By on June 21, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid - Image: Toyota The 2018 Toyota Camry will be priced from $24,380, including delivery, when it goes on sale this summer — a $425 increase compared with the base 2017 Camry.

Riding on an evolution of the Prius and C-HR’s Toyota New Global Architecture, the 2018 Camry is an all-new design for the first time since the 2012 model year. Market positioning is key, even for a Camry that’s been America’s best-selling car for 15 consecutive years, as demand for midsize sedans is quickly falling and even Toyota is seeing greater interest in the RAV4 than the historically dominant Camry. With new competitors approaching from Honda and Nissan, Toyota isn’t fooling around with this hugely important launch.

All eighth-generation Camrys are equipped with an eight-speed automatic. There’s essentially no tangible weight increase. The Camry offers the most standard horsepower in the midsize segment, the optional 3.5-liter V6 now produces 301 horsepower, and all Camrys now include Toyota Safety Sense P with pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and auto high beams.

Perhaps most notably, highway fuel economy jumps all the way to 41 miles per gallon; above 50 mpg for Camry Hybrids. (Read More…)

By on June 16, 2017

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Fairfax, Kansas - Image: General MotorsIn September 2017, General Motors will be forced to lay off a large number of workers at its Kansas City, Kansas assembly plant where the Chevrolet Malibu is built.

Only two days ago we learned General Motors would stretch the Fairfax assembly plant’s summer shutdown by an additional three weeks — from two to five in 2017 — because of excessive Malibu inventory. But as GM seeks to maintain a more reasonable grip on incentives than in the past, the only remaining way of reducing an inventory glut is to stop building so many cars.

Unfortunately for some of GM’s Kansas employees, the announcement of a temporary shutdown — the third this year according to the Kansas City Business Journal — will be an insufficient means of reducing stock. The Kansas City Star reports the number of shifts at the plant will be reduced to two in late September.

After Chevrolet’s U.S. midsize sales rapidly elevated to a 36-year high in calendar year 2016 during the ninth-generation Malibu’s launch, volume has declined hard and fast in early 2017. (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry Canada reveal - Image: Toyota Canada

The all-new 2018 Toyota Camry’s new 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine generates 203 horsepower in the entry-level model, 206 horsepower in the 2018 Camry XSE.

This means the eighth-generation Camry offers the most standard horsepower of any car in America’s midsize segment, at least for the time being.

We know not yet what the 2018 Honda Accord will bring. Honda released some engine details last Friday, including information that reveals the death of the Accord’s V6 and future reliance on the 1.5-liter turbo from the Civic and CR-V — as well as the 2.0-liter turbo from the Civic Type R. But we don’t know how much power Honda, notoriously not a participant in any horsepower war, will allow the Accord’s basic 1.5T to produce.

Meanwhile, the Camry’s upgrade engine continues to be a 3.5-liter V6, and Toyota’s gone and done the right thing with that powerplant, too. Moar powah. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2017

2017 Toyota Camry SE - Image: Toyota“Stepping up to a midsize is basically a no-brainer for buyers at this point,” CarsDirect’s senior price analyst Alex Bernstein tells TTAC.

With demand for midsize sedans drying up, deals on aging models are warming up.

Now in its sixth model year, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S — the entry-level Passat — is available in June for a 36-month lease at $189 per month and $1,999 due at signing.

The 2017 Honda Accord, a new version of which is due later this year, is also available in June in basic LX trim on the same terms.

Meanwhile, the mid-grade 2017 Toyota Camry SE 2.5, set to be replaced in the coming months by an all-new model, is likewise available in June for $189 per month with $1,999 down over 36 months.

“This is about as cheap as lease deals have ever been on these midsize sedans,” Bernstein says. But it actually gets even cheaper, marginally cheaper, according to CarsDirect’s examination of 500 lease deals. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2017

2017 Mazda 6, Image: Mazda

Mazda’s U.S. lineup has already suffered enough cutbacks, according to North American boss Masahiro Moro.

“I don’t have any intention to cut any nameplate right now,” Moro told Automotive News following a meeting of the National Dealer Advisory Council earlier in May.

This means the Mazda 6, often thought to be prime Death Watch material based on its low-volume status in the shrinking midsize sedan category, remains as firmly installed in the Mazda showroom as ever.

But where’s the Mazda 6’s replacement? Not on the immediate horizon. (Read More…)

By on May 24, 2017

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid - Image: © Timothy CainAutomobile manufacturers send a new car to my driveway every week. Last week, the manufacturer was Kia. The vehicle, an Optima Hybrid.

Spending a full week with a vehicle should expose a vehicle’s positive attributes, not only the most obvious traits but those hidden under the surface at a first-drive event in an exotic location or during a test drive where a yammering salesman regales you with tales of J.D. Power awards.

Spending a full week with a vehicle should also expose a vehicle’s faults, not just the glaring flaws. The kind of blunders only made evident when you truly get to know a car.

That’s my job. I’m given time to spot everything, because you won’t be afforded the same privilege. So what happens when a vehicle is unable to incite any passion in the automotive enthusiast erogenous zones while also avoiding the exposure of any intrinsic weaknesses? What happens when there’s nothing to spot?

Writer’s block. (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 12, 2017

2018 Hyundai Sonata range – Image: Hyundai

Whether you loved it or hated it, the sixth-generation Hyundai Sonata that debuted at 2009’s Los Angeles auto show captured your attention.

In fact, that 2010-2014 Hyundai Sonata changed the way many automakers approached the midsize sedan segment, and it changed the way many buyers perceived the midsize sedan segment.

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata did not capture your attention. Sure, Hyundai built a better car with the seventh-generation Sonata, but Hyundai played it safe.

Now, at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, Hyundai reveals a refreshed seventh-generation Sonata. On a mission to capture the attention of midsize car buyers before they flee sedans in search of more flexible Tucsons and Santa Fe Sports, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata adopts the conservatively handsome Hyundai Elantra’s face. (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 23, 2017

Accord-Camry-Passat-Altima V6 sedans - Images: Nissan/Honda/Toyota/VW

Horsepower doesn’t necessarily cure all that ails you. Potent powertrains aren’t invariably linked to progress. The greater pony count is not unfailingly found under the hood of the greater car.

All too often, auto enthusiasts fall into the trap of believing that a deeply flawed car can be made better if they’d only put a proper engine under the hood. In reality, huge power increases often do more to highlight, rather than mask, a car’s flaws.

The overwhelming majority of 2017’s crop of midsize sedans are not deeply flawed cars, of course. But it’s generally accepted, at least by people like you and me, that they can all be made better by upgrading the basic four-cylinder powerplant with an optional V6. By spending a fair chunk of extra change. By tolerating a sharp increase in fuel consumption. By challenging two front wheels to sometimes fulfill two starkly different missions. (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 26, 2017

2016 Chrysler 200 - Image: FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. dealers entered 2017 with more than six-months’ worth of Chrysler 200 supply, according to Automotive News.

That’s enough inventory for America’s latest discontinued midsize sedan, production of which ended eight weeks ago, to linger well into summer, assuming demand remains on an even keel.

Of course, demand for the Chrysler 200 has not flatlined, but rather continues to shrink. This means 200s built in the fourth-quarter of 2016 — or earlier — may well be readily available at a Chrysler dealer near you, not just this summer, but even toward the end of 2017.

You therefore have plenty of time to decide whether you want to take the plunge into a world of defunct nameplates. Based on recent results, it appears that more than 98 percent of midsize sedan buyers don’t. (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 5, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200C

You read it here this morning, but perhaps a friend already texted you the bad news. Maybe a few Facebook acquaintances or Twitter followers changed their avatar to reflect the loss.

Yes, the Chrysler 200, formerly the Chrysler Sebring, has shuffled off its mortal coil, leaving behind only memories and a hefty inventory of unsold models.

As TTAC’s Timothy Cain said in his heartfelt obituary, the 200’s passing is more than just the loss of a slow-selling model — it’s the death of FCA’s midsize car portfolio. Formerly numbering one (after the death of the barely facelifted Dodge Avenger), the warehouse’s tenant list now registers zero occupants.

Think back to any previous decade. Back then, could you picture a day when the Chrysler stable contained just two models? That’s where we’re at: an aging rear-wheel-drive sedan and a minivan are the only things keeping Chrysler from joining Plymouth, Eagle, and DeSoto in the cold, cold ground. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States