Chart Of The Day: Does Age Matter? Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
chart of the day does age matter edition

Ignore the commas in the X-axis labeling, and you’ll see that this graph compares total sales volume for last year against each model’s year-of-introduction as we hunt for the missing links between product cadence and sales performance. Above, you can see that none of the major D-Segment competitors was introduced before 2007, and that newness alone is not linked to sales volume. In fact, in the D-Segment, volume seems to decrease with newness (although historical data indicates that this is a brand-loyalty issue rather than a consumer preference for older vehicles). Moreover, it appears that more recent introductions are merely narrowing the competitive gaps in the midsized sedan segment (although we’ll need new Accord and Camry replacements to tell if that trend is for real).

The compact segment, on the other hand, shows a far less surprising correlation between year-of-introduction and sales, as sales grow in a fairly consistent manner as you move across the x axis from older to newer nameplates. The major lesson from these graphs: Honda and Toyota continue to enjoy a “reverse perception gap” in which their aging models tend to most dramatically defy volume expectations relative to the age of the competition. But with more competition coming this year, as Chevy’s Cruze, Hyundai’s Elantra and Ford’s Focus come into the market, the consumer’s tendency to give Honda and Toyota “the benefit of the doubt” could well be tested. And once perceptions start shifting, there’s no telling where they might end up.


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  • Slance66 Slance66 on Jan 24, 2011

    I agree with John Horner. The other fact missing here is the effectiveness of the new model. 2008 Accord was a nice improvement over the prior. The 2010 Fusion fixed a very ugly front end on the prior and an outdated interior. The Malibu got better, but was just less far behind than before. The 2007 Camry? It got bigger and uglier. The Altima just got bigger and looks the same. The Sonata change was truly dramatic in every way, inside, outside, drivetrain. New only helps when it helps. Ford was smart. The shape and size was good. The headlights and interior were not. So they fixed what was broken. There are few innovations needed now. You can no longer buy a new car because it has ABS and your old one doesn't. Maybe the iPod connection is similar, but for the most part, cars today have everything needed and then some.

  • Bufguy Bufguy on Jan 24, 2011

    For the record, the Altima actually got slightly smaller in exterior dimensions from the previous generation. Other than that the years appear to be meaningless. The Camry and Accord have been sales leaders for years...When they introduce new models this will probably continue. What the graph fails to note because of its short time duration is that 5-6 years ago Chevy and Ford were hardly players....The vastly improved Malibu and the second generation Fusion have proven the Americans are now players.

  • Make_light I drive a 2015 A4 and had one of these as a loaner once. It was a huge disappointment (and I would have considered purchasing one as my next car--I'm something of a small crossover apologist). The engine sounded insanely coarse and unrefined (to the point that I wasn't sure if it was poor insulation or there was something wrong with my loaner). The seats, interior materials, and NVH were a huge downgrade compared to my dated A4. I get that they are a completely different class of car, but the contrast struck me. The Q3 just didn't feel like a luxury vehicle at all. Friends of mine drive a Tiguan and I can't think of one way in which the Q3 feels worth the extra cost. My mom's CX-5 is better than either in every conceivable way.
  • Arthur Dailey Personally I prefer a 1970s velour interior to the leather interior. And also prefer the instrument panel and steering wheel introduced later in the Mark series to the ones in the photograph. I have never seen a Mark III or IV with a 'centre console'. Was that even an option for the Mark IV? Rather than bucket seats they had the exceptional and sorely missed 60/40 front seating. The most comfortable seats of all for a man of a 'certain size'. In retrospect this may mark the point when Cadillac lost it mojo. Through the early to mid/late 70's Lincoln surpassed Cadillac in 'prestige/pride of place'. Then the 'imports' took over in the 1980s with the rise of the 'yuppies'.
  • Arthur Dailey Really enjoying this series and the author's writing style. My love of PLC's is well known. And my dream stated many times would be to 'resto mod' a Pucci edition Mark IV. I did have a '78 T-Bird, acquired brand new. Preferred the looks of the T-Bird of this generation to the Cougar. Hideaway headlights, the T-Birds roof treatment and grille. Mine had the 400 cid engine. Please what is with the engine displacements listed in the article? I am Canada and still prefer using cubic inches when referencing any domestic vehicles manufactured in the 20th century. As for my T-Bird the engine and transmission were reliable. Not so much some of the other mechanical components. Alternator, starter, carburetor. The vehicle refused to start multiple times, usually during the coldest nights/days or in the most out of the way spots. My friends were sure that it was trying to kill me. Otherwise a really nice, quiet, 'floaty' ride, with easy 'one finger' steering and excellent 60/40 split front seat. One of these with modern mechanicals/components would be a most excellent highway cruiser.
  • FreedMike Maybe they should buy Twitter now.
  • FreedMike A lot of what people are calling "turbo lag" may actually be the transmission. In this case, Audi used a standard automatic in this application versus the DSG, and that makes a big difference. The pre-2022 VW Arteon had the same issue - plenty of HP, but the transmission held it back. If Audi had used the DSG, this would be a substantially quicker, more engaging car. In any case, I don't get these "entry lux" compact CUVs (think: Cadillac XT4, Lexus NX, BMW X1, etc). If you must have a compact CUV, I can think of far better options for a lot less money. And, no, the Tiguan isn't one of them - it has the Miller-cycle 2.0T, so it's a dog. But a Mazda CX-30 with the 2.5T would fit the bill.
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