Cain's Segment: U.S. Midsize Car Sales In 2014

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
cains segment u s midsize car sales in 2014

Growth 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.

Car20142013%ChangeChevrolet Malibu188,519200,594-6.0%Chrysler 200117,363122,480-4.2%Dodge Avenger51,70593,842-44.9%Ford Fusion306,860295,2803.9%Honda Accord388,374366,6785.9%Hyundai Sonata216,936203,6486.5%Kia Optima159,020155,8932.0%Mazda 653,22443,63722.0%Mitsubishi Galant1221441-91.5%Nissan Altima335,644320,7234.7%Subaru Legacy52,27042,29123.6%Suzuki Kizashi—1602-100%Toyota Camry428,606408,4844.9%Volkswagen Passat96,649109,652-11.9%————Total2,395,2922,366,2451.2%

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.

After 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, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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  • Speed3 Speed3 on Jan 14, 2015

    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.

  • Slingshot Slingshot on Jan 14, 2015

    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.

  • Jeff S Some of us don't care either way we are not into this type of car. Most of these will be stored in garages waiting for their value to go up. As someone above noted this is an old body style which is retro 70s Challenger which after researching it came out in the 2008 MY which means a long run for a model that is in its 16th year. I have always liked these but if I bought one I would not spend this kind of money on one probably get the V-6 version and use it as a family car but then I am not into drag racing or muscle cars. For the type of car it is it has a decent rear seat and not too bad of a trunk. Most of us are not going to spend 100k for any vehicle at least currently so its not something most of us will buy and stick in a garage waiting for its value to increase. I am glad that these editions came out for those who can afford them and it keeps a little more color into what has become a very dull vehicle market but then with age I pick the dull appliance like reliable vehicle because that's what I need. Impressive car but not for me.
  • Jonathan The Germans. So organized they can appear disorganized. I agree with some others, classic names like Thunderbird, Imperial, Grand Prix, Ambassador etc. just have more appeal.
  • Bobbysirhan A friend had one when they first came out. He was CFO of some green California company and could charge the Volt at work. At home, the PHEV gave him an excuse to make his wife park her nicer car outdoors while the Volt get their condo's one-car garage. He liked the Volt, and he spent very little on energy during the 'first one's free!' era of EV ownership. Of course, the green company went bust soon after, and he wound up with a job that involved far more driving and ultimately the need for a more substantial car. I drove the Volt once after his wife had made a return trip to Los Angeles, depleting the battery. I don't know what a first gen Volt drives like with a charged battery, but it was really gutless with two adults, a yellow lab, and a dead battery. My other memory of it was that it had a really cramped back seat for a car that was about as large as a Civic. My friend who bought it liked it though, and that's not always been the case for GM vehicles.
  • MrIcky I think the Shakedown is more my speed of the last call editions- but this is impressive.
  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.