By on July 2, 2018

Image: Honda
As the industry stresses about the new vehicle market taking it easy for the foreseeable future, there’s one aspect of it that’s of particular concern: car sales. After dominating the field for so long, passenger car sales fell below half of the market just a few years ago. That gap continued to widen through 2018.

Automakers responded by shifting output towards utility vehicles and crossovers. Ford ultimately decided to abandon the majority of its passenger cars in the United States as other manufacturers scramble to adjust their lineup to account for consumer tastes. However, these changes are also helping to push shoppers further away from cars. Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates that 71 percent of vehicle introductions for the 2019 through 2022 model years will be light trucks.

Some automakers still believe cars hold an importance that’s not to be ignored. True, some models still sell incredibly well. But the general assumption is that they’ll continue losing relevance in the coming years. It’s likely to take another energy crisis or major shift in consumer preference to turn back the tide of crossover vehicles. 

According to Automotive News, manufacturers are on pace to sell about 5.3 million cars this year, which would be the fewest since 1958. “With so many consumers taking advantage of low fuel costs to test out larger SUVs and trucks — which benefit from significantly better fuel economy than their predecessors — it will be harder and harder to convince anyone who has made a recent truck or SUV purchase that reverting back to a car would make any sense,” explained Ivan Drury, Edmunds senior manager of industry analysis.

Trade-in data from Edmunds shows shoppers are opting to replace cars with another car less and less every year. Just 53 percent of consumers replaced one car with another in the first five months of this year, while roughy 68 percent did so in 2014.

“There’s definitely further growth ahead,” said Jeff Schuster, president of LMC Automotive. He estimates SUVs, crossovers, and pickups will account for 75 to 80 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales by 2025.

If that sounds hard to believe, trucks and crossovers have already outsell cars by a ratio of more than 2-to-1 in 2018. There’s no reason to think the trend won’t continue for the foreseeable future. “Exactly where the floor is, we’re still sorting it out,” said Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst with IHS Markit.

[Image: Honda]

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131 Comments on “Just How Bad Are Car Sales Going to Get?...”


  • avatar
    Syke

    I’m waiting to see how the market goes when the customers decided they’re tired of utility vehicles. And when it goes, it’s going to snap rapidly. I’ve lived through a couple of those marketing fads, the Bicycle Boom of the 1970’s, Harley Davidson Mania in the late 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s. When the market died, it died virtually overnight.

    When America dumps a fad, they dump it quickly and completely.

    Of course, the question is going to be: What will SUV’s/CUV’s be replaced with. I’m not automatically predicting a return to sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If anything, sedans were the trend. Tall cars were the norm up until the 50s when fin tails and the long low look in Detroit took over. You’ll note the station wagon died long before the crossover really gained steam. And crossovers are even gaining market share in wagon heaven Europe. Talk of crossovers’ collective demise sounds like wishful thinking to me.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        cars got a lot lower after 1979 and they got REALLY low in the late 80s and early 90s when lowering the aerodynamic profile was the lowest hanging fruit for better fuel economy per dollar invested. I swear every time I get into my mid 90s Camry and drive it, I have to look UP at Fiat 500 drivers. The limbo dance trend has reversed since ~2002.

        Now that the consumer has got the taste of compact CUVs that get 30+ mpg and still more interior room than midsize cars(thanks to the packaging), they aren’t going back.

        • 0 avatar
          redgolf

          you are right TwoBelugas! when my lease was up on our Chevy cruise I got a Buick Encore to replace it. depending on gas prices a year and a half from now I’ll either buy out the Encore or lease another cuv! ain’t gonna be driving no gas hog 15-20 mpg suv or low sitting car, maybe electric.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          “Now that the consumer has got the taste of compact CUVs that get 30+ mpg and still more interior room than midsize cars(thanks to the packaging), they aren’t going back.”

          Ah, no. People have the illusion of more space, but compact crossovers don’t have more interior space than midsize passenger cars.” It will have a tiny bit of of unusable volume compared to a compact car it’s based on. It will have a taller seating position, and that’s the only thing that people seem to care about.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I agree Sporty. They’re versatile and their consumer base finds them stylish. They’re more practical than a sedan, and the difference in MPG is becoming increasingly negligible.

        People can go on and on with “just wait for high gas prices!” and “its just a fad” all they want, as you said, it’s pretty much wishful thinking.

        Contrary to what was stated in the article, light trucks have dominated for decades. Look at any best seller list over the past 20-30 years, you’ll find F-Series, Silverado/C-K, Explorer, etc. Sure, there were more cars previously than there are now, I’m not arguing that, but the efficiency gains that came from trading BOF ruggedness for car-like unibody construction of modern utilities has all but destroyed the disadvantages they once had.

        I mentioned this the other day, but a prime example is the Ford Edge and Fusion with the same engine gives a *ONE* MPG advantage to the sedan. One. It is also easier to provide more interior room for passengers, not to mention a better view, while meeting increasingly tougher safety standards with a utility, especially where the roof is concerned.

        A healthy majority of buyers couldn’t care less about the differences in driving dynamics, either. I mean, the best selling cars are not always the best handling cars, are they? CUVs handle well enough for your average soccer mom/dad, who view corners as annoyances rather than opportunities for driving fun, no matter what they’re driving.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          A quibble: The Edge-Fusion example actually is the exception rather than the rule. Market-wide, cars still handily beat CUVs (and probably always will, barring magical advances in aerodynamics). I got bored after confirming the numbers for Cruze vs Trax, Civic vs HR-V, Camry vs RAV-4, and Corolla vs C-HR. Note that I compared cars vs CUVs one platform size down, because I emphatically agree that cars of a given footprint are less roomy that their CUV platform-mates. If you want to disagree about the meaning of “negligible,” then fair enough. But industry-wide, the MPG numbers favor cars.

          I agree regarding most of the other points offered here: CUVs are better packaged, which is really important if you have more than two people in the vehicle with any regularity. (I suppose some two-box cars like the Golf and the Fit belie that, but they’re exceptions.) And CUVs are, in many ways, just bucking the “longer, lower, wider” trend of many decades. (Late ’70s through the mid-’80s cars actually bucked the trend as well, for whatever that’s worth.) The ’48 Cadillac 61, e.g., had 8″ of ground clearance. That certainly would be more truck-like than car-like on today’s market.

          In most cases, however, the implication that MPGs have become similar between CUVs and cars is stretching the truth. Fairer to make the more mundane claim that CUVs are more fuel-efficient than their SUV predecessors and leave it at that.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            My only point is that the difference between them is growing smaller and smaller. I’m saying the difference is negligible in the eyes of consumers, especially when factoring in the gains they see when going to a utility from a sedan, as in room and the ability to see. Its not like going from a 38 MPG Accord to a 15 MPG 1990s Explorer or whatever. Yes, the technical advantage still goes to cars, if you don’t factor in the increase in practical use of the vehicle and look at only raw MPG numbers.

            Windows keep getting smaller on cars as sides grow taller and pillars become larger to meet safety requirements. This happens to utilities to some degree, but as they are taller, it doesn’t impact visibility as much. As pointed out in the recent Camry review, it is becoming more of an issue with cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Which is funny, because you’re comparing crossovers that are in the same price range, but a full class-size smaller than these sedans. For instance, the Cruze is a similar size to—and is on the same platform as—the Equinox and Terrain, whereas the Sonic is the Trax sibling. Likewise, the Civic and CR-V are comparable, as are RAV4 and Corolla. The numbers are even more in favor of the sedans if you compare them to crossovers of the same size.

            Still, I’m 25, and about sick of crawling into a sedan on the daily. I’ll take a crossover even at the 5 MPG penalty, on average. It’s a shame that the crossover whose rectilinear design I particularly like, the Tiguan, gets what I would consider to be uncompetitive fuel economy.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Kyree it’s a good point to bring up that the compact crossovers (Rav4/CRV/Escape) are based on compact car platforms but typical consumers are moving to them from midsize cars and price/MPG comparisons are typically made compact CUV to midsize sedan. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable comparison however, most consumers don’t give a hoot what is based on what platform. The reality is that the compact CUV upright packaging gives them interior room closer to a midsize car than a compact in most cases, and for a while now the powertrains are generally shared between compact CUV and midsize sedan since the ’02 CRV and Accord started sharing a K24 motor. 06+ Ravs, etc.

            Having said that, even with the midsizers I think there is an appreciable gap in real world mpg, with most compact crossovers I’ve seen hovering around 30mpg highway in the real world, 25mpg mixed driving. Midsize sedans these days are crazy efficient, I’ve gotten 40+ mpg in various different examples in straight highway driving (Passat, Optima). But to most consumers, the current compact crossovers get “good enough” mpg, about where midsize sedans were a decade ago or so.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        If anything crossovers are simply a stew of several vehicles shunned by consumers over the past few decades, despite people like us praising their inherent goodness and urging others to take their medicine and like it. Hatchbacks and wagons… both extremely utilitarian, have been nailed to showroom floors and largely discontinued. Through a magic formula, whats old is simply new again.

        Crossovers are the wagons and hatchbacks that markets scorned. Yet, with two more inches of ground clearance, optional AWD and a 30% price hike, they are more desirable than ever. Most are FWD bias or come in FWD only trims. I think we should all really take a step back and see this for what it really is. VINDICATION!!!!

        Now, through clever marketing speak we need to do the same thing to manual transmissions. Instead of calling them manual, we could call them something like “Multi-imput sensory transmissions” I don’t know, Im working on it. Maybe this ship has sailed.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I would say that the minivan bridged the gap between the wagon and xUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Carroll Prescott

        Sporty is distorting the truth. Tall cars existed up to the 1950’s because there was an EVOLUTION of body on frame products – by your twisted logic, running boards were a trend. The fact is that lowering sedans was an evolution of a process of design; switching to pathetic CUV’s and SUV’s is a fad, not a development of car design. Somehow people went from minivans that became bloated to these horrific utility vehicles. That is a trend. Station wagons had a very extensive length of service right through the 1980’s. They weren’t a fad.

        Just because the Europeans do something means jack. They long advocated diesels and then got burned by the gaming of the system by their own brands.

        Sedans will likely evolve into hatchbacks as the tall monsters are viewed as old people’s cars by this next generation.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Do an image search on American sedans from the mid 30s. They look very much like crossovers. By 1940 most of them started having trunks, albeit small ones. By the early 50s, the trunk was a distinct part of the car, and cars were well on their way to the three box format most of us consider to be a sedan.

      I suspect it will be a very long time before the market shifts away from crossovers. I personally have no intention of joining that trend, but I’ve never been an average car buyer.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Exactly, I wouldn’t consider an Escape or EcoSport or any similar vehicle personally. If, and I’m saying IF, I bought a utility, it would need a healthy dose of off-road ability. For me, having no kids or need for one, a car-like utility isn’t on my radar.

        That doesn’t mean I must be obtuse about it. I get why it works for them, but it doesn’t for me.

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        “Do an image search on American sedans from the mid 30s. They look very much like crossovers. By 1940 most of them started having trunks, albeit small ones.”

        This remark is proof that looking things up on the Internet does not equate with real knowledge. As someone who owns sedans from the mid-30s and mid-40s, I can tell you that those sedans are nothing like a modern CUV. They’re sedans. Large sedans to be sure, but equating them with the CUV is nonsense. They’re nothing alike in dimensions or driving dynamics.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      My thoughts on this were never intended to be in the “I hate crossovers, I hope they fail” category because, obviously, they’re not going to. What I am decrying is the shortchanging attitude of some automobile manufacturers that they’re only going to make the one or two types of vehicles that are the hottest seller. And nothing else, no matter how profitable the other markets remain.

      As I’ve already stated, when the American marketplace changes (be it next week or ten years from now, or longer) its going to change quickly, completely, and any manufacturer that doesn’t have at least one example of where the market wants to go RIGHT NOW is going to find themselves in a world of hurt – until they can come up with whatever new direction the market has moved.

      None of us have a clue where that market is going. Right now the only thing we can count on is that SUV’s/CUV’s are going to remain popular for the next 5-10 years. What takes over after that? Sedans? Electric vehicles? Self driving pods? Or something that hasn’t occurred to any of us as of today? Right now, nobody has a clue, least of all us. And I’m better on that last possibility.

      Me? I’ll probably stay with my garage of extremes: A minivan and multiple motorcycles. Quite frankly, anything else in between, for me, is a waste of time and money. Between those two I’ve got both my practical, and my driving enjoyment.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Nobody has a clue where the market is going, but we here have a pretty good idea. There are several reasons I don’t see crossovers going anywhere, especially in the next 5 years….

        – Auto industry is batting down the hatches for an inevitable downturn… so they’re not going to throw capital on risky new body types, or existing body types in sales freefall in the hopes of reviving them.

        – Crossovers basically get sedan grade gas mileage, so if gas spikes there’s no incentive to go back to sedans like there was ~10-20 years ago.

        – There aren’t really any new body styles percolating to take over the crossover slot.

        – Electric/autonomous cars are nowhere near ready for prime time, and there are already electric crossovers (E-Pace, Model X etc).

        The whimsical notion that “tastes might change” just isn’t very compelling in the face of all this contrary evidence. Only body style I could possibly see is the minivan, but those were pretty much usurped by the crossover too.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Syke, I didn’t mean to lump you in with the “I hate crossovers so they’re going to fail any minute” crowd. If I did, I apologize.

        However, if you’re referencing Ford in the latter half of your first paragraph, remember that they were/are not making money on the cars they are discontinuing in our market. They were/are not profitable. I’d argue that perhaps only the Taurus made any money at all, and that’s because it’s so old that the R&D has been paid for. Given the declining sales of full size cars, retooling to build, say, the Chinese Taurus here would be a fool’s errand. I highly doubt cars are profitable for GM, either. And, the only cars that seem to work for FCA are also as old as the hills, the rest weren’t even worth finishing out their natural model runs.

        One can say its because they can’t build cars as good as Honda or Toyota. I don’t know about that, I believe the average consumer would find a new Malibu just as good as a Camcord. Be that as it may, their perception is that if you want a good car, buy Japanese, so they wouldn’t touch a Malibu.

        But, the reverse is also true, they can’t seem to build the types of vehicles (that are as good) that the American manufacturers excell at. Cars are what the Japanese do well, but that’s all they have, really, in comparison to larger trucks. They are not immune to declining car sales, though, they’re simply grabbing whatever pieces of pie that are left in that market. Those pieces are getting smaller, even with players dropping out.

        Try as it might, even building a large factory in Texas to anticipate future demand (eventually relocating Tacoma there to better utilize the plant’s capabilities), Toyota has yet to even nip the heels of the perpetually 3rd place Ram, to say nothing of GM and Ford full size trucks. Lots of people on the internet prefer to downplay the role full size trucks play, yet they consistently remain the best selling vehicles. Yes, even during high fuel prices and the recession.

        The middle ground is crossovers, which all seem to be competing with each other on fairly even ground. American manufacturers have a strong reputation with light trucks, and their crossovers are very compeditive (for the most part). As people go from sedans to CUVs, some will inevitably stick with Toyota, Nissan or Honda, for better or worse, so they also have a legitimate claim to a chunk of this pie.

        There simply isn’t as much bias in this area. At least not as much as there is with cars and with large trucks. Nobody would question their co-worker for buying an Explorer or a Pilot, where they may get flack from truck guys for buying a Tundra, or from the car buyers for showing up in a Malibu, because they believe those choices to be inferior to the more popular models, based many times on intangible differences.

        Also keep in mind that Ford still sells competitive cars in other markets. They recently introduced a next generation Fiesta and Focus, I don’t believe it would take much effort to reintroduce them here if trends reversed. But, I wouldn’t bet on that being the case.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        We have a sensible spread, too: An Equinox; an F-150, and a CTS-V. I doubt that we’ll notice a change in the buying market for the next several years, especially as I want to replace the Ford with a Suburban and the Equinox with an LX 450. The V stays.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “I’ve lived through a couple of those marketing fads, the Bicycle Boom of the 1970’s, Harley Davidson Mania in the late 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s. When the market died, it died virtually overnight.”

      Apples and oranges. Bikes are toys. When the fad ends it goes back in the garage and the game is over. People can’t suddenly decide not to drive to work tomorrow.

      In the new world where we’ve imported enough limber young people that they can be paid nothing and the traffic jam is eternal, new car buyers aren’t suddenly going to decide that they want to sit on the ground while driving again either.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      RVs then busses and probably cruise ships after that!

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      @ Syke

      F-Series has been the best selling vehicle in the US since 1986. Last year, pickups locked out the top 3 sales spots, and light-trucks locked out the top 5.

      I think this fad might be here to stay.

      • 0 avatar
        "scarey"

        @TW5—
        ” F-Series has been the best selling vehicle in the US since 1986.”
        And the best-selling truck in the U.S. since way before that, maybe 1978, fad here to stay

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      By definition a Fad is very short lived, they also come on the scene overnight. CUV/SUVs are not a Fad in any way shape or form. They started building steam way back in the 70’s, expanded significantly in the 90’s and other than the recession have been steadily growing since. So no they are not going to disappear overnight.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      I am also waiting to see where the market goes – not because of the potentially declining CUV / SUV craze, but because of gasoline prices. I drive internationally and in any country where gasoline exceeds the equivalent of around 6.00 USD/Gallon, there are very few crossovers on the roads and even fewer pickup trucks. However, there are a LOT of compact and subcompact sedans and coupes with manual transmissions.

      Gas prices in the US have largely kept CUV/SUV and pickup sales front and center. If there is another major gas crisis or gas prices rise, larger vehicles will drop like flies. Will we have a renaissance of compact and subcompact sedans and hatchbacks? Ford doesnt think so, at least not in the US. I tend to feel otherwise. A $150.00 charge to fill up a tank on an 18mpg SUV suddenly becomes “inconvenient”.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Well SS Jeep, the SUV-CUV craze is getting big in Europe too. The difference is, all Jeep Grand Cherokees are 3.0 diesel and get 32 mpg hey and all the Crvs and Rav4s are diesel as well and get 40 mpg. That’s how they get around $6 dollar/liter. Also, they don’t drive 15,000 miles per year.

    • 0 avatar
      DEVILLE88

      SEDANS!!!

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Hoping bad enough to make Civics cheap next year. It’s a good time to be a car shopper.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Ha, you and me both.

      Btw, I looked up the cheapest manual Toyota 86 I could find new within 150 miles of me, and it was about $3-4k, iirc, more than the Civic Si I want. I know its OMG RWD!!!!, but that’s a bit much to pay for just swapping the drive wheels. And, it won’t get nearly the MPG the Si will.

      It was the only 86 with a manual out of a dozen or so cars. I was very surprised to see so many automatics in such a dedicated sporty car. Its not like they’re trying to target Camry buyers, I guess those of who prefer 3 pedals are a dying breed.

      But, we’re not dead yet.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        That or the manual 86s don’t rust on lots.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Hmm, I wonder if that is a Toyota thing. I looked up two of our local Subidoo dealers, one had four BRZs and the other had five, all nine had manuals.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Are the BRZ and 86 pretty much the same price? Yes, I could look it up, but I thought I’d just keep the convo going.

          I live near the Gulf Coast, so Subaru dealers aren’t exactly common. There is one I know of that isn’t too far, but they also sell (and seem to concentrate more) on other brands.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            A base 86 MSRPs for $500 more than a BRZ.

            I always thought that “86” was an odd name for a car, being that it’s a somewhat archaic term that means to get rid of something.

            Also, in the 1960’s spy spoof “Get Smart”, Maxwell Smart’s spy number was 86. Yeah, I realize that was a long time ago.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            I did a track night at Atlanta Motorsports Park earlier this year, there were two BRZs in attendance. They looked like they were having a blast.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            It is. I know why they did it, but its pretty much meaningless to me and I bet more people than not. I don’t see why Celica wouldn’t have worked. It has to have more recognition and equity than referencing the AE86, which was only produced for 5 years, and who’s name had to do with the car(s) it was based on.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            I had to look that one up. That is obscure.

            Celica would have made sense.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            So the 86 has finally surpassed the BRZ in price, eh? I suppose it was bound to happen. The Scion version was supposed to be cheaper, but creeped up in price every year until it matched the BRZ, and then I stopped paying attention. At least the Toyota dealer might be willing to deal a bit.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Five out of 17 86s in my local area have manual transmissions.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          So its not just my area, then. Perhaps that is why they don’t sell as well as they could? Toyota dealers stocking up on automatics, because they simply don’t know how to sell a sporty car?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Literally buying a Fiesta ST right now with 5 grand on the hood. Let cars stay unpopular. Course it’ll be hard to replace but yeah, good time to be in the market.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Congrats.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          I looked at the Fiesta ST but after taking it around the roads in my area for a test drive, the firm ride and the rubber band thin tires wore me out after a few miles.

          I really think the vanity big-wheel-thin-tire trend together with “must ride like German car!” mentality was the nail in the coffin for sedans, station wagon and hatch backs. Harder to get into, easier to blow out a tire, expensive tires, and a stiff ride? Sign me up!

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I’d add to that the increase in “coupe” profiles and rising belt lines. Less glass, less visibility, less headroom, all pushing people into CUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ TwoBelugas – Fiesta STs are rarer than hen’s teeth in my neck of the woods for whatever reason. I think I’ve seen two in the wild in 2018. The second was a few days ago and inspired me to do some perusing of owner message boards. Apparently a fair percentage of drivers have downsized to 15″ wheels.

            I’m not an aftermarket wheel guy, but Enkei is a reputable brand, yes? It looks like 15″ wheels (~$110 each) and four 205/55R15 tires (~$90 each) would be money well spent.

            Sad to see the Fiesta ST leave the US market.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            TwoBelugas I’m inclined to agree for the most part, but if you stay with the basic trims, there are some midsize, fullsize and compact sedans that ride absolutely wonderfully. I was astounded at how smooth my Optima LX-FE was over busted up pavement driving around NYC, I started aiming for rough patches of pavement just because I was so impressed. Key here were the very reasonable 205/65R16 tires. I’ve recently driven my wife’s 2012 Camry SE with sporty-ish 215/55R17 tires as well as my sister in law’s 2013 Camry XLE Hybrid with the same wheel/tire size but without the SE’s stiffer ride. The XLE is appreciably smoother, but I wonder how much better it would be with a 16″ wheel setup like the Kia. I’m considering getting my wife a dedicated set of snow tires mounted on Camry LE steelies (16 inches), if not for the winter traction then for the pot-hole resistance and smoother ride in the winter and spring as our roads can get torn up something fierce.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I did the wheel downsize from 17 to 15 inch on my old Mazdaspeed Miata. It was a common mod because the factory 17s we’re crazy heavy. Not shocked the Fiesta people do it to. That was my first thought looking at the wheels…that they will get curbed. I got the 17s for my F150 for that reason, the taller sidewall, but it is a truck so I don’t care about the handling like the ST.

            I did have to drive 100 miles to get the Fiesta ST. I am deep in the heart of truck country in Huntsville AL though. Strangely my local dealer had 4 Focus STs though similarly discounted.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Sounds like a fun purchase, Art. Keep us posted on how you like it.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    I just think it is ridiculous what is classified as a “Light Truck” these days. I was taking a look at a Hyundai Kona in a parking lot a few days ago. These vehicles are HATCHBACKS!!!!!! There is nothing else to it. AWD HATCHBACKS. It is the same thing with the KIA NIRO. Hatchback. I do think the marketing professionals who changed the perception of Hatchbacks with Cladding to Crossovers or CUVs should be lauded as geniuses. Consumers will gladly pay 28-30K for an AWD Hatchback that is in reality a 20K Hatchback. Only in America.

    Right now Sedans are not as popular. Hatchbacks are still cars. I don’t care what you call them.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    As car choices shrink so will potential buyers. There will still be a small market for driving appliances, Honda, Toyota, etc., and cars for people who like to drive. The choices will shrink and eventually reach a sustained level. Other than a muscle car I wouldn’t buy an American car, if the manufacturer’s heart isn’t behind the product then neither is my money. American trucks and SUVs would be okay with me. CUVs are their own excuse and I wouldn’t be guilty of owning one.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Seems the appliance market is growing and when comes to driving an appliance a CUV is just about perfect. Drivers that actually enjoying driving are just about gone. Witness the lack of 2 door coupes that have 3 pedals. I guess is this just beginning of autonomous car market coming. Phase 1 is anything that makes a car interesting or fun goes away (we are rapidly approaching this). Which leads to phase 2 where everything is just a boring blob (some say we already here). Phase 3 is those blobs drives themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @JMII

        I think the lack of coupes reflects the economics of the past twenty years moreso than anything. I read something interesting, truck drivers in adjusted 1970s dollars were grossing $100K but today avg pay is in the $50s in 2017 dollars. NAFTA/GATT decimated this nation’s wages, and thus disposable income.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          I don’t think tariffs have anything to do with that, if anything international trade would increase the demand for trucking, and except for a very limited amount of cross border trucking to and from Canada and Mexico, truck drivers have to be legal residents of the country where they drive.

          In the 1970s trucking was regulated, and a higher percentage of drivers were unionized, I suspect those two factors had much more to do with the pay

        • 0 avatar
          redapple

          28 cars……

          There has been a great wage crush down throughout the USA. I m in Tier 2 3 plants every month. In shooting the bull with the plant manager it comes up how business is strong but they cant find workers. I ALWAYS ask, ‘what are you paying?” Common answer, ‘we pay a good wage, 14-15$ /hour.

          HUH? FULL STOP. HUH?
          You can get that delivering pizza for crap sake. $15 /hour for working like a dog, manhandling 25 pound parts all day, in a hot, filty plant that is dark with no windows.???? Well, that wont sell and is not selling. Thats why there is a worker shortage. THE PAY SUX.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “You can get that delivering pizza for crap sake.”

            Factor in the hours you’ll work because nobody orders pizza during the daytime, and the back loaded costs of using your personal vehicle for work and these jobs don’t pay pizza delivery money – pizza delivery pays even worse.

            Bringing the entire third world here did exactly what it was supposed to do.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            “we pay a good wage, 14-15$ /hour.”

            This is what’s amazing in today’s world. Management just doesn’t realize how low their pay actually is. It’s not just factory workers either. It’s pretty much across the board. Salaries have become way to stagnant.

            Dan, the pizza delivery scenérií is a valid comparison. I was averaging $18/ hour delivering pizzas 15 years ago. This place wasn’t even very popular. A busy chain, and I would have likely averaged more. Days were actually more profitable because of businesses that ordered lunch. My friend who worked days averaged well over $20. The added maintenance costs on your vehicle aren’t that high either when you consider everything else. In my case it probably even helped the car long term because it was regularly warmed up completely compared to the very short drive to school that I had then.

          • 0 avatar
            sirwired

            You gotta love it when some executive (or industry group) complains about a “shortage” in this, that, or the other type of low/no-skill worker.

            The idea of a shortage in high-skill positions that take years of (scarce and/or expensive) training, exceptional aptitude, or have recently had a major increase in demand, I could get that. (In theory, that’s what H1-B’s are supposed to be for.)

            What they REALLY mean when they say there’s not enough, say, truck drivers: “There’s a shortage of truck drivers at the wages I’d prefer to pay.” Attracting more drivers is not a difficult nut to crack; pay them better, improve their working conditions, and accept the fact you’ll need to either increase prices or decrease profits.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          @ 28, the wage crush has been going on since the 70’s when wages were slowly and systematically depresse (oddly enough that seems to be a floating point as I see some sources now claim the 80’s but I guess people have short memories as generational cohorts change guard).

          I’d also throw in Reagan’s handling of the air traffic controller strike which more or less put unions on life support along with the deification of Wall Street and company executives.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Ding! Ding! Ding! raph wins the comments. We are still feeling the effects of trickle-down economics. Or as George HW Bush put it: Voodoo economics. Until he was asked to join Reagan’s ticket. Then it was just fine…

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Um….disposable income has risen, not as you described.

          How this occured is through technology.

          We are able to purchase and achieve far more today than 40 years ago.

          If you had to live today like they did in the 70’s you’d be the first to whine at the cost of buying all consumer goods, and motor vehicles are consumer goods, not investments (persay).

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            The old “but you can buy a $100 Chinese flatscreen from WalMart!” argument. It’s worn a bit thin Al. There’s no denying that median American wages haven’t just stagnated, they’ve fallen precipitously. Being able to buy a cheap TV doesn’t help when you can’t even get a decent paying job to save up for a house or start a family. I’d go so far as to link the loss of decent paying low-skill jobs to the degradation of the nuclear family and healthy communities as a whole in the lower socio-economic classes. There’s an excellent book called Coming Apart by Charles Murray on exactly this subject, except good old Charles the libertarian misses the connection to jobs IMO. More recently (around the time of the 2016 election) he’s come around to acknowledge that correlation.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      You put the cart before the horse. Car choices have shrank because potential buyers have shrank. The industry follows market trends, not the other way around.

      In the context of coupes, it also doesn’t help that sedans have been endowed with their dynamics. If you put the same suspension and drivetrain in a sedan or coupe, 9 out of 10 people are going with the sedan. Oddly enough, now we are getting to a point where crossovers are getting within shooting range of objectively matching sedans dynamically. People prioritize practicality, even in the enthusiast world.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        The core competency of a sedan is highway driving. They’re quiet, smooth, and efficient during a long highway cruise. Well, most people don’t do the majority of their driving on the highway. Between the internet and cheap airfare, less and less people need to do those long cruises.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Hard to answer the question without inviting some trolling. It will depend on the economy. If the economy continues to improve, albeit slowly, sales will stay fairly steady, but if the economy hits an iceberg like Deutsche Bank going under or a similar occurrence, all bets are off.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “If that sounds hard to believe, trucks and crossovers have already outsell cars by a ratio of more than 2-to-1 in 2018. There’s no reason to think the trend won’t continue for the foreseeable future. “Exactly where the floor is, we’re still sorting it out,” said Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst with IHS Markit.”

    Let’s see the math on this, for most lineups two sedans or coupes is all which is being offered. If you count every truck model and every fake truck the models offered alone will outnumber car models. Take Ford:

    Taurus
    Fusion
    Fiesta
    Focus
    Mustang

    Now:

    Ecothing
    Escape
    Edge
    Explorer
    Expedition
    Flex

    then add:

    Ranger
    Raptor
    F-150
    F-250
    F-350 and higher

    and so on.

    So like, whats the maffs on your 2:1 ratio? Seriously. Cars statistically cannot outsell all truck, SUV, and CUV models in a lineup when they are already outnumbered five models to eleven (or more) in a full lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Ford is a special case. Most manufacturers don’t even have pickups, let alone the top selling pickup of like the last 100 years. You look at Honda for example….

      Low riders:
      Fit
      Accord
      Civic
      Insight
      Clarity

      High riders:
      HR-V
      CR-V
      Pilot
      Ridgeline
      Odyssey

      1:1 models, ~93:100 sales. OK, Honda’s auto lineup is healthier than average. Let’s look at Kia, probably a more representative bellweather of the industry:

      Low:
      Forte
      Optima
      Rio
      Stinger
      Cadenza
      K900

      High:
      Soul
      Sorento
      Sportage
      Niro
      Sedona
      Niro

      Again almost 1:1, though the low/high sales ratio is closer to 3:4 and dropping. Now you look across the industry, 1 you have big skewing high riders like the aforementioned D3 pickups, along with all high rider companies like Jeep and Land Rover. Pretty much every volume player, mainstream and luxury, has at least 1 crossover, usually two. You look at a company like Jaguar, 1 crossover (F-Pace) outsells the whole rest of the lineup. And that gap is growing. So it’s not hard to see why selection and sales are skewed (though I also am not sure it’s 2:1).

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      28cars, thanks for making me snort at “Ecothing” and thanks for all your data over the years.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Sporty,
      Most manufacturers do have pickups.

      Its just the US has a wall preventing them in your market.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Hyundai/Kia and Subaru are the only makes that sell in any real volume here that don’t sell a truck. (Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Tesla don’t sell in big numbers in the US). Ford, GM, Toyota, and Nissan sell 2 (well Ford soon). You are just wrong Al.

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        “Its just the US has a wall preventing them in your market.”

        Thank God we do. It’s one instance where I’m happy with the restriction.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    If the roads here in the Midwest were in better shape, that might keep people in cars. Although that would mean higher gas taxes, which would also keep people in cars.Go figure.
    Crossovers are pretty much station wagons anyway, which ruled the road in the 80s when I was a kid.Thats pretty much a crossover with 6 inches or less of ground clearance.
    I think automakers really need to pay attention to the numbers, rather than trends. 53% car sales is still substantial and nothing to sneeze at.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      I discovered the ability to handle the roads was a massive unintended benefit of my 1/2 ton truck. It’s exactly what I need for a vehicle for driving on roads whose maintenance money keeps getting diverted to bike lanes and bike trails. Lots of suspension travel? Check. tires with 8 inches of sidewall? check. full frame isolated from the cab? Check. Over built axles and joints? check.

      I know I overpay my share of road taxes via gas purchases, it’s the electric and hybrids that are being subsidized by everyone else.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Agree with this sentiment fully. Here is another way the half-ton truck truly is the modern day fullsize American sedan. Those cars back in the day had fat tires, soft and durable suspensions, steel bumpers and enough clearance to park against the curb. If you’re not in the wealthy suburbs outside of the 465 loop in Indy, you’re dealing with some truly horrible roads especially after our latest winter which had some consecutive thaws and then deep freezes. Anything short of a sturdy BOF truck/SUV on non-bling rims was at risk of expensive damage.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      This advantage has been completely removed with the large wheel sizes that manufacturers are installing. The CUVs still all have low profile tires, just mounted on 20″+ wheels. This actually makes the damage worse because of the higher unsprung weight hitting the pothole.

      Even buying a full size truck, salesmen didn’t understand why I insisted on 18″ wheels.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    A “CUV” is a car.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      A “crossover” is also a car.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Also? You do know what the “C” in “CUV” stands for, don’t you?

        They are categorized as light trucks, no matter if they’re based on cars or the Lunar rover.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Vehicle classification is a technical regulatory instrument.

          Re-classifying most SUVs and CUVs as cars would have significant implications in the US market ……. and maybe car sales would increase.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Of course car sales would increase…every cuv sale would now be a car sale. But traditional Sedan/Wagon sales would not.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Sorry, I took your topic to mean “Vehicle sales” rather than CAR sales.
    Different answer.
    It is as someone else has already stated- Car shapes are like women’s fashions. Generally, and I know this is not true for everyone, men wear the clothes that are suitable for their work- whether that be a suit and tie, or blue jeans and t-shirts, while women follow the trends they see around them. And men like trucks and women like cars. Men and women can agree on SUVs, because they are partially cars and partially trucks. This is my opinion. your mileage may vary. Other people like cars. The market for SUVs and CUVs has overtaken the car market for the time being. This too, shall pass and when it does, sedans, coupes, or something else will be back in force. Fashions and tastes change.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I think that total vehicle sales will topple in the next year. We have: rising interest rates; rising gas prices; falling trade ins on cars when people trade for an SUV; the end of “pent up demand”. Also I’m not sure what the Trump tarrifs will do to car part prices, the same parts used in domestic production. I seen 2019 as lower new vehicle sales.

    • 0 avatar
      "scarey"

      Thank you for mentioning President Trump without calling him or his supporters bad names.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Well, Trump is attempting to have the Saudi’s increase oil production to make up for the reduced output by Iran (who caused that?). To reduce crude prices.

      If the Saudi’s don’t respond I can understand why. The Saudi’s have an opportunity to make more money and why not. The Saudi’s have a country to run as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        The Saudis have to tread lightly though. They tried to keep prices high a few years ago and what they succeeded in doing was getting US Frackers to figure out how to make money at lower oil prices. Certainly they have some sway on price as a major producers, but the US has a huge bullet in the chamber as well that they didn’t have last time.

        Then there is the elephant in the room. What if Trump took the gloves off, heavily invested in domestic production, and pulled the US military out of Saudi Arabia. Between Iran and every terrorist organization wanting control of the holy sites it would be a crap show, and likely an issue for the Chinese PLA.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          The Saudis talked a lot about “demand destruction” and “market share” a few years ago.

          Maintaining market share is keeping the prices low enough to discourage the US (and Canada if the alliance stays strong) to produce more of our remaining hard-to-recover oil.

          Demand destruction goes straight to fuel efficiency. Every EV and every Prius/Ionic sold reduces the globsl demand for oil. Every fuel efficiency improvement on the F-150 reduces demand for oil. And it does so for the two decades that the vehicle will be on the road (even if the first owner dumps it on the used market). The Saudis have limited control over demand in other countries. If your entire economy sinks or swims based on oil demand, then this is downright terrifying.

          But, of course, demand destruction and market share must be balanced with profit-taking.

          Their new Saudi king has been trying hard to diversify the economy, and to change their culture to be more global-friendly. They’re also experimenting with renewable energy and high-tech desert cities. This way they may be able to stay prosperous when the oil runs out and/or when oil demand shrinks.

          The Saudis are smart people working in their own best interests. They will adjust their oil production to suit their national interests, without regard for Trump says or tweets.

          P.S. If they deem a production increase to be in their best interest, they’ll spin to PR for suit their allies.

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    The simple truth is that cars are now a terrible value when compared to their SUV counterpart. Compare Fusion Titanium to the Escape Titanium – Ford price is but 6% higher in the Escape but the benefits (perceived or real) are worth way more than the extra $24.00 a month on a 72 month loan.

    The city mileage is basically the same and you gain a couple more on the highway…big deal. The Fusion actually has more space inside but it’s not nearly as usable. For the same volume, who wouldn’t take a square box over a long flat box if you had to use that box everyday???

    To me, the car version of the SUV (Fusion/Escape, A4/Q5, ect) should be priced 20-30% less than it’s counterpart to compete.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Thank you for making the appropriate comparisons. People often compare cars like the Fusion to the Edge (or even Explorer) because they are on the same platform. Customers don’t care about platforms, they care about monthly payments and interior space.

      25-30% seems high, but I agree that the market indicates these vehicle pairs shouldn’t be priced at parity.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        For the consumer who asks what can I get for $X per month the Escape and Fusion might be a good comparison but I certainly agree that the proper comparison would be the Escape to the Focus and low and behold the Focus is 75% of the price of an Escape. Haven’t run the numbers on the Fusion vs the Edge. However since most buyers are shopping for a payment it is probably the better comparison.

        Personally when the sales person says how much do you want to spend per month I tell them I’m not shopping for a payment, I’m shopping for the vehicle I want. The payment will be the payment, if I’m going to finance. Plus they probably are going to base that payment on an interest rate that I wouldn’t accept because I go in knowing what I can get from my credit union.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Funny you should mention the Fusion. I drive one, with the plug in hybrid drivetrain. I wouldn’t consider an Escape. The driving dynamics of the Fusion are much nicer. I realize I’m in the minority here, most people don’t care about that.

      I’m sort of annoyed that Ford is dropping the Fusion. On the other hand, I had an Altima rental car last week. Nissan can quit making those any time now.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        “On the other hand, I had an Altima rental car last week. Nissan can quit making those any time now.”

        LOL!

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        We’ve had the previous generation of Fusion in hybrid form and currently have an Escape hybrid of the same vintage, in the same color even. I’ll drive either but yeah I prefer the Fusion overall.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      There are some of us who still prefer a car and I would take the Fusion in your example one the Escape everyday of the week. But it seems I am a dying bred.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      It seems America has finally found a way to justify hatchback ownership. Long live the CUV.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    The key to success in the American auto market is dressing that station wagon you are slinging up as something else. Minivan, for a while. SUV for a long time. CUV is the camo pattern of the day. Figure out how to make the station wagon cool again and the car will come back.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The station wagon died because it was a car, and the minivan was classified as a light truck. This was one of many unintended, perverse consequences caused by CAFE.

      I’m not sure, cool can bring the station wagon back. The regulations for fullsize passenger cars is getting more and more strict.

      If it is going to survive, it must survive as a Subaru Outback.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        “If it is going to survive, it must survive as a Subaru Outback.”, which, until fairly recently, was promoted as a Legacy/Liberty station wagon in markets outside the US differing only in ride-height and lower body cladding. Station wagons still exist except for the classification moniker (SUV, CUV) and “butching-up” of the image presented to gain trendy acceptance in the “modern” marketplace.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          @ bullnuke

          I understand that the substantive differences between a station wagon and Outback are few, but for fuel economy purposes, station wagons will necessarily adopt whatever attributes and equipment they must to be classified as light trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Peak station wagon was 1962, and by the time CAFE got tough on fullsize wagons, they were going extinct anyway.

        Minivans were a hot trend, starting in the early ’80s, but CAFE didn’t exempt them (as light trucks) until 1991. If you recall, the first minivans really were “mini”.

        Until the Obama Admin, CAFE simply tagged behind sales trends, but is more that happy to accept credit for setting trends.

        There’s no real reason for fullsize station wagons to come back. In there day, there wasn’t much choice in the 3-row, luggage rack, inside cargo/dog hold, family transport arena, car based.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          Dear Sir, I shan’t be delivering you any Grey Poupon or Moet in the shooting brake.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            The irony is strong in that virtually all Subarus will be heavily penalized under CAFE2025 given the environmentalist and pro-CARB-type-group leaning of a huge portion of Subaru buyers.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    Crossover “sedans”. We already have the wagon and the coupe.

    The 2nd generation Chevy Equinox looked like a tall Sonic sedan with a “backpack”. The current Equinox, looks as if it were designed as a sedan with a “backpack” as well. I wonder if GM is courageous (and healthy) enough to give an Equinox sedan a try. The little crossover is, next to the Silverado, GM’s bestseller. Why not expand its appeal? Then maybe, keyboard jockeys can stop whingeing about the lack of rear seat headroom available in today’s family cars.

  • avatar
    TW5

    It’s an interesting topic because it’s about guessing the future, and trying to determine what school of thought will prevail (if only one school prevails).

    Cars are facing headwinds. First, the population is aging. They don’t want to get down into a car. They want step in. Second, CAFE regulations encourage longer-wider cars with less frontal area. Neither of these seem to be desirable for the market. However, technology could mitigate. Since cars are already quite efficient, and have nearly reached their CAFE targets for 2025, manufacturers could raise the overall vehicle height and seating position, while achieving CAFE with just a mild hybrid system.

    Light trucks have critical mass among the buying public, but they have regulatory headwinds. Two-door Wrangler must reach 34mpg combined by 2025. Bye Wrangler. $10K of your purchase price will be CAFE penalties in the future (maybe it already is). Midsize CUVs like CR-V have less regulatory pressure, but they will probably need strong hybrids or extensive CAFE equipment to get over the 2025 goal line. If you chuck your car lineup out the window, maybe you can create enough efficiencies to meet CAFE without raising prices too sharply?

    Also, the market has no idea if Congress will adjust CAFE regulations, nor if the price of oil will remain steady. Interesting times. I’m glad Ford has made a move, even if it is a bit precarious.

    • 0 avatar
      Jerome10

      If that is all indeed true about CAFE…jeesh.

      Can you honestly make a brick like the wrangler get 34mpg? With any sort of competitive purchase price or without a ridiculous all-electric drive or something?

      Makes me seriously think even more that CAFE has now served its purpose. We are nearing the point where the market will be pods or pods. Or we’re paying $10,000 in expensive drivetrain components to save $2000 in fuel over the life of the vehicle. Those expensive components have their own pollution to dig/manufacture/ship/install/dispose of as well….

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        Wrangler is just one of the many vehicles in trouble, and I was wrong about the number. It’s 37 mpg. Fullsize sedans like the Dodge Charger will need to make 34mpg. 4Runners will need to make 33mpg combined. Tahoe will need to make 31mpg combined. Regular cab pickups will need to make about 28mpg combined.

        The list of doomed vehicles goes on and on. The regulations allow you to have a midsize unibody four-banger or a midsize unibody four-banger with a 3″ lift kit. The only exception will be fullsize crew cab trucks at 23mpg, and EVs. Everything else will require special permission via CAFE credits earned elsewhere in the fleet.

        Manufacturers themselves also face problems. Mazda is generally the most efficient auto manufacturer, yet their lack of hybrid powertrains and CVTs threatens their ability to comply with the standards. FCA is basically dead to rights, and people probably are waiting for their stock price to plummet before they carve up FCA’s carcass.

        None of it makes any sense. A 23mpg Wrangler is not okay. A 23mpg fullsize truck is okay. Mazda is in trouble, while less efficient manufacturers like GM and Toyota will be fine. That’s the brave new world we’ll be inhabiting in just 7 years.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    One factor I rarely see mentioned in the sedan deathwatch is what aerodynamics have done to trunk openings.

    A friend recently bought an ’18 Acura TSX. While it has a fairly massive trunk, the opening is tiny. It’s a wrestling match to get anything bulky through the opening.

    And heaven forbid if something small slides forward against the rear seatback. You either have to crawl into the trunk to get at it, or walk around to the side and fold the seat down to get at it.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      It’s very weird to me that no one’s tried a, say, Dodge Lancer body type (sorta three-box looking, but actually a hatchback) recently. That would obviate the trunk opening issue. But I’ve never been able to get my head around America’s “we hate rear lift gates unless they come in SUV or CUV form” mindset. Something like the Malibu totally ought to have a lift gate, for example. I guess the Model S and the Panamera do, but those aren’t really mainstream models. [shrugging]

  • avatar
    Igloo

    Salad, I think you meant TLX. TSX discontinued in 2014. Nice car though.

  • avatar
    megaphone

    I’m looking at new cars right now and am seriously considering getting a hybrid. Gas prices will never remain this low and I do feel some sense of moral obligation to use less carbon fuel. It’s a tough call as most if not all don’t exactly offer a thrilling ride.

    As to trucks, living as I do in the DC suburbs, I don’t know a single person who owns a F-150, Ram or GM truck. And the ones I do see look so pristene that I suspect they rarely get so much as a bag of mulch thrown in the bed. Surely a fad that is not sustainable when we are all paying 5 bucks for gas some day.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I would have purchased an accord if weren’t so cramped up front. Mazda 6 if it had Android auto. Same goes for the Camry. Possibly a regal sportback if I didn’t think I’d lose half the value in a year. An Optima SX if a dealer kept one in stock in a hundred miles radius.

    Simply put, it seems manufactureres and dealers just don’t want to sell me a car.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I have spent the last few months in my Newport Beach home. One thing I am noticing is the tide seems to be turning in this big money beach town. I am seeing a lot more new high end euro sport sedans as of late … and less euro SUV things. That is what I am seeing in this trend setting part of the world. Now, I don’t have access to any numbers quantifying this, but right across the street from me, several euro SUVs have just been replaced with a brand new 911 and a brand new AMG S63.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      That’s the thing that’s going to kill CUVs. Minivans became unpopular because they were seen as bland mommy mobiles. Once CUVs are seen the same way, they will move on to something else. What I don’t know. Do I hope it’s wagons, yes. Will it be, who knows. It might be a type of vehicle that hasn’t even been created yet.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    I wonder how much the popularity of the SUV has to do with the quality of the road. I now drive a CX-5, and I deliberately got one with the small wheel/tall tire package. I would still like to drive many sports cars, but when I look at those 35-45 series tires, I think “no way.” Were the roads better 40 years ago, or am I just getting older?

    • 0 avatar
      megaphone

      I would tend to agree with you but than again I am getting old at the same rate.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I think cars generally had fatter tires, high-zoot performance cars in the 90s were still in the 50-55 series range. Most sedans were on 65/70/75 series sidewalls, and GM still had a standardized test for their cars which had to clear a 4 inch piece of bar steel at highway speeds without damage (which Bob Lutz proudly got rid of).

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    If pickup trucks weren’t so tall people wouldn’t see the need to sit higher. Even when I’m driving our minivan pickups block my vision considerably, the things are huge. Driving a sedan means you’re staring at wheel arches most of the time, it sucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      Sometimes it seems like a race to go higher. The other day there was a woman in front of me at a grocery checkout, it struck me how small she was, maybe 4’10” or 4’11”. A few minutes later I watched her climbing into a Nissan Armada. It had an almost cartoonish aspect to it, she stepped on a running board and sort of launched herself through the door. I don’t know, it just seemed kind of surreal.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        A few months back I noticed a Latina gal trying to get her kids into a Nissan Armada. That was pretty comical too. She was of the stature that she looked like an elementary kid goofing around on the jungle gym. I wondered to myself if the vehicle was her choice or not.

        Although cars don’t always help the situation. A week or so ago I was washing my wife’s Terrain at one of the local car washes. The place was dead and I was doing the spray wax and towel dry next to the vacuums when a lady pulled out of the bays in a current generation Taurus. As she was drying it down I noticed that she was only a head taller than the trunk lid!

        On a similar note – I was in my 67 Mustang (a car that obviously sits low) and noticed that I was at eye level with the trunk badge on a new Nissan Sentra for crying out loud. This ride height madness needs to end.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Tesla is missing out by not basing the Model Y on the Semi. Just add a lift kit, maybe make the running boards function as electric lifts to bring the passengers up to the cabin. They’d rake in 200k deposits the day they’d announce it. /sarc (except I’m probably right)

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Look at that Accord. I parked next to one yesterday and it’s rear roofline was as fast as my VW CC’s, with the attendant tiny trunk opening and challenging rear seat access. How practical is that for a family vehicle?

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    No cars?

    As long as I can buy motorcycles and pickups, I’m not loosing sleep.


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  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States