. I have had no problems at all with the car, but I don’t do a lot of driving, and it is garaged.

      If I had to replace it, I do not know what I would do. I really despise all current sedans which I regard as fat, ugly, and dark.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Could we get a version that combines Taurus and Fusion sales, or shows the Taurus separately?

    Or some sort of line indicating the total number of sales in the class? That would capture the effect of other models not shown.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The Taurus needs to be in there – the original one, not the one named as such later, which wasn’t/isn’t a Taurus at all. That one should be the Galaxie 500, which would not be in this chart.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Looks like real market disconnect for Toyota and Honda in this segment. Each model listed has had redesigns, but Toyota’s and Honda’s redesigns are not helping. The marketing people at Hyundai and Ford seem to know the pulse of the customer better.

    • 0 avatar

      I have been testing driving several vehicles from the mfgs listed in this graph lately. Something that i never would have done if gasoline prices had not gotten out of control. The Honda may have a nice ride but it seems Honda is sitting on its rear haunches making huge profits on designs that have stalled compared to its newer rivals like Chevy, Hyundai, and to some extent, Nissan. I love the Honda reliability but I was really disappointed in the interior and its lack of many of the features offered by its up and coming rivals. I would say the graph accurately represents these trends of decontenting and lack of improvements as of late by Honda and Toyota.

  • avatar
    alluster83

    The gap between the Camry and Fusion has shrunk from 327,000 in 2007 to around 100,000 in 2010. However, I feel for the Malibu which IMO is a real handsome car and deserves to be among the top three. It will eventually get there if GM keeps it fresh and competitive. The trend is def. looking positive. Also, The next gen Malibu is a real looker. I hope the success of the Cruze carries over to the new Malibu.

    I am curious how the strong yen will play things out in the next few years. Toyota and Honda can no longer raise prices like in the past. The strong yen (at 77 now) will further cripple their ability to compete. They would have to cut incentives, marketing, content or raise prices to break even, any of which is going to further kill sales.

    One study i would like to see is how much inroads the Det 3 are making into import strong holds. There was one done earlier this year that showed how the Cruze has tremendous growth in California and New York and how the Fiesta’s number one market was LA. I personally am seeing a lot of new domestics rolling around in Stamford CT, another import stronghold.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Just had a 2011 ‘bu as a rental for a week, banged in about 2.5K miles into it (yes you read that right). It was – in a word – awful. It has not aged well. I had one back in ’08, a 4-banger LTZ and I loved it. This LT trim model was adequately equipped but suffered from a number of deficiencies that make it basically uncompetitive. The 2013 refresh can’t come fast enough.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      I drove a rental Malibu for two days earlier this year and absolutely hated it. It didn’t have a lot of miles on it and didn’t seem to be abused.

      I would pick a Fusion over the current Malibu any time on driving dynamics and interior look and feel alone.

  • avatar
    Speed_3

    It will be interesting to see this graph in a year or year and a half when the new 2013 Chevy Malibu and Ford Fusion are on sale. I think they could be surprisingly successful.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Lets look at 2013 (calendar year) data as that will have had many new models out for over a year (Malibu, Fusion and Camry all redesigned within the next year) and it is important to have them out for over a year to allow production and inventory to stabilise. It will also allow any after effects of the tsunami to have disappeared (new power stations built etc). Then we can get a set of data which no-one should be able to poke too many holes in.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    This graph is the very essence of the thermodynamic heat death of a market… slow growth, increasing competition, decreasing differentiation.

    If you add up the total number of cars in 2000 compared to now, the overall market size is only slightly bigger, maybe the difference between 1.3ish million units and 1.2 million.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    The 1996 Camry was the shit! Our family has an old ’96 V6 LE with 240k miles and there have been offers to buy it for 6k. 6000. New one is garbage. Little bits and pieces falling off from the handles, the inside doors, and it’s barely 3 years old. I don’t see this trend changing as they’ve BARELY changed the 2012. It looks like a mild refresh than a redesign, and the 2007 was on the same platform/chassis and used the same I4 engine and whatnot. Anyways…

    It’s good to see competitors finally getting a piece of the pie, and GM and Ford is finally investing in the design and quality of their bread and butter vehicles that would bring in the most volume and profits.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    That Malibu number is really interesting:

    - 1997-2003: The Cutlibu; the dog; the POS: above 200,000 for three years
    - 2004-2007: The Invisible Car; 180, 200+, 170 (they transitioned the 2008 model year, although they didn’t get cars out until late, so there was a shortage and also they were only making the “Classic” in LT trim for a while there)
    - 2009+: The Salvation; Lutz Finally Gets It Right; The Super Accord: 180, 170, 200+

    So:
    - Have Fusions and Sonatas really stolen more sales from Malibu than from Camry/Accord?
    - Why, on the numbers, does the dog look better than the inivisible, which looks on par with the super Accord?

    Is our concept of a better car totally wrong-headed for the buyer of the Malibu? Do people want basic transportation and not an iPod jack and a leather-lined sport wheel?

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      You need to look at the slope for each one.
      1997-2003: initial high expectations, “this must be better than the pathetic Lumina!”, good sales, quickly plummeting as buyers realize they’ve been had
      2004-2007: hesitancy, sales slowly pick up as buyers realize that they actually improved it this time, then drop again as they realize it wasn’t really very much and the thing is still basically a purpose-built rental car (anyone arguing with that last point needs to explain the existence of the “Chevy Classic”).
      2008-on: small downward bump as the economy hits the concrete abutment at full speed, but then steadily up since. When they give the upcoming visual refresh (and the high feature V6, maybe?) it’ll probably continue upwards further, assuming they don’t screw the whole thing up.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        Here’s hoping that’s the case — you are right that there isn’t the downward-opening parabola shape for the latest model, but we can’t see the future pattern.

        It would be great if they got it right this time, if our idea of right agrees with the consumer…

  • avatar
    slance66

    Can people just be objective? In the 80′s and early 90′s the Accord and Camry were just significantly superior vehicles to their domestic counterparts. The Altima was ok, but smaller. Hyundai was lousy. Now the Accord and Camry, which are stil good cars, are not as good as they once were. The Malibu and especially the Fusion, are much better than what the American brands offered in 1995. The Altima has been upsized an dupdated to be more competitive (the Maxima was the original Accord, Camry competitor). The new Sonata is a huge leap, but not a leap ahead, a leap into the party.

    Honestly, the convergence reflects the reality that these cars are all pretty close in overall size, quality, reliability, driveability and features. If I needed a midsize in this class, I would probably shop every single one of them (ok, not the current Malibu), plus the Kia Optima. The public is doing the same.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1 – some on here complain about domestic fanboys, of which there are some. But if they do not accept this data and continue to laud Toyota and Honda then they are just fanboys themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      The market has spoken. Camry and Accord are better than the rest. The majority of the people have this right.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        The market has spoken, both nameplates are on thier death curve living of past history (and I mean cars of the 90′s), unless the japanese deal with thier cost structure, they will just continue to produce crap as the americans and south koreans eat thier lunch, what will the excuses be? Probably break out the detroit slide shows of the 80′s and replace japanese with american.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Majority? The majority of mid-size buyers buy something other than Accord/Camry

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      +1 to slance66

      The category is overall very competitive, there isn’t a huge gap from the top to the bottom anymore; certainly nothing that existing in the 80′s and 90′s.

      Agree that the current Malibu (and I would add the Camry) are at the bottom of the class and need their refreshes to come badly.

  • avatar
    obbop

    “…the Galaxie 500″

    In a depression shouldn’t it be the Galaxie 250 or perhaps a Galaxie 125?

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    The long term decrease in market dominance for the Camcord is natural and normal for any brand. Many Camcord drivers are seniors and have been driving these brands for a generation. Younger buyers of Camcords are doing so for the brands perceived quality and tradition. Times change, and so do people.

    Camcords are old hat. When considering any vehicle within this market, they are the easy choice. They are the boring choice. They are the benchmarks. Many buyers don’t want to drive what their parents, grandparents and neighbors drive. Camcords are the status quo. They are seen as the choice of lemmings.

    This doesn’t mean that Camcords are bad cars. It means that having one is about as exciting as having brown shoes. Only your grandpa is impressed with them.

    Other status quo cars eventually lose their dominance within a market. People like to try different things. Camcords used to be the different choice in the years when the status quo cars were the Impala, the Galaxie and the Fury.

    Today, the Camcord is the status quo car to be shunned by drivers disinterested in driving the status quo generic Big Six sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      Except, studies show that old folks drive Detroit. Young folks go foreign.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster83

      Well said Vanilla dude,

      I wonder myself why no manufacturer can sell an exciting RWD midsize sedan in the 25k price range as an alternative to the boring sedans above . Heck GM can just stretch out the Camaro, make it 4 door, throw a V6, name it something new and call it day. If they had any brains they would bring the following beasts from aussie as is except change the badge to Chevy or something.

      http://www.carshowp.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/2010-Holden-HSV-GTS-E2-Front-Angle-View.jpg

      http://www.carshowp.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/2010-Holden-HSV-GTS-E2-Wheel-View.jpg

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RKOYtKa39i8/TaUhhLq3RyI/AAAAAAAASis/dPOWMw70Ln8/s1600/Vauxhall-VXR8_2011_800x600_wallpaper_03.jpg

      or this

      http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/614/maliburenderingsmallyel.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        > why no manufacturer can sell an exciting RWD midsize sedan in the 25k price range

        Two reasons, CAFE and interior space…. both highly market sensitive. Because these are volume cars, any drop in fuel efficiency has an effect on the average.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Heck GM can just stretch out the Camaro, make it 4 door, throw a V6, name it something new and call it day.

        Oh, you mean a Zeta Platform Holden Commodore aka G8?

        –sigh–

        Dear General Motors, please bring back a four door Zeta for the masses!

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        And what is the Dodge Charger? Oh that’s right, it’s a size bigger than the cars above. But it is RWD and roughly $25,000.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      What am I supposed to do? Get rid of my brown shoes, now? Can’t wear black every day!

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      There is no such car as a Camcord. The Camry and Accord are at least as well differentiated from one another as are any other two vehicles in this category.

  • avatar
    jj99

    Looking forward to TTAC posting pictures of the 2012 Camry. From the few pictures I have seen, a stunning vehicle. Toyota’s drivetrain, which is typically best in the industry, should make this the must have vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster83

      I am going to reserve judgement until i see it in person or until official pics are out. But from what i have seen so far, it looks like they were trying to outbland the Corolla and succeeded at it.
      If a stretched out corolla moves you, then I am pretty sure, you are part of the shrinking target audience Toyota still caters to.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I’m very seriously beginning to wonder if jj99 is DrFill/BlackDynamite over at LLN.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        “I’m very seriously beginning to wonder if jj99 is DrFill/BlackDynamite over at LLN.”

        - LOL!

        Pretty much the same deluded spiel about Toyota products.

        Final judgment is reserved until seeing the new Camry in the flesh, but the new Camry hasn’t exactly been getting praise for its design (“stunning” is about the last word that the vast majority have used for the new Camry).

        The new dash is nice, tho.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      That wonderful drivetrain just saw me replace two coils in the span of two weeks on my wife’s RX350 @ 58k miles. It was a selling point when we bought the car, but given that my Volvo S60 went 108k (and is still going in new hands) without needing a coil, I’m a bit put off at the moment.

  • avatar
    wsn

    People need to realize that car buyers didn’t flee from Toyonda (they are fleeing from GM/Chrysler, when you look at a 5 or 10 or 20 year trend). Toyonda’s market shares are quite stable. That’s means, car buyers simply bought other models in their line-up.

    Camry’s decline, IMO, is mostly due to the rise of Prius and Venza.

    Accord’s due to the fact that it has the least discount, plus a very strong Civic/CRV. In a cooling market, it means fewer sales, but the margin is held.

    The other players aren’t as good as they seem:
    Altima’s number go up, at the expense of the Sentra and Maxima.
    Malibu’s due to the decline of Cobalt/Impala, and to a lesser degree that of Buick.
    Fusion’s number is actually down from the Taurus (it’s the last American model to beat Camry).

    Only Sonata is the big winner. The number goes up, at the same time the number for Elentra also goes up.

    • 0 avatar
      marc

      That’s a great point. The only real lost market share has been in the last few months due to the Tsunami. Since the chart conveniently leaves out the Taurus, Maxima and Impala, it looks like the Camcord had this amazing dominance. Just not true. Ford, GM, and to a lesser extent, Nissan were selling plenty of mid sizers back then, just not only the nameplates on this chart. Look a the numbers just for Camry. The ’95 numbers are quite similar to the 2010 numbers. The few years of 2005-2008 are the real anomalies.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Sorry wsn, but if you look at Prius sales they peaked in 2007, and then went into decline every since – outside of being goosed by Cash for Clunkers. Venza sales are a joke, in the toilet, answering a question no one asked.

      You say Altima sales go up at the expense of Maxima and Sentra sales. What about the Versa, which is the leader in its segment by a landslide – b-segment size and price, c-segment size interior. Isn’t that where Sentra sales are going??? In 2007 Nissan gave Maxima buyers a single choice for a transmission – a CVT unit no less. Last I heard, enthuisast sedan buyers sure aren’t interested in CVT slush boxes in the center console. Wouldn’t THAT bad decision have more to do with the decline of Maxima sales than cannibalization? Or how about that the Maxima has bloated out to be a fullsize car as of calendar 2008, and the 2009 model year? For the Sentra, hasn’t Nissan basically ignored the Sentra from an engineering and marketing stand point as it is???

      This isn’t segment cannibalization.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Fusion’s number is actually down from the Taurus

      Which would be relevant IF the Fusion actually replaced the Taurus. The Fusion replaced the Contour which replaced the Tempo which replaced the Fairmont.

      But since you brought it up:

      Ford Contour 1999: 134,487 (earliest year I could find data)
      Ford Contour 2000: 45,109 (last year of sales – Ford abandons the segment)

      Ford Taurus 1999: 368,327
      Ford Taurus 2000: 382,035 Introduction of Generation IV, horrific decontenting however the “all oval” look of the Gen III model is gone
      Ford Taurus 2001: 353,560
      Ford Taurus 2002: 332,690
      Ford Taurus 2003: 300,496
      Ford Taurus 2004: 248,148
      Ford Taurus 2005: 196,919 Most sales are fleet related in the 2005 and 2006 model year, very few retail sales
      Ford Taurus 2006: 174,803

      Taurus sales were headed off a cliff by 2000 – 2001, ten years ago, the chart plays it out. You have the Fusion sales data, and again, compared to the Contour it replaced, the Fusion is a big sales success (and a vastly better car). Given the Taurus stopped competiting in the C-segment as of 2006 its presence on this chart would be irrelevant.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Technically the Fusion did not replace the Contour, the Focus did. My brother worked at a Ford dealership back then and that is what Ford told the dealers. The Focus had the interior room of the Contour and exterior size about the same as the Escort so it took the place of both in the US. The Fusion didn’t come along until 5 model years after the Contour left.

        For all intents and purposes though the Fusion did eventually take the place of the Taurus in the line up. The old Taurus was soldiered on mainly for fleets who were balking at the price increase of the new car, the same as they did with the Tempo when the Contour was introduced.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Toyota LOST marketshare for 2010.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Maybe this misses the point, but are sales any sister cars that these vehicles have included? Fusion, Milan, MKZ (Zephyr) or is this strictly the name-plate exercise? I’m not sure if the overall point of the data would change at all, but people had a choice between the Fusion and Milan and some chose the Milan.

    • 0 avatar
      1st_one

      That brings up a good point. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, a single nameplate was able to sell more vehicles because the sales floor was not shared with crossovers and other in-house vehicles competing for the same buyers. For example, the Fusion which is in theory considered the Taurus replacement now offer the Fusion as the sedan, Edge as the “wagon” (Crossover) and the MKZ as the luxury version therefore, sales appears much lower as oppose to combining all vehicles under the same nameplate. Just a thought.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        Manufacturers will combine sales data when they want you to think of the models as “the same brand” and split data when they want you to think of them as two different things. For example, Toyota always includes Matrix sales in with the Corolla sales.

        Ford desperately wants everyone to believe that the Lincoln MKZ is not just a tarted up Ford Fusion, so they keep the data separate.

        This can be aggravating in the other direction, too: Hyundai lumps together the sales of the Genesis and the Genesis Coupe, when the only thing the two have in common is the name and, on some trim levels, the V6 engine.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    One could argue that Accord sales are slipping because my ’99 is so damn good there is no reason to replace it with a new one. Then again most people aren’t like me and drive things forever. IMO my old Accord is better than every modern car in this segment, but I don’t value things on bells and whistles.

    Of all the cars on that list the only one I haven’t driven at a rental lot is the new Accord. If I were to pick a best it would probably go to the Fusion. Second would be a toss up between the Sonata and Altima. The ‘bu is pretty damn terrible, right with the Camry. All of those (excluding Accord) are fleet queens. Remember the days when rental lots were 100% domestic brands and nothing else?


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