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.