By on January 14, 2015

2015 Toyota Camry XLE blueGrowth in America’s midsize car market was slow in 2014, the second consecutive year in which the overall auto industry moved forward at an impressive rate while midsize car growth was unimpressive.


• Altima and Fusion set nameplate records

• Camry tops second-ranked Accord by 40K

• The Big 5 grew their share of the segment


Yet in 2014, the most dominant midsize cars did in fact expand their sales at a healthy clip. The top-selling Toyota Camry was up 5%, year-over-year. Honda’s Accord, the second-ranked midsize car, posted a 6% improvement compared with 2013. Sales of the third-ranked Nissan Altima, America’s fourth-best-selling car overall, climbed 5% to a record-high 335,644 units.

The fourth-best-selling midsize car, Ford’s Fusion, also ascended to record highs with a 4% year-over-year increase. The fifth-ranked Hyundai Sonata, after starting slowly with the seventh-generation car in the latter portion of the year, ended 2014 up 7% compared with the 2013 calendar year.

The impressive improvements from those five top sellers resulted in a collective 5% YOY increase, equal to nearly 82,000 extra sales. Yet the midsize segment as shown here improved by fewer than 30,000 units as the five big players stole market share from many of the group’s smaller members.

Car
2014
2013
%
Change
Chevrolet Malibu 188,519 200,594 -6.0%
Chrysler 200 117,363 122,480 -4.2%
Dodge Avenger 51,705 93,842 -44.9%
Ford Fusion 306,860 295,280 3.9%
Honda Accord 388,374 366,678 5.9%
Hyundai Sonata 216,936 203,648 6.5%
Kia Optima 159,020 155,893 2.0%
Mazda 6 53,224 43,637 22.0%
Mitsubishi Galant 122 1441 -91.5%
Nissan Altima 335,644 320,723 4.7%
Subaru Legacy 52,270 42,291 23.6%
Suzuki Kizashi 1602 -100%
Toyota Camry 428,606 408,484 4.9%
Volkswagen Passat 96,649 109,652 -11.9%
Total 2,395,292 2,366,245 1.2%

In 2013, the five top sellers – the same five cars ranked in the exact same order – owned 67% of the category. In 2014, that figure grew by three percentage points to 70%.

How did it happen? Take it from the top, or rather, near the top. The Chevrolet Malibu slid 6%, ending the year with a 12% loss in the fourth-quarter. Chrysler’s launch of the new 200 brought about higher sales totals at the end of the year, but the 2014 calendar year saw total sales of the 200 (old and new) and Avenger (now defunct) fall 22%, a loss of some 47,000 sales.

U.S. midsize car sales chart 2014After following up 2012’s record-setting performance with a 6% loss in 2013, U.S. sales of the Volkswagen Passat fell 12% in 2014. The Mazda 6 and Subaru Legacy both posted large percentage increases, but their respective 22% and 24% gains, combined, generated fewer than 20,000 extra sales. (Camry volume increased by slightly more than 20,000 extra units in 2014.) The disappearance of the Suzuki Kizashi and Mitsubishi Galant resulted in 2921 lost sales in 2014, as well.

Thus, while it’s true that midsize car sales were flat in the United States in 2014, don’t confuse that overarching statement with an across-the-board assumption that all midsize nameplates were similarly affected. The rich got richer.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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29 Comments on “Cain’s Segment: U.S. Midsize Car Sales In 2014...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    The fact still remains compared to other segments (CUV, SUV, trucks) the mid-size sedan is rapidly losing favor with the buying public

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      You are correct however IMO once the folks in power (OPEC) has accomplished their goal of destroying about half of all other oil producers in the world, gas will go back up to about 4 bucks a gallon and the trend will somewhat reverse it self. All the key players are getting updates (or have already) in the next 6-12 months. Be it face lifts or engine and trans enhancements. This combined with the increase in price of gas will turn the tide alittle.
      My personal belief is the longer fuel stays this cheap the harder it will be for us Mericans with short memories to adjust to the 4 plus dollars a gallon we will be spending in about 9 months. Another opinion of mine is that if Mazda does not bring out the diesel 6 before the 4th quarter of this year they wont. Now when prices are low is the perfect time. I realize that they have had hurdles but pretty much its now or never. Or atleast 9 months from now or never.
      Like I said just my opinion with only minor facts.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The one difference I see is that the efficiency of CUV/SUV/Trucks have improved dramatically compared to sedans, a trend that started long before the current gas anti-crisis. Of course gas will go back up, but I see no reason to change the 22mpg CUV I’ve been driving since it was $4 a gallon before. If I do buy another CUV the one I have my eye on is rated at 28mpg win/win no matter where gas prices go

        • 0 avatar
          JEFFSHADOW

          Another lowlife asked me the other day (as I filled the tank on my 1972 Toronado) “Aren’t you glad you can afford that gas hog again?” To which I replied “This American “Quality”-made car (unlike your POS Kia) gets the same gas mileage it got in 1972″. In the long run (is this a quote from the Eagles?) the higher the MPG goes up, the greater the increase in fuel prices. After Mr. KiaJungUn drove away in his EconoRondo the same spot at the Shell Oil pump was occupied by another real car, a 1973 Buick Riviera!

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I wouldn’t say that they are “rapidly losing favor with the buying public.” Sales are up. Maybe they are “somewhat losing momentum” or “doing OK but not the hottest segment around”? Let’s call it a solid but uninspiring performance.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I wonder how much longer Mazda can hang on? They keep making well-regarded vehicles that Just Don’t Sell.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      The Mazda 6 got runner-up in “most improved” I’m not sure what you’re saying is valid

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Lie2me..It seems that for the last five years everyone is waiting for Mazda to die so they can say they were right. True they do lack a deep pocket daddy however even when they did have one they were constantly hindered by Ford. I like Ford alot however it was obvious they were not interested in letting Mazda be Mazda but holding out on hybrid tech, eco boost tech and others.
        Honestly I have always thought that the perfect partner for them would be BMW. Pretty much zero overlap with the same goals(drivers first) and they could just use BMW diesel engines.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        Even with the improved numbers, those sales are still quite slight and I’m not sure how they can sustain a complete automotive development program with sales like that.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Aren’t they in the middle of a complete automotive redevelopment? Skyactive, CX-5, CX-3, 6, new Miata etc. Their line-up is among the least stale of all the Japanese. I’m just not sure where you’re getting these perceptions

          • 0 avatar
            sirwired

            Oh, I think they have a great lineup. The cars are using pretty recent designs, they are well regarded and they stack up quite well compared to the competition.

            But the sales of the cars are pretty low given both how good they are and how much money is needed to develop them. If you look at Mazda’s income statement, they are just barely ekeing out a profit. (And that’s after several years of losses, even after the worst of the financial crisis was over.)

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            So your saying their sales trend is positive, that’s good

          • 0 avatar
            Chocolatedeath

            “With “Abenomics” acting as a catalyst behind the yen’s decline, Mazda expects its global net profit to reach an all-time high of $1.05 billion upon the conclusion of the current fiscal year in March 2014. The unexpected windfall of profits affords Mazda with the ability to invest in more R&D to better compete with the likes of its larger Japanese peers in the years to come. As a result, the company is said to have plans to hire 185 new engineers in the fiscal year ending March 2016, nearly four times the number it plans to hire in the next year, to work on the development of the next generation of SkyActiv technologies.”
            Wish my profits were that small

          • 0 avatar
            Chocolatedeath

            Hiroshima / Leverkusen, 25 April 2014. Mazda Motor Corporation posted the highest operating profit in its 94-year history for the fiscal year that ended on 31 March 2014. The Japanese carmaker earned a global operating profit of ¥182.1 billion* (€1.36 billion), a 238 per cent year-on-year increase and 12 per cent higher than the previous record (¥162 billion) set in 2008. On top of this, profits strengthened steadily over the course of year: The fourth-quarter return on sales reached 7.6 per cent compared to 6.8 per cent for the full year and 2.4 per cent for the prior year

          • 0 avatar
            Chocolatedeath

            Now I do realize that these results are from a year ago however the JDM currency has not changed in that time. Its still about the same compared to the American dollar.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Mazda will be able to ‘hang on’ a long time.

  • avatar
    Joss

    How are hybrid sales in this segment? Difficult to time. May wish they’d SHO’d or SPEC V’d instead.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Pretty decent.

      The Camry hybrid did 39k with the Fusion and the Sonata/Optima cousins doing 35k.

      The Accord hybrid did 14k, but sales should increase as supply increases.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Every time I see a Malibu, new face or not, it RUINS my day.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      Lol I’m the same way with the new corolla. Anytime my wife and I are on the road and she spots a corolla first she lets out this little sigh like “Great, go ahead, get it over with.” F*&% that car.

  • avatar
    mjz

    I think the new 200 will be the big percentage gainer for 2015. It outsold the Malibu in November and almost outsold it again in December.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Finally – a Camry I can actually like. Good re-design. I’d still most likely buy a Malibu if I were in the market, however. Why? Because it’s a Chevy and not a Toyota or Honda. Reason enough.

    A crowded market segment, that’s for sure. It’s nice having so many choices, but in the long run, I can’t see all the different cars available being financially feasible in the long run, unless they are sold world-wide and the numbers are better than they are domestically.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      See I came here to say the grille is awful, and a big enough reason not to buy.

      • 0 avatar
        kovakp

        This. They’ve really disfigured one of my favorite cars. And judging by its sales I am firmly out of the loop with my reaction.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        Was that Avalon bottom feeder that well received or something? I just don’t understand what inspired them to make the entire front of each car into a half-fake grimmace. Maybe these engines need *A LOT* of cooling?

        I found myself staring at a 2001 Lexus ES grille this morning wondering what went so wrong…

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Hyundai/Kia combined sell almost as many midsizers as the Accord. The biggest surprise for me was how well the Altima did.

    The Malibu will probably decline again (unless GM dumps a ton into the fleets) until the redesigned 2017 model gets here.

    I think the Chrysler 200 will be on track to sell more than 200K units in 2015, but keep in mind that is less volume than the 200 and Avenger did back in 2013.

  • avatar
    slingshot

    Currently have an 08 Honda Accord V-6, totally reliable with 156,000 miles, 25 mpg; never been back to the dealer. Don’t like the new ones. They took about the good stuff and put in video games. Very interested in the new 2016 Mazda 6 Touring with manual tranny. (Had a 2002 Millenia S, also totally reliable with 135,000 miles, also 25 mpg.) Not interested in any other of these mid size cars except maybe the Legacy although I don’t really like the looks of it, would probably buy an Outback.

    Found out yesterday they don’t have heated mirrors in this model unless apparently you buy the AT. Thought every car in America had this at because of the safety issue. I live in the snow belt and I need it. I guess it can be added at some expense; if its in one model it can be added to a similar model. Also can’t get a sunroof, not the end of the world although I like them. Can’t get XM Sirius radio, although this can be added rather easily and is an absolute requirement. No leather heated seats which can be added aftermarket or Xenon lights which also can be added although these aren’t absolute requirements and I would rather have better lights than better seats. The GT has Xenon lights. (Years ago you could get exactly what you wanted. Now the auto manufacturers dictate what you get. Have it your way, No!)

    At some point just makes sense to look at something else. Probably test drive it when it comes out to see if it is too slow and what it costs for some of these extra goodies. I think they went overboard in the great mpg in comparison to better acceleration. Due to contacts can get a great price on one.

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