Tag: deathwatch

By on July 5, 2017

2017 Honda Accord Sedan Touring - Image: HondaMidsize car sales volume decreased by nearly 200,000 units in the United States during the first-half of 2017.

Year-over-year, that 18-percent decline was caused by virtually every member of America’s midsize sedan fleet. Escaping unscathed, on its own, was the Volkswagen Passat, though Passat sales are significantly lower than they were in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Aside from the Passat, midsize cars are selling much less often this year than last at every competing automaker; from the top-selling Toyota Camry to the slow-selling Mazda 6, from the all-wheel-drive-optional Ford Fusion to the all-wheel-drive-standard Subaru Legacy; from the new-last-year Chevrolet Malibu to the never-again-new Chrysler 200.

Most automakers, however, are blessed to possess similarly priced compact crossovers that are making up all, much, or some of the slack. (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Passat, Image: Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Passat has a roomie.

Production of the Volkswagen Atlas, Volkswagen of America’s first three-row SUV and the automaker’s first three-row vehicle since the Dodge Grand Caravan-derived Volkswagen Routan fled the scene in 2014, began earlier this year in Chattanooga, Tennessee, previously known as the Passat’s factory.

The first 1,610 copies of the Atlas were sold in May 2017.

Volkswagen, which built the Tennessee assembly plant as part of a goal that would see the brand selling 800,000 vehicles in America per year by 2018, originally intended to build 150,000 vehicles annually in Chattanooga. Only half that capacity was used last year.

If the Volkswagen Atlas becomes the hit the Volkswagen Passat never was, what might that say about the North Americanized Volkswagen Passat’s future?  (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2017

2017 Volkswagen PAssat R-Line – Image: VWWhy did America’s passenger car market tumble 11 percent in April 2017?

Midsize cars deserve much of the blame.

Why is America’s passenger car market down 12 percent through the first four months of 2017?

Midsize cars deserve most of the blame. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2017

2017 Toyota Camry - Image: Toyota

Reaching the end of the line before an all-new 2018 model launches, the outgoing Toyota Camry is — quite predictably — losing sales. After all, the auto industry’s total sales volume is shrinking. Passenger cars, in particular, are paying a price. And the midsize segment is stumbling all the more so. With all these factors contributing, of course the Camry is shedding volume.

Aged, outdated, and antiquated, the Toyota Camry seemingly has the most to lose. Yet despite a 4-percent year-over-year U.S. sales loss in March 2017 and a 13-percent decline through the first-quarter of 2017, the Toyota Camry is gaining heaps of market share in America’s midsize sedan segment, not losing it.

That’s because the cars that are most to blame for the midsize sedan segment’s rapid decline don’t sit at the top of the leaderboard, but rather hail from the JV squad.  (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid – Image: ChevrloletAside from the Volkswagen Passat’s 40-percent year-over-year uptick, every automaker competing in America’s midsize sedan segment suffered from declining volume in February 2017.

The midsize car category tumbled 19 percent, a loss of more than 34,000 sales.

February 2017 marked the twelfth consecutive month of year-over-year declines for midsize car sales in America.


This is the ninth edition of TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. The midsize sedan as we know it — “midsizedus sedanicus” in the original latin — isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the ongoing sales contraction will result in a reduction of mainstream intermediate sedans in the U.S. market. 

How do we know? It already has.


The Passat’s exceptional year-over-year uptick by no means represents healthy volume for the big Volkswagen. But the bigger story from February’s results was the horrific nosedive performed by Detroit nameplates: one discontinued nameplate, one of the older members of the midsize fleet, the newest member of the midsize fleet, and one semi-premium niche player. (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2017

2017 Chrysler 200S AWD - Image: Chrysler

The Suzuki Kizashi‘s brief tenure came to an end in 2013. 2014 was the last year Mitsubishi produced Galant sales in the United States. 2015 marked the Dodge Avenger’s terminus. The Chrysler 200’s death was announced in 2016.

Will 2017 be a period of further contraction in America’s midsize sedan market?


This is the eighth edition of TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. The midsize sedan as we know it — “midsizedus sedanicus” in the original latin — isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the ongoing sales contraction will result in a reduction of mainstream intermediate sedans in the U.S. market. 

How do we know? It already has.


If January 2017’s results are anything to go by, it’s going to be a very ugly year for midsize cars in the United States; sales tumbled by more than a fifth in January 2017, a year-over-year decline worth 30,000 lost sales. (Read More…)

By on January 10, 2017

2017 Chrysler 200S AWD - Image: FCAAs recently as 2014, U.S. sales of midsize cars were on the rise, albeit marginally. As recently as 2015, U.S. sales of midsize cars were shrinking only modestly, falling less than 2 percent compared with 2014.

In 2016, however, U.S. sales of midsize cars decreased by more than 250,000 units — an 11-percent drop that exceeded the rate of decline witnessed elsewhere in the car market.


This is the seventh edition of TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. The midsize sedan as we know it — “midsizedus sedanicus” in the original latin — isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the ongoing sales contraction will result in a reduction of mainstream intermediate sedans in the U.S. market. 

How do we know? It already has.


The midsize sedan segment continues to be a hugely consequential part of the car market and the overall new vehicle market, but the segment has greatly contracted over the last few years — including the demise of yet another nameplate in 2016.

That makes 2017 the best time to replace the 15-time best-seller with an all-new model. (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2016

Front Pedestrian Braking, a new active safety technology available on the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2016 Cadillac CT6, is one of many safety features tested at General Motors' new Active Safety Test Area at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. Image: Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors

U.S. sales of midsize cars remained on an even keel in November 2016, decreasing by only one-tenth of one percent compared with November 2015.

But make no mistake: the midsize car category still took a hit in November. While volume remained level, the segment’s share of the overall U.S. new vehicle market fell below 12 percent last month, the fifth consecutive November in which midsize market share has declined.  (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2016

2016 Subaru Legacy 3.6R LimitedThere will always be a place in the American market for the conventional midsize sedan.

Despite harsh declines in recent months, consumers are still on track to register more than 2 million midsize cars in calendar year 2016. In fact, a handful of nameplates — Accord, Legacy, Malibu — are attracting more buyers this year than they did in the first two-thirds of 2015.

But U.S. sales of midsize cars are now falling with a special kind of speed, plunging 26 percent in August, a loss of nearly 58,000 sales over the span of just one month. (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2016

2016 Subaru Legacy Limited“They go on loving you just the same, but somebody’s dying.”
Not Chris Isaak – 1995.

Minivans crumbled as the three-row utility vehicle took over, leaving a handful of nameplates to each produce healthy volume. TTAC’s claim earlier this week? Midsize sedans are now following the same track, crumbling as the smaller two-row crossover takes over.

Already, America’s fleet of midsize sedans is decreasing in size. We expect to see a greater reduction in the number of midsize offerings soon.

Midsize sedans desperately want you. But you, oh collective American consumer, are consistently desirous of fewer midsize sedans. The current crop of midsize nameplates does not uniformly possess the mettle to survive the current downturn, a downturn which quickly grew more severe last month.

U.S. sales of midsize cars plunged by 31,000 units in July 2016. (Read More…)

By on August 1, 2016

2016 Mazda6, Image: Mazda USA

A decade ago, Americans could buy minivans from Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercury, Nissan, Pontiac, Saturn, and Toyota. In all, 14 brands fought for the attention of 1 million minivan buyers.

Zoom ahead to 2016 and the minivan market — unlike the Terraza and Uplander and Freestar and Entourage and Monterey and Montana and Relay — is not dead. Indeed, through the first six months of 2016 minivan volume is up 25 percent and this year is expected to be the best year of minivan sales since 2008. Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Kia, Nissan, and Toyota — only six candidates spread across seven nameplates and five automakers — are each generating sufficiently healthy volume in a market that is roughly 40 percent smaller than it was a decade ago. Rather than more than a dozen nameplates each producing an average of 70,000 annual sales, the remaining players will attract an approximate average of 100,000 annual sales each.

TTAC believes it is the midsize sedan segment’s turn to revolutionize in the same manner. In fact, the revolution is already underway. (Read More…)

By on July 28, 2015

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

I am going to make a couple assumptions about Mitsubishi, our loyal TTAC readers, and where the two intersect.

For one, I don’t think a single person who comments or reads TTAC on a regular basis owns a Mitsubishi built after 1993. Also, I am going to make an educated guess that not a single Mirage owner reads automotive websites or blogs or any information source that offers proper opinions on Mitsubishi’s smallest of offerings.

Last — but certainly not least — I am going to point out there aren’t many people who read TTAC that care about Mitsubishi in the slightest. This, my friends, isn’t just a guess.

(Read More…)

By on July 23, 2015

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi’s plant in Normal, Ill. is set to shut its doors for good. That’s what Japan’s Nikkei news service is reporting today, though U.S. representatives for the company declined to comment.

The plant was opened by Diamond-Star Motors, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, in 1988 after two years of construction. It currently builds the Outlander Sport/RVR, but was tasked with manufacturing the Eclipse/Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon, Mirage/Eagle Summit, Galant, and coupe versions of the Dodge Avenger, Stratus and Chrysler Sebring during its lifetime.

(Read More…)

By on October 15, 2012

 

Every day seems to bring new tales of doom and gloom for Europe. Is it time for a Continental Deathwatch?

(Read More…)

By on December 5, 2010

“Toyota is in trouble. The Japanese automaker is playing defense as sales slump, dealer inventories swell — even for the Camry and Prius — and consumers demand larger discounts to remain loyal to the brand once viewed as unstoppable,” so beginneth a lengthy article in Detroit’s Freep that reads like a swansong for a formerly mighty ToMoCo. First, the requisite recitation of the ode to the obvious: (Read More…)

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