By on September 26, 2016

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

Even Mazda, we told you last week, is now selling more crossovers than cars.

One-third of Chevrolet’s U.S. volume is produced by pickup trucks. An SUV now generates more than half of the Bentley brand’s U.S. sales. Half of all Chrysler buyers choose a minivan.

Where are the sports cars?

We don’t expect auto brands to produce the majority of their volume with sports cars. In fact, many auto brands don’t sell any kind of sports car at all. But at TTAC, we’re enthusiasts, even though some of us drive minivans and three-cylinder subcompact hatchbacks and compact sedans. We want sports cars to be part of an automaker’s lineup because there will come a day.

But which auto brands actually produce meaningful volume with sports cars?

To answer this question we ignored “performance versions” of four-door sedans. We excluded coupe variants of sedans for which sales figures either are or are not made available by their respective automakers. And we rejected from contention two-doors such as the Buick Cascada in the interests of our reputation. (Yes, you can argue about the Dodge Challenger’s reputation as a “sports car” and whether it’s essentially just a two-door Charger, but we included it anyhow.)

And then, to reach a conclusion, we also tossed out sales of crossovers, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks. The real question becomes: which mainstream auto brands produce the greatest percentage of their passenger car sales from sports cars?

2017 Toyota 86

#8: Toyota | 1%
Forget Scion, the brand is dead for MY2017. But the Scion FR-S lives on as the Toyota 86.

Through the first eight months of 2016, the FR-S accounted for 0.7 percent of total Toyota/Scion car volume. For every FR-S sold by Scion, Toyota also sells 52 Camrys, 48 Corollas, and 45 RAV4s.

2016 Nissan 370Z Coupe

#7: Nissan | 1%
U.S. sales of the Nissan 370Z rose to a five-year high in 2015 but are down 19 percent to 4,292 sales so far this year, a far cry from 36,728 350Zs sold in 2003. That year, the Z alone accounted for 10 percent of Nissan’s U.S. volume.

Now, with SUVs/crossovers bringing in more than one-third of Nissan sales, 370Z volume a fraction of what it was, and the GT-R reporting an expected level of niche volume, only one-half of one percent of Nissan’s total volume is sports car-derived.

2017 Subaru BRZ

#6: Subaru | 3%
True performance in Subaru dealerships is sold in the form of the Impreza-based WRX and STI, sedans which account for one in five Subaru car sales and one out of every 18 total Subaru sales.

But we’re not talking about rally-inspired sedans. The Subaru BRZ, a twin of the Scion FR-S/Toyota 86, is down 20 percent to 3,062 sales this year, representing just 3 percent of Subaru’s 107,203 car sales in 2016’s first eight months.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata white

#5: Mazda | 7%
Mazda truly does imbue all of its vehicles with a sense of Miata. From the Mazda 2, sold as a Scion iA/Toyota Yaris iA sedan in the U.S., to the Mazda CX-9, there’s a sense of relationship in every Mazda to the company’s roadster. Yet the MX-5 Miata is the only sporting Mazda — there aren’t even Mazdaspeed versions of the Miata’s stablemates.

Possibly the most famous Mazda, the MX-5 Miata produces only 7 percent of the brand’s U.S. passenger car volume; only 4 percent of the brand’s total volume.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

#4: Fiat | 7%
While only 7 percent of the Fiat brand’s passenger car volume in the first eight months of 2016 were produced by the MX-5 Miata-based 124 Spider, that figure is misleading. The 124 Spider has only become a force for good this summer.

In August, for instance, as sales of the 500 and 500L fell 43 percent to 1,374 units, Fiat sold 460 copies of the 124 Spider, or 25 percent of the brand’s passenger car volume.

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

#3: Chevrolet | 14%
By way of 47,958 Camaros (down 15 percent, year-over-year) and 19,890 Corvettes (down 17 percent, year-over-year), Chevrolet has generated 67,848 of its 486,342 passenger car sales with sports cars this year.

Combined sales of Chevrolet’s two entry-level models, the Sonic and Spark: 62,716.

2016 Ford Mustang GT

#2: Ford | 17%
Ford brand passenger car sales are down 11 percent to 478,777 units this year. The Mustang, America’s leading sports car — and yes, the sixth-gen Mustang is certainly more of a sports car than it’s ever been — outsells all competitors despite a slight downturn compared with 2015.

With 80,829 year-to-date sales, the Mustang outsells the C-Max, Fiesta, and Taurus combined.

2017 Dodge Challenger SRT

#1: Dodge | 31%
Of the 146,634 cars sold by the Dodge brand in the United States in the first eight months of 2016, 45,668 were Challengers and Vipers: 45,260 of the former; 408 of the latter. On both counts, sales of the sports cars are down, but the Challenger (down 4 percent) and Viper (down 11 percent) aren’t falling as fast as the Dodge passenger car range as a whole.

Because of the Dart’s upcoming disappearance, Dodge car sales are down by nearly a fifth this year. Nearly six in ten Dodge sales come from the “light truck” division: Grand Caravan, Durango, Journey.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

120 Comments on “How Sports Are Your Cars? We Have Answers...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Young white American males (white because imbibing Euro sports car heritage) ain’t got frivolous money no more. Need there be any other explanation?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      They buy trucks, instead. All of the sloppy handling of the cars of the 60s, but with the added “benefit” of being able to literally look down on other drivers. (Ride height uber alles.)

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      While I agree that your reason is a big part of the decline of the sports car, the other, perhaps larger part, is that regular cars don’t suck any more.

      When the mainstream flag was best waved by a slant-six-equipped Dodge Valiant you could understand why you’d want a purpose-build sports car. Today, a Camry SE can put up better numbers than many sports cars from the last half-century. You have to walk past a lot of pretty good cars, put up with some annoying compromises (I can’t even fit in an FT-86 or Miata) and pay an awful lot of money on top of what you’d normally pay for…what? Styling? Performance that you can’t really use?

      The Subaru post in the article really sums it up: you could buy the BRZ, or you could spend about the same on a WRX and have a car that’s 95% as much fun that you can 50% more often because it comes with real seats and a real trunk.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Since the Germans invented the sports sedan, automakers have figured out that performance can be added to four-door cars. So I would agree that this is another factor.

        There’s also a certain amnesia on the internet when it comes to these things. Back during the “good” old days, the typical Mustang was a low-powered two-door Falcon on a family car chassis and with a family car motor, with lousy handling and worse brakes. It looked great, but was nothing to write home about. Very few people bought the high performance versions of those kinds of cars; as is the case today, those were overkill and overpriced for the average consumer, so those specialty versions sold in low numbers.

        If today’s Mustang was the production equivalent of the original, then it would essentially be a two-door Focus. Instead, today’s buyer gets a far more substantial car that will necessarily appeal to a smaller audience; the days of selling a half-million units per year in the US are long gone.

        • 0 avatar
          tylermattikow

          Except the Germans did not invent the Sport Sedan. The BMW 1600 came out in 1962. Prior to that, BMW sedans were not sporty at all. The Jaguar MKI in 1955, MG Magnette from 1953 and Alfa Romeo Giulietta from 1954 are all Sports Sedans from earlier.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            My Godparents owned a couple of Magnettes in which I spent a lot of time as a boy (one summer in Norway). It’s where I got my love of British cars.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I support PCH on this one. BMW (and MB) popularized the sports sedan. Other carmakers may have offered them earlier, but did not achieve sustained market accpetance.

            Similarly, Chrysler invented the minivan and the Lexus RX was the first crossover. Both were predated by early entrants that did not achieve sustained market success.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            It was the E39 M5 which taught me that you can have serious performance and a comfortable 4-door vehicle at the same time.

          • 0 avatar
            amca

            My Mom had a Magnette. My abiding memory of it – from about age 6 – was her telling my Dad not to drive through the puddle, which he did, and the engine died, just as she said it would.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Pch101 – agreed. V8 Mustangs were at the outset rather rare. That is why V8 Mustangs and fastbacks tend to sell for a premium today. Even big Fairlanes and Galaxies are only worth money with big V8’s.

          • 0 avatar
            thattruthguy

            According to edmunds.com, the take rate on first-gen Mustang V8s was about 3:1 over sixes. V8s sell for a premium because they’re more desired than sixes, the same way that a 271hp hi-po would be worth more than a 2bbl, no matter how many were built of either.

      • 0 avatar
        notwhoithink

        ” Today, a Camry SE can put up better numbers than many sports cars from the last half-century.”

        Agreed. A 2016 Accord V6 (and any of the older Accord V6s from the same generation) are actually have more power and are faster than my 4th Gen Mustang GT. It’s not nearly as loud or as tricky to drive in adverse weather, though.

        “The Subaru post in the article really sums it up: you could buy the BRZ, or you could spend about the same on a WRX and have a car that’s 95% as much fun that you can 50% more often because it comes with real seats and a real trunk.”

        Indeed. There’s the notion of the “sport sedan”, but even typical “family sedans” of the current generation offer a compelling argument via utility while not completely bailing on the “fun to drive” aspect. As those of us who grew up on a steady diet of sports cars mature (Gen X), we’re finding that we have to get our thrills from a 4-door for practical reasons. In the meantime, the next generation (Gen Y) and the one after (Millenials) have grown up on a steady diet of “Fast and Furious” and “Forza”, so they’re already pre-disposed to prefer tuned sedans and hot hatches to “true sports cars” anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Problem is a vehicle with a high price tag and very limited usability is really winnowing down its market. Sports sedans give that practicality back and heck- these days a regular sedan like a V6 Camry or Accord can lay down some pretty good numbers.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          This is a shame, because there’s more to a true “sports car” than performance. If you look back to the traditional breed, there was never that much straight-line performance to be had. I’ve driven a Triumph Spitfire through the Swiss Alps; in most situations it’s struggling to keep up with a well-driven modernish Corolla, and I’m not just talking about straight lines. But the thing is a hoot to drive. My Miata won’t keep up in a straight line with even my beater airport car, and modern sporty sedans can match it for grip and destroy it in straight line speed and composure over rough, twisty roads.

          But the sports cars offer up a very different driving feel. You’ll never get the grin in a Corolla that you will going through switchbacks in a Triumph. The Miata is loved by all the auto journos because of how it feels going down the road, not because of the numbers it puts down (although the new ones are pretty respectable in that regard). It’s about where you sit in relation to the wheelbase, in the immediacy of the controls, and in many cases, the openness of the cabin.

          It’s true that mainstream cars have gotten competent enough that a dedicated sports car is a tougher sell than it used to be, but I still struggle to imagine “just going for a drive” in a Camry or base BMW 3 series compared to a sports car, even if the sedans are far faster.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            Damn. Now you’ve made me nostalgic for the Triumph GT-6+ of my youth…

          • 0 avatar
            notwhoithink

            “but I still struggle to imagine “just going for a drive” in a Camry or base BMW 3 series compared to a sports car,”

            Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a “sports car”, but I still do “just go for a drive” to decompress by heading to the Hocking Hills in my TDI. It may not be fast, but it’s torquey and that keeps it fun.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Juniper Bug couldn’t have said it better.

            Its not like people are buying lots of sporty sedans, the sedan sales themselves are falling and most are 4cyl/auto snoreboxes. So, a Murano might put down numbers better numbers than an old Datsun Roadster or Z car, but which one is more special and enjoyable? Praticality is great in a daily driver, but a sports car should make you feel something a “normal” car never could. Even a sporty-ish normal car.

            I’m not saying you can’t enjoy driving a normal car (because I have and do), but stop comparing classic Mustangs to modern Camrys. Not at all the same thing.

            My parents don’t remember their ’66 V-8 Mustang’s sloppy steering or jittery ride, they remember how much fun it was, how it made them feel. I bet their 2012 Taurus is quicker and I know its smoother, easier to handle and stops better, and they do love it, but its not the same feeling they got with the Mustang back in 1966 when they ordered it new and drove it around. A new Mustang wouldn’t make sense for them, the Taurus does, but I bet their heart would skip a beat if I pulled up in a new Mustang GT, red and 6MT of course.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Is the WRX only 95% the fun of a BRZ? Jack?

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Plymouth Valiant. The Dodge version was a Dart.

        (I once had a Valiant… it was simultaneously the worst car I ever owned, but also one of the best. Anyone who ever had one of those would understand how that could be.)

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        “When the mainstream flag was best waved by a slant-six-equipped Dodge Valiant…”

        I know the brand has been dead for years, but the Valiant was a Plymouth. I have fantasies about a resto-mod ’64 Valiant convertible with a 6.2 Hemi and a Tremec 6-speed…

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Bunkie, I have a similar dream, except Slant 6 turbo EFI. Leaning Tower of Power indeed. I think I’ll put that on the license plate frame.

          I knew I wouldn’t be the only one who “Dodge Valiant” would stick out for. I would’ve accepted Chrysler Valiant, mate. Lol

      • 0 avatar

        Back in the day a “sports car” was appreciably smaller than a sedan, with a sportier drive and a manual transmission to increase the appeal to the “purist”.

        As sedans have improved through the years, many sedans are better than the sports cars of old.

        Today a major portion of the market has migrated to trucks/utilities which are more useful than a sedan or a sports car. Just like the movement to all wheel drive. The challenge with trucks and utilities is the higher center of gravity which impacts cornering. You have to conclude that the average consumer has not desire for sports cars, or even sporty driving.

        The last bastion of fun is “on/off” ramps when everything works just right as LS1Fan mentions.

        Sport cars are toys do you want it watered down (which is usually the case) or do you want it aggressive (which is the exception).

    • 0 avatar
      Snail Kite

      When I was growing up, M cars, Evos, WRXs, and other sport sedans were much more interesting than sports cars. Mustangs and camaros were crap, corvettes were for grey-haired men, the Japanese sports car era had largely passed, etc. They were just never and still aren’t particularly cool

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?1123870-Ford-Performance-Global-Sales-Are-Hot&p=15427979#post15427979

      Ford is saying otherwise, they indicate they are on track to sell 200k performance vehicles and they are popular with the yutes.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I struggle to apply the sports car moniker to the base model National rent car spec 6 Cylinder Challenger. I concede that it is probably faster than a 93′ Cobra Mustang, but it certainly doesn’t sound as nice or have the cache of a SRT product.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      You shouldn’t struggle. Here’s why. No Challenger, from the base V-6 to the burly Hellcat is a sports car. Not even close.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        I concur, the Challenger at best is a personal car or whatever they called the T-bird, Monte Carlo and so on back in the 70’s and 80’s when big 2dr coupes were a sign on success.

        The Mustang and Camaro aren’t that far behind but its always fun to see a Challenger loyalist talk about either of those cars as being small and cramped (in one instance a Challenger bro called them “kiddie” cars).

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    I’m having trouble with the “sports car” definition here. So the presumption here is that the WRX/STI are not sports cars, the Juke is not a sports car, Abarth models are not sports cars, the Golf R is not a sports car, yet 4 cyl Mustangs count as sports cars? I think a lot of discussion could be had on this subject.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “I think a lot of discussion could be had on this subject.”

      The `”sports car” definition discussion` has killed a lot of electrons in many an internet forum over the past decades.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Tim carefully set the ground rules for this discussion, and came up with a list based on that. Fair enough. Sports cars also have some level of impracticality about them, and a Golf R and Juke are actually quite practical!

      It’s telling Honda/Acura are not on the list. Its golden era would include the NSX and S2000. The variants of the Integra (Type-R) might be excluded based on the definition.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Practical? Have you ever sat in a Juke? The reason why they call it a Juke is because it’s practicality is a Joke. :) The backseat is uninhabitable and the oddly shaped cargo area can’t hold all that much. Though granted it’s more practical than something like a BRZ.

        My concern is that he essentially set the ground rules so that they would reinforce his point. That’s always a concern when you see “analysis” like that, and which is why his definition of “sports car” has to be challenged in the first place as part of challenging the argument.

        It would also be fair to say that sports cars have evolved far beyond his definition, to include cars like the Golf R and WRX, cars that are just as sporty and powerful but include more practicality, and he’s simply using an outdated definition of “sports car.”

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “It would also be fair to say that sports cars have evolved far beyond his definition, to include cars like the Golf R and WRX…”

          I wouldn’t go there at all. But I don’t consider the WRX, Mustang, Golf R, Focus RS, Challenger, or Juke to be sports cars.

          Miata, 124, 370Z, FRS/BRZ, Evora, Corvette, Boxster/Cayman, 911, F-type etc. are why I consider to be sports cars.

          To me, feel is a big part of the sports car experience. Drive a Boxster back to back with a 340i and you’ll get a feel of where of coming from.

          I am glad though that we have hot hatches such as the Golf R and Focus RS. A garage consisting of a Golf R and a Boxster S is a beautiful thing.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      The WRX/STI are definitely sports cars in winter. But he’s sticking with summer sports cars, and real summer sports cars do not have power understeer, or even use electronic devices to overcome that inherent trait.

  • avatar
    mikey

    As the owner of a 2015 Eco-boost Mustang…I would have to say “Sports Car” is a bit of a stretch. I would venture to say ,that the 6 cylinder Challenger and the Non GT Mustang would be closer , to the so called, “personal luxury coupe” of the 70’s and early 80’s.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The Mustang is a bit small to really be a “personal luxury coupe”, isn’t it?

      Aside: I do agree with you about the Ecoboosted Mustang. I really, really wanted that car to be more fun than it ended up being.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        Agree, in default mode, it felt like a 4 cylinder Accord — which is comfortable, but not sporty.

        Did you put it in Sport or Track mode? The Ecoboost Mustang convertible I rented was fun after I switched modes. It was an AT (why can’t we rent manuals in the U.S?!? <– rhetorical question), but the paddles were an ok alternative.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …back in my youth, we referred to performance coupés like the mustang, camaro, and the host of similar form-factor non-pony-car competitors as ‘sporty’ cars, but never as sportscars…

        …essentially, if it carries anything more accommodating than a token +2 bench behind the driver, it isn’t a sportscar, regardless of performance: sportscar refers to the form factor, driving experience, and design brief derived therefrom…even the token bench notion isn’t a given, as the vast majority of 2+2 cars follow more of a grand tourer design brief than that of a sportscar…

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          The Miata, 124, and Vette are the only sports cars on the list, IMO. Lots of GT cars and a few muscle cars. The BRZ and 86 are on the fence as the +2 rear seats are a strike against them. They at least prioritize low weight and razor sharp reflexes.

          What about Porsche? I’m sure that the Cayman and Boxster make bigger than 1% volume and should be enough to make the list.

          edit: reread it. “mainstream” was the word I missed.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            The Viper isn’t a sports car?

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            I overlooked it. I was mostly pulling the list of sports cars from memory. You’ll have to forgive me for excluding a car that sells in the 10s of dozens each year and always seems to be on the verge of cancellation. Several iterations of the Viper would go past the sports car category and move directly into street legal race car.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “…essentially, if it carries anything more accommodating than a token +2 bench behind the driver, it isn’t a sportscar”

          So by definition, my first two pickups were sports cars ;)

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      Really? Let’s say that I had a 2001 Mustang GT (4.6L V8). That’s clearly a “sports car”. Now your 2015 Eco-boost Mustang is faster, has a more powerful engine, and handles more nimbly than my old Mustang GT did in every conceivable way. Hell, it’s only 10 HP shy of the old Mustang Cobra, how is it not a sports car if all of it’s predecessors are?

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        A 2001 Mustang GT is clearly not a “sports car”. Pony car or sports coupe, yes. Sports car? No.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          You’d e right in 2016, but in 2001 it was. And that’s my point, what was clearly a sports car not too long ago has long since been surpassed by even practical family cars. The bar has been raised. My former 2001 Mustang GT would have performed comparably to a 1980 Ferrari 308, which is clearly a sports car by any definition.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      @ Flipper – The Viper like the Corvette stretch the boundary of sports car. They really are in the “super car” category if you accept the label.

      Speaking of –

      I remember rags pushing for the Hyper car label to differentiate cars like the Veyron, 918 and various Koenigseggs which had were handily beating the performance or super cars like the F40 and 959 and so on from before.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Aren’t the Camaro and Challenger coupe versions of various sedans?

    • 0 avatar
      soberD

      I have a challenger RT and it drives like a big sporty sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Sorta, I’m not sure how bespoke the Camaro is but the Challenger from what I understand is only partially based on the 300 and Charger with a lot of proprietary sheet metal to the Challenger. I can’t remember the percentage but the Challenger really isn’t a gussied up Charger on a short wheelbase.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yeah , the tiny back seat wouldn’t compare to the 81 Monte we had. The car is a blast to drive, and very easily maneuverable in the urban environment that I live in. But still, its no sports car

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I agree with you. The Mustang is a personal luxury coupe, emphasis on the “personal”. The back seat isn’t very useful without the seats pushed up a bit. But then the cars from the 70s were better for much more than kids either.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Wow back in the 70s, “Datsun” was selling 50,000 240Zs per year….

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    This has no other reason EXCEPT people are different today.
    And b that, I mean YOUNG people.
    Hardly any young men buy the sports cars we lusted for our entire youth.
    We lived cars.
    No today.
    Today very few kids can even tell you what car it is and/or who made it by lookin a it.
    I wager few would even know about the differences of Ford or Chevy.

    Most couldn’t tell you how OR know you have to check the oil…let alone change it.

    Driving around with my son last year, an Industrial Design major and having a masters in game development…he was totally uncaring of the cars we were lookin at on the highway.

    To him…its all boring…they all looked exactly alike. He frustratingly said he couldn’t tell the difference in an one of them…they all looked like copies of each other.

    Blame it on the government regulations.
    Blame it on the smart cell phone.
    Blame it on Facebook.

    Young people today have zip care and are emotional free of involvement with the vehicles they commute with.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …that generalisation doesn’t hold strictly true: there is still a substantial subculture of young people into cars, the main difference is that automotive enthusiasm is no longer a ‘prime time’ focus of youth culture, but instead akin to something like interest in scale models or roleplaying games thirty tears ago…

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        No.
        Nuthin.
        This is as good, or bad, as it gets.
        Sorry.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Look.
        Don’t wanna get nitpicky here.
        But that “substantial” thing is just like when I am watching news and the word “many” is usd.
        OK.
        So don’t take my word for it.
        But then somebody else here explain why young not only don’t buy sports cars..they don’t buy new cars.
        You think its me…as I am just negative trash, as Pch1 seems to enjoy trolling?
        Then get off all your collective butts and google it yourselves.
        Over and over, reports are out about this same line of reasoning.
        You can show all the case exceptions…but IT IS THE TRUTH as a whole.

        Here…I will help you out a little

        http://www.livablecities.org/blog/why-arent-young-people-buying-cars

        http://www.motortrend.com/news/why-young-people-are-driving-less/

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/05/young-americans-are-abandoning-car-ownership-and-driving.html

        Pch1
        JesusHchrist!
        …get ahold of yourself and less of yourself righteous leftist ranting hate.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          So your son knows nothing of cars. I know several auto mechanics in their 20s.

          So there, on balance, our worthless anecdotes mean that some people in their 20s know and like cars, and some don’t, same as it ever was. I will say I know fewer who can actually afford what they want, now.

          You’ve linked to some pap that basically says that young people tend to live in cities and don’t have much money, and somehow this brought you to a conclusion that they don’t buy cars because they don’t care about them and look my son doesn’t care so it must be true.

          The inanity of “Millenials Hate Cars” articles usually make them difficult to take at face value, but I guess one way to make it easier is to completely ignore their meaning and substitute your own.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          My 14 year old is into cars & trucks but my 12 year old doesn’t care. That isn’t because I chose to drag just one of them to car shows or into the garage.

          Our youth have different things to focus upon. As a kid our house phone served as my dad’s business line. If I wanted to talk to or see my friends I had to walk or bike. Once I turned 16 I drove.
          The youth of today have cell phones, text, facebook and a multitude of other methods to stay connected. Cars are no longer needed to interact with others or to explore the world.
          Times change.

          Add to that the fact that up coming generations are most likely going to have a lower standard of living than what we enjoyed.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      With all due respect, as a twenty-something, I disagree with both of you. Tons of us are still interested in cars; we just aren’t all able to afford new ones that best express that interest. Among my circle, only I and a few other people have cars newer than 2005. The others are driving their high-school hand-me-downs, or souped-up 90s cars (like my friend who has a 240SX that never seems to be in one piece because it’s always being modified).

      It really is the economy.

      I guess I’m happy my friends aren’t all willing to assume copious amounts of debt to get new cars they can’t afford or aren’t ready for. But the days of an entry-level factory-worker or fast-food clerk being able to afford a brand-new Mustang or whatever with no parental help…are long over.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Not to mention the insurance, Kyree. Insurance companies were another nail in the coffin of the muscle car era. It simply costs too much to pay the note, and the insurance to keep it on the road.

        Anything with 2 doors or an interesting engine falls victim to this. When I was young, in the military, and with a whole paycheck of disposable income, I was interested in buying a late-model Z28. The monthly insurance was equal to the payment. Too much for me, so I settled on something far more boring.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Kyree…
        with all due respect right back…nobody was poorer than we were.
        The entire neighborhood was poor.
        But if you didn’t get one new…you built the damned things.
        Yet everybody tried to get souped up cars.
        From GTOs to MGs to Triumphs…they all were lusted after.
        And please…you are trying to tell me kids cannot afford Miatas today?

        Where ARE all those sports cars? Where is the SS, the Firebirds, the Barracudas, the MGs, the 124 s Spiders…OMG!. The list is endless where today there is but a handful.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “But if you didn’t get one new…you built the damned things.”

          It wasn’t too hard to find a bunch of parts cars and cobble together something that ran.

          Can you do that with today’s crop of vehicles?
          It isn’t as easy or as cheep.

          The cars I see wrenched on by today’s kids tend to be old pickups or econobox Japanese cars. That is what I see in the school yard and that is what my son tells me about. The “rich kids” have the new’er’ rides.

    • 0 avatar
      A Caving Ape

      Get a grip, man. More young people than ever are into cars. This idea came into being during the 2008-2012 years, because we were all too broke to buy the cars we wanted. Here’s an anecdote for you: me and three of my friends just bought new (to us) cars within a two month period.

      Friend 1 (me): Crapped-out 2003 A4 -> Fiesta ST
      Friend 2: 05 Civic -> Golf R
      Friend 3: 01 Montero -> 2012 C300
      Friend 4: No car -> Super Clean 3000GT VR4

      Because we all finally have half decent careers, five long years after graduation. That’s what you call “pent-up demand.”

      Just because your son doesn’t share your hobbies, doesn’t mean the hobbies are any less popular.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Although living out here in “rural America” (as JB might say) I do see a fairly high number of 16 to 25 year olds who either don’t drive or don’t have access to a vehicle on a regular basis. Even some who have steady jobs and expect a family member to drive them to and from work or the local branch of the state college.

        Although I don’t have frame of reference to say whether this is a new phenomenon. My peers and I all had licenses at 16.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        TT, I’m an obdurate old fart, too, but at least I don’t blame the kids. The economy has been inverted, not the kids.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Aside from perpetually whining about everyone else and everything and anything, do you have anything to offer this website or the rest of the world?

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        “My son doesn’t care about cars and it’s the government’s fault.”

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          This is insanity.

          But it is typical of the insane argument here.

          I was using my son as an example. If you think I needed to provide thousands to make fact, you are more trolling than I imagined. You list a few exceptions and try to pass that off as real measurable data.

          LOOK AT THE FACTS.
          The data is in the REAL WORLD SALES.
          Forget about my kid.
          Look at the friggin facts.
          There were lots of sports cars and convertibles at one time. Everybody had hot cars or wanted one. I f you didn’t buy one…you customized one.
          Nobody customizes cars anymore.
          Nobody.
          The FACT is…they are gone.
          Why…if your silly “look out the window research” for data meant anything?
          If you think there is the same passion for sports cars, hell, cars as a whole, as when I was a kid, then you are delusional.
          But then again, I think all young liberals are.
          There is a reason you are liberal when you are young n dumb…but once your brain develops, you become conservative.

          But then again…why in hell am I arguing about the passion of the old days with knuckleheads that were not there so understand nothing of which I speak. This would be like trying to explain the passion of rock n roll or beatlemania and the British Invasion against American Idle and The Voice to you.
          The passion of the fifties and sixties cannot be fathomed by those who never experienced it.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “The passion of the fifties and sixties cannot be fathomed by those who never experienced it.”

            TT, I’m an obdurate old fart, too, but at least I don’t blame the kids. The economy has been inverted, not the kids.

            Wait… that sounds familiar….

            Effing lapses…

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Kenmore
            Don’t know how old you are…but if you are taking the position kids today have the same passion for and lust for sports cars as we did in the fifties and sixtoies, you are way off.

            Not even close.

            Its not good or bad.
            It just is.

            They have other passions. Other drives. The world changes as to tase and cultural wants. But that only make more sense as to why the convertible has disappeared. It doesn’t prove me wrong.

            And please try to leave out words like “obdurate”.
            You’re killin me, Kenmore!

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “You’re killin me!”

            Not as fast as other things.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “There is a reason you are liberal when you are young n dumb…but once your brain develops, you become conservative.”

            I’ve heard that one a million times.

            I went the other way.

            It was decision that came form my heart. I could not harden it to what I saw around me.

            “If you think there is the same passion for sports cars, hell, cars as a whole, as when I was a kid, then you are delusional.”

            Um, does that really matter?

            Part of that passion you talk about comes from an era when there was infinite hope for the future and seemingly endless possibilities.

            NOW?

            People fear too many things and have seen possibilities narrow down to a select few.

            Times change.

            We live in a different world today.

            My youngest son doesn’t care for cars of any kind.

            SO WHAT?

            He can sing at the front of an auditorium and make the audience go silent and bring a tear to one’s eye.

            THAT is passion.

          • 0 avatar
            thattruthguy

            New convertibles died in 1970. Before 1970, virtually all American car models came in a convertible version (Ford, Plymouth, and Chevy didn’t offer convertible compacts, but had same size ponycars). People stopped buying them in any significant number. Thus, no more used convertibles. That’s been nearly 50 years.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Plus, as the rats pack ever more tightly together and become correspondingly more violent a dropped topped just makes you the easiest victim on the road.

            At least a motorcycle can get away more quickly.

          • 0 avatar
            thattruthguy

            Convertibles sales became the inverse of A/C. A/C take rate increased ten percent per year in the second half of the Sixties, and became de facto standard on anything more expensive than a six-cylinder compact. For someone short of a full lux buyer, it usually was a question of taking one or the other.

            Man, my folks’ black-on-black Satellite was a scorcher without A/C. So hot, we had to roll down the windows and let it air out in the parking lot before driving home. Plenty of chrome buttons on the seats, too. Yikes.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Now *there’s* the passion TT’s talkin’ about!

            The mindless rage from sticky clothes, stinky people and burning hot metal!

            Good Old Days!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      When have “kids” (with rare exceptions) ever been able to afford new and/or fast cars? Such things have always been largely the province of the middle aged.

      I am by no mean exceptional, and I did not buy my first new car until I was 31, and my first more than modestly fast car until I was 46. Despite being a raging car nut since the age of roughly 2.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So can we expect to see “How Crossover Are Your Cars?” that way we can see who is most dependent on CUVs for sales volume?

    Then “How BOF Are Your Vehicles?” to let us know how dependent on trucks and true SUVs a given automaker is?

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    “to reach a conclusion, we also tossed out sales of crossovers, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks.”
    -Why? And what are the results had you not excluded those vehicles?

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Set the ground rules different and write a completely different conclusion. For example, why does adding two doors to the mostly identical coupe disallow all those CARS?

  • avatar
    Fordson

    This is a pointless exercise. So a V6 Challenger would be on the list but an STI or a Focus RS would not be?

    Stupid.

  • avatar
    Czilla9000

    I’m a millennial.

    I bought a 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport, with manual transmission, in January. I learned to drive manual just so I could drive this car.

    It’s my only car.

    I paid Camry money for it, $25,000, but my millennial coworkers assume I must have spent mad money on it because it’s a sports car. There is a perception among millennials that sports cars are expensive. But yet I spent the same amount of money as they did on their crossovers and Camrys.

    I tell them I really don’t need the utility of a crossover or Camry – the Miata is spacious enough for my needs – and is more fun for the same coin.

    One thing that Mazda could do to combat the “sports cars are expensive” meme is build more of the Sport-trim Miata and advertise its price. It’s only 15% of production, but yet is $5,000 less than the other variants. It’s also better looking as it doesn’t have the dumb shark fin.

    The funny thing is that my insurance WENT DOWN after buying the Miata….a freakin sports car and I’m a male in my 20’s. $62 per month is my payment, which includes $300,000 in liability coverage. My prior car was a Nissan LEAF lease. That was $86 a month.

    I also pay $150 a year for a $1 million umbrella. That did not change going from the LEAF to the Miata.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    One; the unattached male who bought a Mustang or Trans Am in the 1970s now goes directly to the Truck Store. Almost every time I drive the Fbody some douche in a GMT800 Brodozer with exhaust and Tapout stickers tries to race me. The arms race isn’t who has the faster car, but who’s got the loudest and tallest truck.

    Unlike the males of the 70s who struggled to get their surprise baby out of the back seats of their cars, Brodozer owners have a better transition to fatherhood then bachelors of yore.

    Two; the performance of modern sports cars is so awesome it’s to the point of practical irrelevance. My Fbody was made 14 years ago, and stock it makes more then enough power to get you in trouble. It’s modern equivalent sold today would embarrass a C5 Z06- which is hardly a slow car.

    A modern day sports car buyer- hell even a shopper of used ones made in the last 20 years- faces the reality of spending extra for performance they can’t use. 400,500 HP – what’s the point when the highest speed limit nationally is 80MPH? There’s a highway on ramp where if I go WOT in the Fbody I’ll be at 95 MPH by the end of it. To merge with traffic safely I have to ** slow down.**

    Most folks of practical thought aren’t keen on spending 400+ per month driving an uncomfortable vehicle they can’t legally or safely drive past 6/10ths of what it’s capable of. Add in the fact that even minivans have 250HP motors, and a sports car becomes a very impractical toy.

    • 0 avatar
      Counterpoint

      Besides the legal speed limit is the traffic speed limit. Here in California, even if you have 500 HP you can’t drive any faster than the Prius hogging the road in front of you. Our roads have reached the saturation point and traffic congestion is constant even outside of “rush hour”. So unless you’re going to track it, or just want to look stylish, a sports car has become a completely pointless waste of money.

      • 0 avatar
        Paragon

        And, am also in agreement with Counterpoint in regards to traffic congestion. The population everywhere has grown considerably since I was a young driver. Seems like there’s few if any places left where you can just “take it out and see what it will do.” And, even if you do find such a place, if someone comes “out of nowhere” when you are accelerating before ever thinking of applying the brakes, then it’s all over for you and/or the other person. I actually know someone who killed himself and someone else in just that kind of scenario. Please don’t ever think about doing that. He was a super great guy with many friends as well as family that loved him.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      LS1, you make some very good points, with which I agree. What’s the real point of extra-high horsepower cars or other types of vehicles? Especially in light of the fact that there’s few if any good places to “exercise” them. Since you can rarely, if ever, come close to using more than a fraction of the available horsepower, I have a different explanation for the ever-increasing horsepower wars. One-upmanship, or bragging rights. Because why pay for something you’re never gonna really use? And, because if you “drive it like you stole it,” you’re likely to kill yourself and/or others, unless you have a relatively modestly horsepowered vehicle. Of course, I do subscribe to the notion that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast rather than drive a fast car slow; because what fun is there driving a fast car slow?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I sold my G8 GXP because I had an opportunity to drive it faster than an Accord once a year at most. Why put up with the interior rattles, chintzy materials, and lack of features if I can’t ever experience the car’s strengths?

        Honestly at this point I care more about a lot of other things than I do about power or ultimate grip. The only part of a sports car that still really speaks to me is good communication with the driver through the tires.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Paragon, I agree with you and I share your sense of loss due to a senseless car crash which took my 16 year old cousin out last year. 101 mph in a Maxima.

        I know a Focus or Civic could go 101 mph, but they’d take a hell of a lot longer to get there. If I am ever blessed with children, rest assured, their first car will be slow and boring.

        • 0 avatar
          Paragon

          John, so sorry to hear of the loss of your cousin. It really is tragic. My example was actually a relative of mine, though not a sibling nor a cousin. The car was a Z-28 and he was into the triple digits with it.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    It’s not just the economy, and I don’t think it’s just a move to trucks. I still meet a lot of kids who are interested in cars but they seem to have a lot of other interests as well.

    It used to be fairly normal for a young guy to spend basically ALL his money on his car, now they take a car that’s a little cheaper, get a better internet plan, maybe a mountain bike or some skis, etc.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Evolution.
    First came the “hot rod”, then the sports car (MGA, MGB, TRiumph, Z car) then the sporty car (Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, Cougar) then came the over powered sedan, then the Truck/SUV fad. It’s just evolution. Yes, gas prices, insurance prices, markedly improved handling of mainstream vehicles, economic downturn, video games and whatever all are/were evolutionary pressures. But in the end styles and tastes evolve.
    P.S. Mazda Miata notwithstanding, it’s never going back to the old days of Triumph Spitfires with tiny car, tiny engine and top down driving wearing those stupid caps with buckles on the back, and your leather driving gloves.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Sorry, no. Challenger is *not* a sports car. Not by any reasonable definition. Personal luxury coupe? sure. Muscle car? In some versions. Desirable? Certainly. But not a sports car.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Yeah, and what’s with these people out there in 5 passenger cars with ONE PERSON IN IT? And that huge trunk! Got lots of air to haul around I guess, with that V-6 Camry. A V-6! Can you believe it? What’s he need that for, OBVIOUSLY compensating for *something* haha. The nerve of someone who buys more than they need. We should judge them because we don’t like their choice of automobile.

      Back to MSNBC.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I would actually be more interested in a CUV version of this list (excluding pickups and BOF SUVs from the calculation). It would tell me which automakers to buy stock in.

  • avatar
    Chan

    1) New car prices are outpacing income growth, especially in the premium segment. This is caused by both car prices and lack of middle class economic growth.

    2) Sports sedans are what people really wanted, and now they offer better relative performance over normal cars than did the dedicated sports cars of the 80s and early 90s.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      1. Cars are actually more afforable. Income grew 5.2% last year, while auto prices have been ~2%. And keep in mind that today’s cars are larger, faster, more fuel efficient and safer than yesterday’s.

      2. Sedan sales are down, especially sport sedans like BMWs.

      • 0 avatar
        AKADriver

        That’s really the stranger thing. (Cue the music.)

        Sports cars and coupes have waxed and waned over the years. It was unimaginable in the late ’70s that we’d ever have 400hp muscle cars again, much less 707hp. Japanese coupes died off in the ’90s only to see a nice little resurgence.

        But it’s weird to see people abandon sedans. JB once wrote that Americans have always gravitated to sedans that are about 16 feet long as the default choice for decades, but that’s finally shifting in a big way.

      • 0 avatar
        Chan

        Are there any stats that show how that income growth is distributed?

        I’m not saying that I don’t believe your number, but for example my income didn’t grow 5% last year. That doesn’t mean there was no 5% income growth, but I’m suspecting that the growth is disproportionately concentrated at the top.

        Another thing that happens is that as car prices bloat, car sizes also bloat and you get the amazing phenomenon of being able to buy a Honda Civic that is as large as and much better engineered and equipped than an Accord of 10 years ago, for less money.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      Chan, I highly agree with you on point #2. As regards the reference to the middle class in point #1, I have some information from another site which is rarely mentioned. Our country not too many years ago used to be primarily middle-class folks, with a rather small amount of wealthy people and a rather small amount of really poor people. In more recent years the middle class has shrunk considerably. As a result of a shrinking jobs market, where many jobs have been out-sourced, there are far more unemployed people than in the past. And, many in the middle class are doing only slightly better than the so-called working poor. And, the disparity between the middle class and the wealthy elites is far greater now than about 100 years ago when people made a big deal about the so-called Robber Barons. People today are not as upset about being exploited by the ultra-wealthy.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Sports cars are too friendly. GTs and sedans convey the proper amount of contempt.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    What about my Hyundai Genesis Coupe? 348 hp, 295 lb/ft of torque, six-speed manual. Not a sports car? My cursory search for sales figures in Canada look about the same as Toyota… ~1% or so, and .7% for the US but at least it’s not zero.

  • avatar

    Many kids that like sporty cars find them out of reach financially. I just did a quick Google of a base 69 Mustang ($2,630) & a base 2016 (24,145). The price of the ’69 in adjusted dollars is $17,556. That’s over a $6,500 increase in the cost of an equivalent base stripper. Yes, I know the ’16 will last twice as long & has a load of equipment the ’69 doesn’t have, but it’s the cheapest Mustang you can buy. The point is cars are a lot more expensive today than they were in the ’60’s & ’70’s & put them out of reach to a lot of young drivers.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    Interesting topic..

    Nissan should be rewarded for an effort to produce 2 pure, purposefull sports-cars (as an only japanesse automaker! .. and they all used to have more sporty machines in the past..)..

    Chevy duo is more important than Dogde’s duo (beacuse of Vette’s popularity and sales numbers .. ) .. but Ford “sporty ambition” is growing(Fiesta ST, Focus RS, Mustang and new GT..)

    If you would “open” that definition a little bit .. all bunch of AMG- and M- coupes could be included..(..I think they are “sporty enough”..>)

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Isn’t the Camaro a coupe version of the Cadillac CTS?

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I’ve heard that a sports car has to have a manual transmission (okay, transaxle). This would exclude anything currently made by Ferrari, but would include the Buick Regal.

    I have also heard that a sports car cannot have a back seat. This would exclude the Porsche 911 (or the late 944, 924 or 928), but include the panel delivery version of the late, unlamented Chevrolet HHR.

    And a sports car should only have two doors. Include the rental-car variants of the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang; exclude the GTI, WRX and Evo.

    In other words, it’s all but impossible to define what is and what is not a sports car. And all but pointless to try.

  • avatar

    The Challenger is not even close to being a sports car.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • Vulpine: The largest engine I ever owned with the 350c.i.d. Rocket 350 in my 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. After...
  • Rocket: No sympathy here. Who’s next?
  • amwhalbi: I was in Europe for river cruises in both 2018 and 2019, which included some day bus trips to smaller...
  • dwford: Cadillac’s old sales model: make ugly, half baked models and put insane MSRPs on them, then discount...
  • ajla: I had to get my pads/rotors replaced under warranty. From what I can tell I got the same pads as original. I...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber