By on September 7, 2016

2016 Subaru Legacy 3.6R LimitedThere will always be a place in the American market for the conventional midsize sedan.

Despite harsh declines in recent months, consumers are still on track to register more than 2 million midsize cars in calendar year 2016. In fact, a handful of nameplates — Accord, Legacy, Malibu — are attracting more buyers this year than they did in the first two-thirds of 2015.

But U.S. sales of midsize cars are now falling with a special kind of speed, plunging 26 percent in August, a loss of nearly 58,000 sales over the span of just one month.

This is not the kind of environment that supports a dozen candidates. TTAC’s certainty that some intermediate family sedans will die is based not on anonymous sources or fuzzy feelings, but rather on history.

What’s past is prologue.

Look around to see if any automaker which isn’t currently competing in the midsize market is about to jump into the pool.

And keep looking.

Not only are we failing to see new ground broken by midsize sedan infiltrators, the changes we do see in the segment only reflect departures.

Pontiac G6, Suzuki Kizashi, Mitsubishi Galant? Long gone.

Dodge Avenger? Sales rose to a seven-year high in 2012; the last Avengers were sold last December. The Avenger departed because Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ product plans called for one entry in the midsize category.

Yet that entry, the Chrysler 200, is dying now, as well. TTAC midsize car sales chart August 2016 YTDWhich cars are next? There are certainly some viable candidates for extinction, a fact made all the clearer by disastrous August sales results. With but one meaningful exception, the whole midsize sector cratered in August.

Year-over-year losses of more than 30 percent were reported by the Chrysler 200, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, and Hyundai Sonata. Combined, those five nameplates attracted 67,266 buyers in August 2016, down 38 percent from 108,933 sales in August 2015. While the degree to which those cars declined in August was especially harsh, the 200, Altima, Fusion, and Optima were already selling less often this year than last.

Segment leaders were not immune from consumers’ decreased interest in midsize cars. The second-ranked Honda Accord fell 26 percent compared with August 2015; 41 percent compared with the Accord’s best-ever monthly result in August 2014.

The Toyota Camry, America’s best-selling car, didn’t suffer nearly as sharp a decline as most rivals, but the 13-percent year-over-year drop still translated to a loss of more than 4,700 sales. August was the seventh consecutive month of Camry decline. August was the first month in Toyota’s U.S. history in which the RAV4 outsold the Camry.

Amidst the turmoil afflicting the bulk of the midsize sector, Subaru reported an all-time record high in Legacy sales. Along with records from the Forester and Outback, Subaru’s two top-selling models, Subaru reported an all-time brand-wide record with more than 60,000 sales in August 2016. The Legacy nevertheless earned only 3.5 percent of the midsize market, though that’s a big leap from the 1.9 percent Subaru achieved in August 2015. 2016 Mazda6, Image: Mazda USAA 25-percent drop in Mazda 6 sales drove the athletic but seemingly undesirable midsize Mazda below 5,000 monthly sales for the 11th time in the last 12 months. Sales of the Mazda6 have decreased in 10 consecutive months, falling 23 percent during that stretch.

Chevrolet stands at the ready with a far more competitive Malibu in 2016, but after first-half volume jumped 25 percent thanks to six consecutive year-over-year increases, the Malibu was struck by the same illness that had already sent so many of its rivals to bed. Summer sales across July and August tumbled 15 percent.

With so many noteworthy midsize failures in August, the segment ended up as a thorn in the side for the industry as a whole. U.S. auto sales fell 3.5 percent in August, a loss of roughly 55,000 sales. Remove the midsize car category from the equation and the industry actually expanded, albeit by a modest 0.2 percent.

The yuuuuge decrease in midsize car volume was by no means matched in other key sectors of the mainstream passenger car sector. Compact cars were down by only 3 percent; subcompact car volume increased 4 percent.

[Image: Subaru; Chart: © TTAC]

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.

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90 Comments on “Midsize Sedan Death Watch #3: August 2016 Midsize Sales Plunge 26%...”


  • avatar
    VW16v

    Purchasing or leasing a sedan is not the norm anymore. I’ve only known one person purchase a sedan in the past 3-4 years. And that was my father in-law purchasing a Versa due to being on a fixed budget.

    For a lot of people a sedan is just a sedan and it does not matter the price or make.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      It makes more sense with more and more people being in pickup/CUV combo families.

      I don’t haul anything or need it for work, so we manage to avoid the pickup part of that, but the wife is in a CUV to move kids and their stuff around. My commuter right now is a compact hatch; the next one will be a midsize sedan though. I drive far enough that the mileage improvement over a compact CUV makes a difference, and I need the rear seat space to hold car seats in a pinch.

      Definitely agree on your last line though. They’re all reliable enough and have roughly the same price/power/mileage/feature points. I’ll buy based on seat comfort and quiet over most anything else.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, I would say there are fewer pickup + something else families, and I think that is precisely why CUVs are becoming the norm. People often use to pair two types of cars with specialized abilities together, i.e. pickup and sedan. One to carry to the people on trips, one to carry the stuff for household duties. SUVs, and now CUVs, have introduced the concept of having one thing that does all of those things ‘well enough.’ Lots of us car nerds look at a CUV from a glass-half-empty perspective, as in, ‘they aren’t great at anything’ but the buying public seems to see a glass-half-full. They see one car that does most things almost as well as their old fleet did, but in one package. Which means they can get nicer variants with more options more frequently than they could before, which is an easy sale for us North Americans.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    People are moving to a one-vehicle-for-all status, and that means CUVs.

    Count me in as one who prefers a car or truck-based SUV instead, but they just work for a lot of families.

    If anything, the traditional family sedan is left to be used infrequently, so is more likely to be older and/or if purchased recently, bought used.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This kills mean, because the status of such a thing is somewhere between “I’m a tool” and “I’m a prole”. Maybe this wasn’t the case when the RX300 first came out but its the case in 2016.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      While raising a family, I owned a few mini-vans and SUVs… Some good, some not so good. The kids are now adults, some with their own children and I am pleased to have been back in the market for a good-sized sedan. I bought a 2013 MB E350 BlueTec – my first diesel – three years ago and have been very pleased with its level of comfort, performance and fuel economy.

      But I still appreciate the comfortable long distance trips we took in our ’87 Dodge Caravan… 2.6L 4 cylinder, a van that could barely get out of its own way. Level ground (once up to speed) was no problem, but travel in the Sierras was an Adventure!

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      When you look at what the average buyer wants/needs, they just make sense.

      Storage capacity – check
      Visibility – check
      Head room – check
      Easy ingress/egress – check
      Ease of strapping kids into a car seat if needed – check
      AWD availability – check
      Good enough mileage – check, for the most part

      Most modern sedans are failing or at least inferior on points 2-6, which are things that you deal with every day. The fact that they share engines with most midsizers and weigh about the same means they’re roughly as capable in a straight line too, which is the only performance metric most people care about.

      Can a truck based SUV do more? Yeah, if you need real 4×4 or towing capacity. And if you’re willing to deal with the loss of functional interior space to make room for a longitudinal powertrain and beefed up rear end. Most people never will though, and in that regard a CUV just makes more sense.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        With the exception of AWD, a 1973 Dodge Dart fits, but that’s full size today. The problem is every maker is building low, 4-door coupes with lousy visibility, inadequate rear headroom, uncomfortable middle rear seating, and mail slot trunk lids on too-tiny trunks.

        SUVs/CUVs have better visibilty (or did, until the upswept rear design took hold), the driver sits higher, there’s more headroom in back, and more storage/trunk space with bigger rear openings. Give automakers time, they’ll lower seating and headroom and reduce visibility, turning the SUV/CUV into a sporty, low-slung, 4-door coupe-wagon.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    They still move a ton of them but it seems they may be come like the minivan market a few strong remain and the small players drop out, they are not in fashion but when I am looking to replace my TDI wagon it will be with a wagon or a sedan, no CUVs for me.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    The downward trend is perfectly logical. I have two company issued Equinox and one Co. issued Impala (W-body). The AWD Equinox with the hatchback was way more useful. To the point made above, the CUV can really allow for a one car family if job/public transport exist.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I don’t see any deathwatch here.

    Camry and [especially] Altima are crappy cars that would die long time ago but are on life support by nasty intensives. Kia watered down Optima, Chrysler 200 is just pathetic car, and Passat is suffering from dieselgate fallout. Fusion was at the end of its cycle so it is normal to sell a bit less.

    Really, there is no pathology here. As soon as gas will climb up, cars will go back to normal.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      But crossovers are getting decent gas mileage now. It’s close enough that most people will stick with a CUV getting slightly lower mileage for the benefit of increased practicality. It’s not like the last gas spike, where people were looking to dump their old BOF SUVs that got truck-like gas mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Well- yea, crossovers do get decent mileage. But in real world Accord can get 40mpg hwy and CRV – only 33 – yea, it is decent but not great. When gas hits hard, so the number of new CUVs and SUVs will fall

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          In the real world 7mpg doesn’t matter all that much when you’re over 30mpg to begin with though. Yeah, it’s roughly 20% better, but that’s 20% of something that’s basically sipping fuel already.

          If we used the consumption per distance measurements like they do in Europe rather than MPG, it would look much less pronounced on paper.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Except for the hypermilers, I think most people are going to see low-30’s mpg as “good enough”. That’s when they can start to prioritize other things, like the practicality of a hatch (without the stigma of a hatchback), and the general status that comes with owning an SUV, even though it’s really a CUV, but that doesn’t matter because most buyers aren’t aware of the distinction anyway.

            Nearly all status buyers that I know are women, and every single one of them wants a crossover, most without knowing why.

      • 0 avatar
        Whatnext

        I guess we’ll find out how accurate that thesis is when gas prices start going up again.

    • 0 avatar
      mtmmo

      Slavuta: +1 and the economy is weak thus driving overall vehicle sales down.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        The economy is weak in BreitbartDrudgelandia, but not in reality. Car sales have been at record levels. Nasdaq set a new record yesterday. The economy is at full employment, debt levels are down and inflation is minimal.

        Excellent time for makers to start a new business. Terrible time for whiners.

        • 0 avatar
          mtmmo

          Yes and Hillary is a model of health and we all know the Nasdaq is THE benchmark for a healthy economy. Just ignore that rich people are significantly wealthier and poor people are significantly more destitute. But the Nasdaq is doing great!

          Reality:
          Auto sales – Down
          New hiring – Down
          National Debt – Up

          Not even Common Core math can save you.

          • 0 avatar

            I would say the economy is average. We are down 3.3 % on auto sales from a record year. Hiring is an issue and workforce participation are bad. At this point it seems to be bipartisan belief that National debt doesn’t matter so i would stop counting it. Wall street is still doing well and the wealthy as a group are expanding and the very top still getting silly rich.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            I’m old enough to remember when an uptick on Wall St. was the sign of a growing economy, mtmmo!

            Now it’s just more proof of the reign of President G0ldman Sachs…

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Sorry VoGo, even NPR knows something is up – search NPR why are men leaving the workforce. Article came out yesterday.

          The Washington Post has had an ongoing series of articles discussing why there are fewer companies being started and why those that do start are failing at a higher rate.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Depression is a powerful force in many people’s lives, and I would urge anyone feeling depressed to seek help. One symptom is seeing the negative in everything.

            If you look at today’s US economy – at full employment, with minimal inflation, stable growth, stock market at record highs, no war – these are very good times by any objective measure.

            Having a strong economy doesn’t mean that everyone eats filet mignon every night. It means there are good opportunities for folks who are willing to work hard.

            Maybe expectations are off kilter?

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Don’t bother, vogo is a New Apparatchik.

    • 0 avatar
      SD 328I

      Unlikely. People aren’t shocked by high gas prices like they were back in the late 2000s, which also included a “Great Recession”.

      In fact, truck based SUVs and Trucks were rising in sales even when gas prices were much higher than they are now.

      And as mentioned, we now live in a world where full size trucks are getting mid-20s mpgs (or 29 mpg for diesel Rams) and crossovers at similar mpg to cars.

      When gas prices go up, don’t expect crossover sales to drop.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        It’s no death-watch more of a consolidation-watch. The segment is turning into an oligarchic monopoly, the top 5-6 have the Lion’s share and the others have to either fight over scraps or cut their losses.

        As for gas millage- sure a midsize sedan can get 40mpg- on a flat highway with no wind, without having to deal with idiots who pass you and slow down in front of you. In realistic conditions (especially city), the difference is minimal.

  • avatar
    mikeyboy74

    Rented an Altima lately, or maybe a Chysler 200? Very forgettable vehicles, pretty as the Chrysler happens to be. For this sort of thing, the Camry does it better.

    In the case of Mazda6, there’s no optional engine, which if nothing else, might draw people to the showroom in the first place. But I would get one.

    Accord? If you want a 4-cyl automatic, you’re now stuck with a CVT.

    Sonata/Optima? These are the new 2001 Taurus/Sable from what I can tell.

    Fusion? Pretty but tired, and nothing special to drive.

    Passat? Reeling from the VW scandal, and the performance models increase the price too much, not to mention VW’s not the most reliable.

    Malibu? Gorgeous, but not everyone wants a small 4-cyl turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      “Passat? Reeling from the VW scandal, and the performance models increase the price too much, not to mention VW’s not the most reliable.”

      That is actually fixed on the 2017 models. For the 2016 the only model with a V6 had a $38k MSRP. On the 2017 you can spec a Passat SE V6 w/Tech Package for $29,295 MSRP, a reasonable $1300 bump over the equivalent 4-cylinder model. Though in the SEL V6 trim there is an inexplicable $3000 price hike over the 4-cylinder equivalent.

    • 0 avatar
      65corvair

      The Accord is available with a 6 speed manual. Get one while you can.

      My wife has a CR-V with the CVT. Nicest auto I’ve ever driven. Nicer than six auto gears.

    • 0 avatar

      What exactly is wrong with Accord CVT? you can say that on the Altima’s CVT, not the Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      The MSRP on the passat is a non-issue. Dealers are slashing prices to move metal in response to the scandal. Pricing with incentives around me can come as low as 25% off MSRP on most sedan models.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      A guy working with me, was looking for Acura, Infinity, Lexus. Ended up buying Mazda6. Just got it – 2 days ago.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I like the overall shape of the new Malibu, but this new “Premier” trim level has got to be trolling from the upper floors of the Ren Cen. First the design is terrible, it looks like a stick on dealer badge. I’ve seen a Malibu Premier and a Cruze Premier in the metal and my first thought was to try to figure out where “Premire” dealer group might be located. Is everything Chevy going to have a Premier trim? Sonic Premier, Silverado Premier, Camaro Premier? It’s 1978 all over again.

    Oh and the font being used on the trunk of the Malibu looks like they stole the graphic designer from “Transformers, Rise of the Machines”. I’d take all the badging off except the bow tie.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Didn’t we cover this topic yesterday and about 50 times before that?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    We haven’t had a deathwatch around here in a long time.

    The fading-away 200 obviously accounts for most of the sector loss; the others aren’t *terrible*, except for the Optima (to my surprise).

    One could argue that the mid-size sector is simply culling losers, and may regain stability once they’re gone. On the other hand, strong players in a shrinking segment still means the segment is shrinking.

    This is exactly what happened in the minivan market over the last decade.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The segment has surely peaked, but “death watch”? This is beginning to look like AutoBuzzfeed.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Just like the full size market got cannibalized by the mid size cars becoming larger and more feature rich, the midsize cars are being cannibalized by the compact cars, many of which offer midsize space. Why spend $35k on a loaded midsize when a loaded compact is $28, with all the same features?

    Add to that the coupe-like body styles that are robbing rear headroom, making trunk openings tiny, and reducing visibility all around, and the mid size sedans just aren’t making the case for themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You are forgetting one important fact and that is that compact car sales are down too. Yes not as much as mid-size this month but still down which means those mid size buyers are not switching to compact cars.

  • avatar
    Fred

    About a third of that 26% drop is from the failure of the Chrysler 200

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I much prefer a sedan for the long daily slog, and the occassional long distance/high speed driving. This based on fuel use, looks, handling. I guess I am a dying breed. The huge downside with any car now is the fact that the roads are littered with CUVs SUVs vans and trucks, so visibility gets worse every day.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      Solidarity, brother!

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      Yes, the irony is all those who bought a CUV because “it has great visibility” are going to find it impossible to the see through the wall of CUVs building around them.

      • 0 avatar
        SD 328I

        Height for visibility is probably some of the reason for CUV purchase, but ease of entry and exit is a big reason for it as well.

        Most low slung sedans are harder for older drivers to get into several times a day, a crossover which in many cases is just a high riding sedan, cures that problem for them.

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          I’ve seen people struggle to climb into SUV. Also coming down can be a problem as well.

          • 0 avatar
            SD 328I

            I thought we were talking about CUVs, not truck based SUVs.

            The slightly higher riding wagons that people call crossovers taking over sedans right?

            Height isn’t a problem on crossovers unless you are taking about dwarfs or little people.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            @SD 328I What ever you want to call them I don’t know, but I’ve seen people struggle to get in a RDX, which is about as midsize and less truck than many CUV

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Nothing a few more cheeseburgers won’t cure!

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            It’s the AWD raising ground clearance and the first step in and out. Eventually there will have to be vertical grab handles outside to pull yourself up, just like a Mack, White, or Freightliner. Then we can get the air horn!

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        “Visibility” is not just seeing over other cars. It’s also seeing over bushes, signs, utility boxes, etc., when pulling onto a road.

        But I think people are more influenced by the higher hip point than visibility. I am perpetually surprised how many people complain about getting in/out of regular cars.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    If a CUV is within 2-3k of it’s sedan brethren, and the perceived space/airiness/ride height/ease of loading hatch exceeds the sedan version, why not get the CUV. Mileage is no longer the night and day difference it once was.

    I’m not a CUV fan (I like my wagons without stilts), but I understand why so many people like ’em.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      “If a CUV is within 2-3k of it’s sedan brethren, and the perceived space/airiness/ride height/ease of loading hatch exceeds the sedan version, why not get the CUV.”

      For a lot of people that’s a logical argument. For the rest of us, the vehicle’s handling makes a big difference. Yes, my wife’s Edge has a fairly strong V6, room for 5 (or two car seats) enough storage space in the rear for all of our luggage on family trips, and the ability to fold down the rear seats for more serious hauling duty. But compared to a competent sedan it drives like a cow, just like every other CUV on the planet.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        That’s because the Edge sucks dynamically. One could drive a Camry and surmise that all sedans are terrible to drive. Something like a Mazda CX-anything, Audi Q5, BMW X3 etc have impressed some of the staunchest enthusiasts.

        • 0 avatar
          notwhoithink

          “Something like a Mazda CX-anything, Audi Q5, BMW X3 etc have impressed some of the staunchest enthusiasts.”

          Perhaps, but a taller vehicle = higher center of gravity = worse handling. There’s no getting around that, unless you’re going to strap a couple of Tesla battery packs to the bottom of the CUV to lower the CoG. You can’t cheat the laws of physics.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            A Q5 handles better than most midsize sedans. CoG is a factor but chassis tuning and tires are the heavy lifters in the context of sedans vs crossovers.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        “For the rest of us, the vehicle’s handling makes a big difference.”

        The “rest of us” consists of a few percent of the overall market.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I wish I could take more joy from sedans’ demise but the inexorable iron boot of CAFE is stomping “utility” vehicles lower, rounder and slanty-er with every model generation.

    Whatever becomes the most popular vehicle class also becomes the most beckoning target. Only the widespread adoption of EVs can kill that beast with irrelevance.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      EVs will take over when they’re mandated by law, directly or indirectly. It’s already starting with the half step hybrids. My neighbor was looking for a 2008-12 Fusion or MKZ, and found the nearest Lincoln dealer had one 2009 gas powered Fusion and six hybrids. It was similar for the MKZ models 2007-2012 in his price range, and the gas models were all four cylinder auto.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        By then the damage will have been done. CAFE will have foisted a mindset upon the general public that views the inevitable recumbent cars with video-only sightlines as the norm.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Deathwatch?

    Based on those figures above, the top five models alone account for ****1 million**** YTD sales.

    Yes, we know the car buying public is increasingly into CUVs. But a deathwatch for this segment?

    Really, Tim?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      “There will always be a place in the American market for the conventional midsize sedan.”

      There will not, however, always be a place for every current midsize car.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        “There will always be a place in the American market for the conventional midsize sedan.”

        Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, National, or Alamo. Take your pick.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        ““There will always be a place in the American market for the conventional midsize sedan.”

        There will not, however, always be a place for every current midsize car.”
        __________________________________________________
        The last sentence sounds like a better, more accurate headline than “midsize car deathwatch,” if you ask me. Just a suggestion from a guy with a journalism degree.

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        Well, Tim, that can be said of every segment, no?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Timothy Cain,
        I foresee the US car market becoming more like the Aussie and Canadian market. There are some trends the Canuckistanians and Aussies are in front of the US. I do believe both countries do have more liberal vehicle markets. Australia in particular. So, we are free to be how and want we want, the Canadians less so.

        I do believe it is bullsh!t this “American” ideal of a large, powerful and fast vehicle. Every person in the world wants a fast, powerful, large, vehicle.

        The US doesn’t have ownership of this belief.

        Then you have the “others” who just use a car as an appliance and the cheapest appliance money can buy, sort of, to a degree. The people who only view a car as a need to go to the shops (store), work and take the kids to their friends and sports.

        I’d say most of these people value versatility and price. This is why CUVs built on a smaller platform are selling. They are the “size” (capability wise) of a medium sedan and yet offer the ability to tote sh!t in the back with little hassle.

        The CUV is the ideal “car”.

        Why do you need a large or even medium CUV for most?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The mid-size and the large pickup segments are roughly equal in size. “Death watch” is hyperbolic, to be sure.

      Midsize cars use the same platforms as their crossover brethren, so the sedans are not likely to go away. But a few brands may stop offering them and they may become less of a bargain.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Currently driving a 08 CX9…I still love it and will drive til the wheels fall off however am I the only one who still desire a sedan. My goal in two years is to get a Cadenza/Impala/Avalon sized vehicle and if still avalible a used K900. I realize that I will be buying used no matter what since the CX9 was and will be the only new car I ever buy. I guess I wont be helping the sedan segment after all.
    For some reason I love sedan…I really love wagons but thats another story.
    I goto Carmax once or twice per month and test drive different things. Last on was a Q70, seems to be better than the criticism that it gets. I would consider those as well especially with the V8 that I drove.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    Reminds me of a local headline “We trapped mosquitoes that could carry Zika!!~”

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Oddly, many of the vehicles replacing the mid size sedans are actually built on a smaller platform.

    So, in effect cars are getting smaller. Use the RAV4 vs the Camry as an example. The RAV4 is based on a Corolla platform, this is a smaller platform than the Camry.

    The Highlander is based on a Camry platform, you’d expect the Highlander to be taking up the slack in those numbers.

    The same can be stated for midsize pickups sales. They are having a resurgence.

    Of course a CUV will struggle in the FE department when compared to a sedan of similar footprint.

    The population is moving to smaller vehicles, not much different than in the eighties when those little people mover van things and station wagons were relatively popular. Most of these “replacement” family hacks were in fact smaller than the vehicles they tended to replace.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Oddly, many of the vehicles replacing the mid size sedans are actually built on a smaller platform”

      The Camry fits four or five people comfortably; the RAV/4 fits the same amount of people more comfortably and has more room for their stuff while costing more or less the same.

      The Highlander maybe based on the Camry, but it seats seven and costs a lot more.

      What matters to people is
      a) does this fit me and my stuff
      b) not costing too much
      c) being easy to use

      The Camry hits b) and some of a) and c), the Highlander hits a) and some of c), the RAV hits all three.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        psarhjinian,
        I agree with your comment this is why CUVs are selling. Another thing is CUVs are measured differently by CAFE due to the fact a RAV4, believe it or not is considered a truck. So, FE can be slightly worse in the “Corolla truck” than a Corolla. I find this very amusing how the regulators bow down to the manufacturers.

        My comment was alluding to the fact we are moving towards smaller vehicles in size, not capability and versatility as your example highlighted.

        Here in Australia we have midsize truck (not a pickup) that is the size of a midsize pickup. It is in US speak a “cab over” we call them forward control. It is very good for city work. I can carry 1.8 tonnes or nearly 4 000lbs on a 10′ x 6′ tray (flatbed), more than a large handful of US HDs. It has a 2.9 litre turbo diesel and gets around 30mpg US. Many in business and even the building game buy them. They are exceptionally useful in tight places.

        This is not much different than a person buying a smaller yet more versatile and capable “car” ie, CUV.

  • avatar
    plee

    I think you all are overlooking one possibility as to why these numbers dropped. Closer examination of the numbers show that the numbers for those who do not do many daily rental sales did not show much drop if any. I suspect that thousands of 2017 rentals were put into service over the last 30-60 days and in August not so many. The auction where I work already has loads of 2016 rental turn backs going through. I wish it were possible to break this down, maybe actual retail customers bought more mid size than last year. No need for panic. Cars are not going away.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Three years from now I’ll be driving Chrysler 200s bought for pennies on the dollar. And since the drivetrain is common with the new minivans, transmission rebuild parts should be readily available.


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