By on February 19, 2019

2017 NAIAS 2018 Toyota Camry launch - Image: Toyota“Can we stop the shrinking of the segment?” American Honda boss Jeff Conrad said when launching the 10th-gen Accord. “We think we can at least slow it down.”

“When you get into next year and you look at 2018,” Toyota’s Jack Hollis said two years ago when discussing the arrival of an all-new Camry, “I believe with these three products and the excitement they bring back to that segment, I don’t see it falling anymore.” In fact, said Hollis, “When you have new entries and you have a full-year of those sales next year, I think you will see flat to slightly up.”

Meanwhile, Hyundai anticipated that a mere refresh of the Sonata for the 2018 model year would “reinvigorate” the nameplate.

The arrival of the 10th-generation Honda Accord did not slow down the shrinkage. Toyota was incorrect – the midsize segment was not “flat to slightly up” in 2018. And no, the Hyundai Sonata has in no way been reinvigorated.

The rate at which sales of midsize sedans are falling suggests fewer than 1 million of these vehicles will be sold in America within two years, equal to a 58-percent drop in just half a decade. 

Denis Le Not 2019 Nissan Altima unveil - Image: NissanA projection of 887,000 midsize sedan sales in the United States in 2021 assumes only one thing: the segment will continue to contract at the same rate it has over the last two calendar years. That 16-percent year-over-year annual drop experienced in 2017 and 2018 occurred after the segment began to experience measurable decline in 2015 and then a more severe 11-percent decrease in 2016. In other words, it’s entirely possible that the rate of midsize decline will – rather than slow down, as Honda hoped – pick up speed.

That would mean that a segment that was, until recently, relied upon for more than 15 percent of all auto sales could see its slice of the pie fall into the 5-percent region before the next presidential inaugural.USA midsize car annual sales output - Image: © TTACThe figures are staggering. Making the state of midsize sedan demand appear even more perilous is the degree to which virtually all members of the club were sorely affected in 2018, whether they be all-new competitors such as the Camry and Accord, soon-to-die vehicles such as the Ford Fusion, or long-in-the-tooth challengers such as the Volkswagen Passat.

  • In the first full year for its all-new model, the chart-topping Toyota Camry tumbled to a seven-year low.
  • Similarly, for the newly-arrived 10th-gen Honda Accord, sales fell to a seven-year low. 2018 represented just the third time in the last 30 years that U.S. Accord volume fell below 300,000 units. The other two instances? The recession of 2009 and the supply issues of 2011 following the Tōhoku earthquake.
  • Since taking over from the Maxima as Nissan’s primary family sedan, Nissan averaged 265,000 annual sales. 2018’s total fell 21-percent shy of that mark.
  • The Ford Fusion’s 173,600-unit total was down 43 percent from its 2014 peak.
  • The Chevrolet Malibu tumbled to an 11-year low.
  • At 105,118 sales, Hyundai Sonata volume hit a 15-year low; Sonata sales fell by more than half in just three years.
  • The Kia Optima’s 5.5-percent year-over-year drop wasn’t nearly as severe as the decrease experienced by most of its competitors, but the Optima still slid to its lowest level since the nameplate took off in third-gen form in 2011.
  • 2018 was the sixth consecutive year of decline for the Volkswagen Passat, which fell by nearly two-thirds since surging in 2012.
  • All-wheel drive isn’t doing the Subaru Legacy any favors in this crossover-hungry age. 2018 volume fell to the lowest level since the recession.
  • Mazda 6 sales declined to the lowest calendar-year total in the nameplate’s history.

Headlining the group, as they always do, are the two high-volume sedans that were supposed to rescue the category. They were to be the rising tides that would lift all boats. Instead, the new-for-2018 Toyota Camry and new-for-2018 Honda Accord couldn’t even maintain an even keel.

And yet opportunity for these power players persists. The Camry and Accord didn’t decline nearly as rapidly as the segment at large in 2018, which drove their combined share of the shrinking midsize sedan segment to 42 percent last year. That’s up from 32 percent only 5 years earlier, and given the frequency with which competitors are exiting the arena, it’s a figure that may shoot past 50 percent in 2019.

[Images: Toyota, Nissan]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Driving.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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125 Comments on “Nothing Can Stop the Midsize Sedan Segment From Collapsing, Not Even a New Camry and Accord...”


  • avatar
    TRM944

    It makes me sad to think of all the sedans we are gonna lose. I was planning a fusion sport for our next purchase lucky they are gonna be cheap on the used market. But I’ve said it for awhile all the other sedans will fold leaving just the Camry and accord in the midsize . The civic and corolla compact. I wish that wasn’t the case but the rest of the companies aren’t gonna keep enough market share to feel its worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      Spartan

      “It makes me sad to think of all the sedans we are gonna lose…”

      “I was planning a fusion sport for our next purchase lucky they are gonna be cheap on the used market.”

      Le sigh.

      • 0 avatar

        “It makes me sad to think of all the sedans we are gonna lose…”

        “It makes me sad to think of all the small trucks we are gonna lose…”

        “It makes me sad to think of all the manual transmissions we are gonna lose…”

        “I was planning a _________ for our next purchase lucky they are gonna be cheap on the used market.”

        Le sigh.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I’ll happily buy a new sedan… wait I did just buy a new sedan… wait what’s that? They don’t make anything like it anymore? Welp back to Trucks and SUVs.

      Automakers finally produced a car (2017 SS sedan M6, 6.2L V8) that had everything I wanted in a modern vehicle and promptly killed it.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I have no love lost for all the wbody impalas or FWD 4 or 6 cylinder engines that have been prevalent in America my whole life. Consumer preference is the reason they exist so as soon as idiots stop buying crossovers and overpriced VWs with fancy lights and rings on the grille, maybe automakers could start producing cars that wow again. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen.

        Lexus had some 500 something another at the auto show I went to over the weekend, base price was nearly $100k, 0-60 was 4.4; which is .1 seconds faster than my car at half that price. This is(was) American performance for several decades. Today we have a Malibu with a 1.5 that can be mistaken for a 1960s VW in the performance department.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      TRM944, there will always be SOME sedans available but they will no longer be the “bread&butter” of the auto industry, as in the past. It’s a trend that has run its course. Everything has its life cycle. Sedans are dying off.

      Since the phasing out of the CrownVic class of vehicles, the four-door pickup trucks, in their various iterations on the same theme, have basically taken their place.

      Add into that the Utility factor of SUVs and CUVs that caused the demise of minivans, and that’ll be the wave of the future for at least two decades. Minivans don’t sell as well as they did 30 years ago, but there are still some around for the die-hard buyers.

      Maybe the next phase in Flying cars.

      Interesting to note that both my daughter and my daughter-in-law currently own a minivan each. But once their kid(s) leave home, those girls will be trading their minivans for (small) four-door trucks or SUVs/CUVs. Honda Ridgeline is an excellent girlie-truck, even for women in the forties.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If the segment is shrinking, by definition that means fewer people care about that fact.

    It’s almost like the evolution away from tail fins of the 1950s – sure, some people were nostalgic for them, but the style simply passed into history. Mid-size sedans are doing the same thing.

    Time to get over it; 58% fewer people actually care than 5 years ago.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Good riddance to FWD 4 cylinder penalty boxes, hello to tall FWD 4 cylinder penalty boxes.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      Now you’re talkin’!

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Looks like Ford and GM were correct! I betcha Honda wishes it had brought over the Acura CDX now.

      Did the Japanese think their superior selling sedans were going to continue to walk on water?

      Truedelta posted on Facebook a month or two ago how high the repair frequency is on the Accord and Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        https://www.truedelta.com/Toyota-Camry/reliability-264

        Looks like every generation of Camry still ranks as best or near best in reliability for each model year. I wouldn’t put anything past True Delta when it comes to editorializing. They were the reliability website that told its readers to buy throwaway junk like Focuses and Cruzes instead of Civics in 2012, after all.

        Ford and GM were apparently correct in making terrible sedans for a few decades, since sedans were bound to lose popularity eventually, Good point.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          In August the 2018 Accord requires repairs 67% more often than average. The the Camry needed 43% more than average.

          https://www.truedelta.com/blog/?p=2107&fbclid=IwAR0GsOk1j0V0KflXsYo7vjyNnd1u_0wkxiqba0rs-EVDhne_KDDJP8UsXR4

          “The fully redesigned Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain…with repair frequencies about less than half of the average. This is a big improvement over the previous generation.”

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        Norm, your implacable J-hate shows that you’re frozen in the ’80s.

        Do you still get great ’80s TV like Night Court, Simon & Simon, WKRP… etc?

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        is Buick dead yet?

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        “Looks like Ford and GM were correct! I betcha Honda wishes it had brought over the Acura CDX now.”

        And Chrysler years ago. Who woulda thought!

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    FWD sedans are for rental agencies. Especially the Camry and Sonata.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Maybe. Midsized sedans were popular with rental agencies because they were popular with customers. Back in the days when the road manners of cars varied more greatly, this rental customer was often pleased to be handed a Grand Prix or Taurus instead of an Escort or Accent. The midsized cars could merge with traffic, even with three people on board. They were quieter and you could lock your stuff in the trunk when you stopped somewhere on your trip. Rental companies could also sell on their midsized sedans, since that was where the lion’s share of the market was. Now that people don’t actually want sedans in the same numbers, rental companies are bound to move onto CUVs because they are what customers now want and they’ll be easier sales as used vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        chiefmonkey

        I only rent sedans because I want a conventional trunk to put my luggage in. I guess many crossovers and SUVs must have luggage covers, but I still prefer a regular old trunk.

    • 0 avatar
      here4aSammich

      I rent almost weekly. I can tell you that National stacks a ton of Fusion hybrids on the Emerald Aisle. I never see a Sonata, and rarely see a Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yeah I expect to see the Rental Fleets start to shift toward Muranos, Edges, Blazers, etc in lieu of midsize sedans as the entrants are killed off one by one.

        Two row vehicles with good luggage space.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Avis is very well stocked with Edges, it’s my standard free upgrade from a fullsize sedan, and I quite like them with the standard 2.0L Ecoboost (all Titanium trim). real world highway mpg falls well short of midsize sedans, but on company gas money I could care less.

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        Go to Florida, can’t go 2 miles without seeing a rental Carmy or Sonata.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Correction: Camry and the Altima.

      And speaking of rental lots, the VW Atlas is a more common sight there than one may think.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      even w/ rental sales, the Camry did worse in 2018 than the Accord – meaning bigger % decline.

  • avatar
    jatz

    What kind of execrable worms would we be if we simply accepted those squashed-down and vision blocking suppositories that CAFE has made of sedans?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The poor design is intended.

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        And it’s already attacking crossovers, SUVs and pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        This is what I don’t get about recent CUV designs like the Evoque. Isn’t the point of a CUV to reclaim the utility that CAFE has stolen from sedans?

        • 0 avatar
          jatz

          But the Evoque buyer adds a monkey wrench to understanding the phenomenon by an elitist dalliance with deliberate impracticality.

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          No, the point of CUVs is that the domestic manufacturers believe they can charge more for a CUV than they could for a compact sedan. Therefore, they lobbied to get CAFE written so as to penalize sedans and reward SUVs. Now CAFE works that way, so the manufacturers plan to market SUVs almost exclusively and neglect sedans. They want to sell as many SUVs as humanly possible to minimize CAFE fines and maximize profits until:
          A.) Consumer tastes change
          B.) The import manufacturers catch up
          C.) CAFE changes
          or
          D.) The auto market implodes

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            “No, the point of CUVs is that the domestic manufacturers…”

            My spine, eyeballs and endocrine system along with those belonging to millions of my fellow Boomers say you’re assigning way too much agency to manufacturers and not enough to our spines, eyeballs and endocrine systems.

            Driving modern sedans hurts, scares and infuriates us.

    • 0 avatar
      JoDa

      Don’t forget NHTSA as well. The Sedan is being legislated out of existence and if you can’t figure that out then there is no helping you.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        “My spine … infuriates us.”

        Fair point, the consumer preference isn’t completely made up here. However, I find some flaws in the “aging bodies” theory. If it’s just about seating position and ease of ingress/egress, minivans should be more popular than they are.

  • avatar
    MartyToo

    Uber (if that is a verb) in NYC and you will likely ride in a Camry, Accord or CRV. The trim level is basic with bizarre leather seating options but there you are. In fact, the number of 2018 and newer Accords in upper Manhattan is remarkable.

    The 2003-2007 Accords are a mainstay for the parked vehicles in Harlem and Washington Heights, too. The need for AWD isn’t serious in NYC and the vehicles that survive are Hondas, Toyotas and similar.

    But upstate where I live it’s all crossover all the time. It is an interesting vote of confidence played out with different needs in different locales. Grab the popcorn.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’m really tired of getting Camrys, Sentras, and Altimas every time I hail a Lyft/Uber when I’m out of town on business.

      Although getting picked up late at night from the airport in Minneapolis I got a Trailblazer with a remarkably well kept interior for its age and doing Lyft-duty.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      My daughter is quite grateful for the 2007 Honda Accord EX-L V6 that had 71k on the odometer when I gave it to her. It’s transportation.

      I think my kids fall into the “millennial” generation, quite frankly, they don’t give a crap about what they drive as long as it’s safe.

      I question their desire to try and get a new sedan, CUV, whatever. Same reason my daughter quit the cheerleading squad and my son has no interest in golf, my Braves, and even driving in to watch a Titans game. A lot of people here seem to think that CUVs are killing sedan sales, maybe they just don’t place a value on what they drive and don’t see ownership of a car as some sort of status symbol.

      But, both of my kids don’t mind using UBER, I get the bill to prove it. My football team gave me 2 tickets to the Super Bowl, and once we were in ATL, all we used was UBER and MARTA.

      My kids couldn’t give a s**t about what they drive.

      • 0 avatar
        cognoscenti

        My kids are getting great cars by osmosis. Unfortunately, it means that they will have to deal with the same addiction as me – count yourself lucky that your kids don’t care what they drive!

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        civicjohn, my grandson in Fallbrook, CA, bought his wife a new 2013 Accord EX-L V6 Automatic and they love it.

        But when their kid gets a little older, like maybe in one or two years, they’re trading their Accord for a Pilot.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Our daughters dream car is a current gen Charger. Preferably one with the SCAT pack.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I guess the question is will sedan sales fall until they reach a steady floor (like the minivan segment) or are they heading to oblivion (like full size wagons)?

    • 0 avatar
      vehic1

      ajla: +1

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      True; I agree that is the question.

      As we know, the number of minivan mfrs is much smaller than 20 years ago. The same will likely happen with sedan mfrs.

      The problem with smaller sedan volume will be slicing their profit margins even thinner than before. Inevitably, some mfrs will bail – Mazda comes to mind first.

      The next move will be to sell only those sedans with margin, and they’ll likely be imported. But the tariff situation could be the last straw to wipe them out altogether.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I think there is a floor. There is still interest in sedans. Look at Tesla. For all the bellyaching over the midsizers, the compacts are doing really well. In the US, the last 3 years of Civic sales have been their best ever, by a wide margin.

      I think what killed midsizers is they just got too effing big. Compacts are right sized and right priced for most people, and most people who want more are jumping to crossovers.

  • avatar
    Kosher Polack

    I would consider an Accord tomorrow if it had a trunk opening big enough to permit a full-size suitcase to pass through. What if there was an Accord Crosstour now that wasn’t so ugly to behold?

    Sedans are dying because they’re all compared to a more pragmatic form factor. It’s not fun, but there it is.

    • 0 avatar
      1500cc

      The hatchback was one of the main reasons I purchased a new Regal GS. I get most of the utility of a CUV (including AWD), but the normal size/shape/CofG of a sedan.

      I hope there’s something similar still available a few years down the road when I’m ready to turn it in.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Any chance you can share your likes/dislikes about your GS? Seat comfort, ride, handling, etc?

        • 0 avatar
          1500cc

          @ jkross22

          I’ve only had the GS for a couple of weeks so I’m still forming impressions. For reference, I came from an ATS 2.0 AWD.

          The seats are excellent. A few reviews talked about it, and they didn’t exaggerate. They really feel like they’re just wrapping perfectly around you.

          The ride is smoother than my ATS, but conversely the handling isn’t as sharp. But I think it’s a better compromise, especially with the GS being about 600 pounds heavier. Whereas I used to subconsciously brace for impact going over things like railway tracks, now the GS just takes them in well-controlled stride. The GS does have settings for its shocks, but I haven’t found them to make much of a difference.

          The 3.6 / 9-speed is a good combination. I never did warm to the slightly odd power delivery of the 2.0 turbo. The V6 feels so much more linear, and the transmission isn’t afraid to let it rev a little (in contrast to so many automatics that just want to get to the highest gear possible). Shift are very smooth and pretty much unnoticeable if you aren’t paying attention.

          So far I’m very happy with it.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Same. If it was just a liftback it would make a lot more sense. That, and some more elegant wheels instead of the retro 80’s directional wheels it comes with.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The current Regal “sedan” being a liftback means it is actually more practical than the closely related (by platform) Malibu.

        • 0 avatar
          jatz

          Liftbacks are great for average, non-bulky loads. Loved them in the ’80s.

          • 0 avatar
            WallMeerkat

            Europeans love liftbacks. The Fusion was sold as a liftback and barely different from the sedan. Regal/Insignia is a liftback. VW sell Skodas with 2 sedan shaped liftbacks Octavia/Superb that are similar to the Jetta/Passat.

            I sometimes wonder if the natural evolution of the SUV is some sort of tall liftback, like the iPace. Batteries under the floor, the height that everybody wants, practical utility, but with some semblance of elegance to the styling.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    What is the amount of all unit sales for the past three years, has it been increasing or contracting each year?

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Hot dang that is awful numbers.

    As mentioned the market share of Accord and Camry are up slightly. I wonder if we like someone mentioned above we will hit a floor. If you want a sedan Honda and Toyota will be the only one a around?

    It is shocking in my city as well. I drive past huge used car lots nearly daily. The posted prices for 2 year old sedans are unbelievably low. A Fusion sticks in my head at I think 13 or 14995 for a 2017. Granted I don’t know the trim but the Fusion is a good sedan. And sitting right next to it are Foresters and a 4Runner of about the same age for 10-15k more asking price. You can’t tell me a Forester is 10k better than a same age Fusion.

    You want a sedan? I think now is really the time. Used market is flooded with low prices. The new cars the automakers haven’t yet figured out how to adjust supply to match cratering demand. They’re dealing a s well.

    And I’ll predict the above numbers in this article will be even worse by 2021. There HAS to be a recession one of these days. We have avoided one for what10 years now? We are over due. The recession is going to hit sedans while their numbers are already in free fall.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      If there is a recession that hits consumers in the pocketbook hard, then won’t the vehicles with the inflated prices get hit the hardest? Couldn’t 50% or more of SUV buyers do just as well with a sedan? Will they do the logical thing and “trade down” or will their reality distortion fields prove too strong to be overcome by reality?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        SPPPP, That’s an interesting question.

        But TODAY’s economy is doing great, yet

        https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/car-payments-missed-credit-scores-171533526.html

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Pre-owned midsize sedan prices have me thinking it’s time for FRS replacement with something more… mature.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Nice to hear from you, Tim. Of course, you were right in all the midsize sedan deathwatch articles, even though most of the B&B stuck their heads in the sand and berated you for it.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Yup. The B&B are still waiting for that European derived, brown, diesel, manual wagon, AWD, V6 non-turbo 500 HP, runs on regular unleaded, gets 30/47/35 MPG, 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, quarter-mile in 11.5, 16″ rimmed, with massive 6-piston Brembos stuffed behind those 16″ rims, the size of a Ford Focus on the outside, the size of a Mercedes S class on the inside, 123 cubic feet of storage capacity behind the rear seat, 10,000 pound towing capacity 5.5 inches of ground clearance yet capable of running through the rutted streets of Detroit without bottoming out, a supple suspension that absorbs all the bumps but turns into an F1 car when the hammer is thrown down, all baby cow interior, rare Brazilian hardwood dash hand rubbed by virgins, no safety equipment like stability control, ability to be broadsided by a tank but with the greenhouse of a 1980s sedan, no more than $20,000 new – and oh – I’ll only buy it used CPO, for $10,000, because that’s all it’s worth – and there better be a 0% lease deal at $169 a month and $2000 cash on the hood. It must go 30,000 miles between oil changes, and require no maintenance of any kind until 200K miles, with an expected lifespan of 25 years or 500K miles – with styling as equally timeless.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      I remain fond of the B&B regardless.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I look forward to buying an acccord with a GM – style discount.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ya, good luck with that…you’ll be waiting for a looooooooooooooooong time.

    • 0 avatar
      whynotaztec

      It’s funny you mention that. I was shopping almost 2 years ago and really wanted the Impala. There were slim pickings and the deals wer not good. I ended up in a 17 accord hybrid with a 33k sticker for a 250 per month lease with nothing down. No Chevy or Ford could touch that.

  • avatar
    4drSedan

    Yay! That means more bargaining power for me in the short term. I do see that with the exception of the Accord, innovation in this segment has nearly ground to a halt. I don’t expect to see any remarkable new sedans coming out for a long time.

    Since my wife is in the market again (and my bias has influenced her bias) we will have our choice of several good deals on some mostly good options. The current crop of midsized sedans is (to me at least) pretty appealing.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    How are full size sedans faring? I’m embarrassed to admit that the new Avalon looks good inside and out to me and that I’d actually put it on my must drive list if it offered awd.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Chrysler 300 – announced dead
      Chevy Impala – announced dead
      Buick LaCrosse – announced dead
      Hyundai Azera – already killed
      Honda – doesn’t play
      Nissan Maxima – dead car walking and shell of former self
      Toyota Avalon – now that Nissan backed away from fleet sales on the Maxima…
      Dodge Charger – alive and kicking
      Kia Cadenza – when is the last time you saw one on the road?

      Fullsize cars are in far worse shape. There are big deals to be had buying a lightly used version versus new.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      @jkross

      Turrrrrible…

      I think part of GMs rationale is to see if killing the Impala boosts Malibu sales. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the next gen of Malibu (if it survives) grows to try to bridge the gap between midsize and full size.

      Also interesting to see if the death of the Lacrosse does anything positive for Regal sales.

      Ford simply expects that you’ll buy a CUV/SUV instead of the Fusion or the Taurus.

      I’m going to be shopping right about the time several of the midsize/full size entrants that are marked for death are being executed. It will be interesting to see what sorts of deals are available.

      If you wanted a leftover 2018 Regal or TourX you’ll get a heady discount now. No discounts at all on 2019s because they’re that desperate to clear out the 2018s.

      (FWIW the XTS offers an AWD version and the CPO models are stupid cheap compared to new.)

      • 0 avatar
        Gersch Schauff

        I agree. I also think (hope) that the development budget for the next Malibu will strengthen thanks to the elimination of slow-selling full-size models.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    And I was roasted last week by the B&B for dare suggesting this.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Reasons sedans are dying:

    1) Lower to the ground, you are blinded by the headlights of oncoming SUVs and trucks at night. Driving a sedan today is a chore at night

    2) CAFE standards have resulted in low roof lines for backseat passengers and narrow trunk openings

    3) Crash standards have resulted in massive A and C pillars coupled with shallow greenhouses

    4) Pedestrian and CAFE standards have resulted in all sedans looking the same

    5) Improvements in engine technology and transmission has resulted in a shrinking MPG benefit of sedan vs comparable CUV/SUV built on a shared platform

    6) More profit in building a CUV/SUV on the shared platform than a sedan

    7) Marketing convincing buyers that AWD = safer = always (not completely untrue but overstated) and not all sedans come with an AWD configuration

    8) Bloated American buyers with the current obesity and disability epidemic find CUV/SUV/truck easier to get in and out of

    9) Continued growth of fullsize trucks and SUVS in particular make driving anything smaller than a midsizer scary to less experienced driver (e.g. people who don’t read TTAC).

    On point 9 my Chevy Avalanche was parked next to the current version Tacoma and I was gob smacked at how the Tacoma crewcab was almost as big visually. Next to the Tacoma was a Tundra that dwarfed my Avalanche visually and next to the Tundra was a 3/4 ton RAM that was just — outrageously sized.

    • 0 avatar
      Jerome10

      I think you’re right but I’ll counter my experience in 2 Lexus crossovers on highway MPG has been truly awful and nowhere near a sedan.

      Father has a last gen RX. If I get 22 on the highway I’m lucky. My sister then has the new NX with the turbo 4. It gets no better. In fact last long trip the car showed 21.5mpg. Last year I drove a suburban from Florida to Michigan with the back filled with some furniture. I pulled down over 23mpg in that monster with a V8.

      Contrast that with a new Camry I had a bit over a year ago on a trip from Arizona to Idaho and it pulled 38mpg for the trip.

      We’re still talking nearly double here for the sedan, real world.

      Granted small sample size but I was shocked how good the Camry was and how awful even the compact crossover with a 2L 4 cylinder was.

      City driving I bet the difference isn’t as significant. But highway aerodynamics it seems still really matter.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Agreed. Those claiming SUVs are just as gas efficient as cars are buying the hype more than the actual data.

        How much more gas efficient is a Mazda 6 Turbo vs the CX5 turbo? Real world numbers, not the faux numbers that the EPA test shows.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          I never made any such claim.

          “…Improvements in engine technology and transmission has resulted in a shrinking MPG benefit of sedan vs comparable CUV/SUV built on a shared platform…”

          “shrinking MPG benefit”

          That’s a factual statement. Sedan based MPG has only gotten incrementally better in the last 10 years (let’s take hybrids off the table so we compare apples to apples) while CUV/SUV MPG has improved far faster in the last 10 years.

          The benefit gap is shrinking and gas is cheap right now.

    • 0 avatar

      Crappy roads and low travel speeds. I leave the nice car at home if I venture into NYC-and take my 10 year old truck. Even though I drive “not drunk I’m avoiding potholes” I still have enough hits and near misses that could easily be an $800 day with the nice car. If I had a one car household and live more urban, I’d find a CUV with some HP and live with it. Low profile tires ? RFT ? Hell no, I want the big doughnuts with fat sidewalls, and enough suspension travel for the 3D roads of NYC.

    • 0 avatar
      Gersch Schauff

      8) Bloated American buyers with the current obesity and disability epidemic find CUV/SUV/truck easier to get in and out of.

      This point is ridiculous. Obesity has nothing to do with it. It’s how low to the ground the car is, and how narrow parking spaces are in parking lots that crowd cars together like sardines. Buying a truck doesn’t solve this obesity claim you make. They’re even wider and more difficult to get out of in a packed parking lot. SUV’s and trucks have gained favor because you can buy a refrigerator and not have to pay an insane deliver charge. You can buy a massive 70″ TV and not have to strap it to the roof of the car and pray to the gods that it doesn’t fall off. Trucks and SUV’s also typically handle North America’s crumbling highways and streets much better than a car does. What sense does it make to buy a Camry when a midsize SUV gets fairly similar fuel economy while also offering a massive increase in space and comfort.

  • avatar
    John R

    Sigh. This is lamentable,…but these deals are hard to ignore…
    cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/747245301/overview/

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      The interior color is dark earth gray. That’s really what Ford calls it.

      And look at that radio display!!!! Ford interiors are so drab and depressing that it’s no surprise these just sat and sat.

      Fusion is not a bad car, but the interior sure is.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        So it’s BORING!

        Just keep slapping that accelerator and you won’t care how dull looking it is.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @jkross22

        I have to agree. I really like the Fusion, it has been for more than a decade my favorite midsize rental. When I get the keys to a Fusion I know, even in stripper trim, it will be a nice drive. I feel the same way about the Ford Edge.

        However, the interiors are monochromatic – and my last Fusion was a sea of buttons that would make a 1990 Pontiac blush with envy.

        Second point – when I’ve gone home and configured out the price for the rentals I’ve had, especially when well equipped my immediate reaction has consistently been, “no way am I paying that for a Fusion [or Edge].”

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “This is lamentable”

      Sure is; anther grand and you could have a brand new RAV4. Two grand more and you get body molding and splashguards!

  • avatar
    NiceCar

    My Camry lease is up at the end of August. I don’t want to buy it out, and was thinking of transitioning to a CUV like so many others after a lifetime (30 driving years) of sedans. Though, I’m not THAT invested in the CUV idea, and purchasing a sedan is a possibility – could probably get a heck of a deal if I decide to go that route.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The sales curve looks similar to the minivan market of 15-20 years ago.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’d argue the biggest midsize sedan killer is the compact car. Compact sedans are basically midsize, with the refinement and performance we’d associate with midsize cars from ~10-15 years ago, and the latest in safety tech.

    Sales wise, the Civic in particular has been doing well, surpassing the Accord for the first time with this 10th generation and achieving its best US sales numbers ever in 2017. Corolla hasn’t done as well, I think in part because Toyota hasn’t offered a more powerful engine in it. Truthfully, I’m drawing a blank on a better value than a Civic EX-T/Si. We are not far from the next version… all they have to do is clean up the looks and they will have a slam dunk. I could see it cresting the 400K mark, unfortunately at the Accord’s expense.

    • 0 avatar
      Raevox

      I’d have to agree, on this. I considered the Sontata 2.0T, especially after the refresh… but it didn’t offer me any tangible benefits over my Elantra that I would care about (which BTW is actually classified as a midsize, based on interior volume), and was a larger car than I needed without really any equipment or options I couldn’t get on an Elantra. My Value Edition is pretty well equipped for a mid trim. Probably a moot point now anyhow, considering I’m in the market for a hatchback and I compromised on a sedan because I liked the Elantra so much.

      The Elantra is the perfect size [sedan] for me.

      It reminds me of older VWs when their vehicles were all kind of “tweener” sizes. The Jetta was a perfect fit. The Jetta now is too large.

      Midsize cars now push the limit of Full Size classification, and I don’t want a Fullsize car. I cart 4 people around about a handful of times per year, max. Don’t need or want the extra space.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        The odd thing is many midsizers are not super space efficient. My Optima and the current Maxima feel no bigger inside than my G37 sedan did, despite having the advantages of FWD. Only upside of midsizers is width, which is only important if you regularly carry 5 passengers (which most people don’t). Well, and if you have a rear facing infant seat. But it’s probably better to get the convertible seat first.

        I hope to get a “compact” car next go round.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      In Europe the Civic grew up a size and has became the defacto Accord (Acura TSX) replacement.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    The upcoming Sonata redesign has to be a home run. Both style and engines/transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I promise you it will be. I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy, who knows a guy’s cousin they said it’s going to be magical.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Don’t know about the grille shape (based on the latest renderings), but the rest of the Sonata looks to be an improvement (esp. the interior).

      Will also be getting the new Theta III 2.5L.

      However, don’t think it will totally impede declining sales; albeit much of the Sonata’s decline recently has been to Hyundai cutting back on fleet.

      Also doesn’t help that H/K will be adding a slew of new or updated CUVs.

      Sonata/Optima sales are pretty much back to where they have been – 3rd after the Camry and Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        It looks like the Sonata/Optima are going to grow even bigger, which will further kill their appeal.

        Now that they have the 1.6T in the Elantra/Forte, for me the Sonata/Optima have no reason to exist. And I own an Optima

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I only feel bad for Mazda6. Best sedan out there but will go first

  • avatar
    Carrera

    It almost makes me think that automakers do this by design. Well, Honda at least. They take out the 6 cylinder out of the Accord and now just offer it in the Pilot/Passport/Ridgeline/Oddysey. They lowered the car so much that’s almost uncomfortable to get in and out of it when compared to the previous generation.
    You don’t like it? We have a Passport for you. Their production line is very flexible. They can switch easily from making Accords to making Pilots/Passports. No need to discount or do fleet sales.

  • avatar
    Tennessee_Speed

    I must be swimming upstream. I recently bought a ’19 VW Jetta R-Line. Why? I put a big premium on handling and this car delivers. Better handling than my ex Lexus IS250 & BMW 3 series. Real city & highway mileage: Low 30s to 44 mpg. I just don’t like driving a big car. I have no regrets.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    wow! people have finally learned that a rear hatch is infinitely more versatile than a trunk! and a slightly raised vehicle is a lot easier to get into and out of than a lower vehicle. thats basically all it is, folks.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    The stylists from the Art Center College of Design and the College for Creative Studies are winning:
    – Lower-than-ever H points
    – Higher beltline/lower roofline/smaller greenhouse/excessive tumblehome
    – Ever-reduced rear visibility
    – Maximum grillage, random character lines, cartoonish dents and bulges (this is ‘reach’ – it is a ‘win’)
    – Impossibly tiny and unusable interior storage cubbies forced by meaningless stylistic swoops
    – Impractical tire aspect ratios (with bonus points for higher unsprung weight)

    ‘Midsize sedan’ consumers are losing:
    – ‘I feel like I’m sitting on the ground’
    – ‘I can’t see out of the vehicle’
    – ‘I can’t carry anything in the car’ (interior storage, also trunk space)
    – ‘The vehicle rides roughly on the roads I drive on’
    – Ease of entry/egress
    – ‘The _______ looks weird’

    If the vehicle looks ‘amazing’ (i.e., matches the drawings you made when you were 12 and bored in school) but is not usable, it will not sell in numbers large enough to remain viable. This was proven in minivans and is being proven in midsize sedans.

    Hint: “Industrial Design” is very different than “Styling”.

    Not sure why this industry has a death wish.

    (Heads up: The stylists are coming for your truck – check out that grille.)

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      ToolGuy pretty much summed it up. That’s how I feel about most midsize sedans today. Very accurate description.

    • 0 avatar
      Good ole dayz

      Amen.

      The new vehicles are ever-uglier — I refer to it as the “Angry Arthropod School of Design.”

      Meanwhile, pickup trucks have become a caricature of themselves: dimensioned / sized way beyond utility; truck bed sides above eye-level, much less useful for loading in to without a step ladder; cabs that resemble voodoo shrunken-heads in comparison to the high hood heights and exaggerated engine compartments up front.

      Oh, and then the gaudy, grossly oversized grilles, apparently intended to appeal to the crowd that’s in to 2 x 4 sized belt buckles.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m personally amused that we went from all things SUV all the time to all things CUV all the time. SUVs got too big and unwieldy for a significant portion of the driving public, but riding higher was preferable, so CUVs come in and are smaller and easier to handle. Then CUVs stretch the envelope, get too big and now more compact CUVs come in that are barely discernible from compact hatchbacks.

    The cycle continues. 1930s proportions FTW.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Off topic…

    Tim, GCBC has really gone to the dogs since you left it. It’s gotten to where I’m not sure whether the data that’s there – if it’s there at all – is trustworthy. Glad to see you appear here, though.

  • avatar
    crispin001

    Bought my sister’s 2018 Accord LX on the east coast to save money. On the drive back to Colorado, topped out on one stretch in Ohio at 43.6mpg (yeah, yeah, the dash indicator is usually above the actual mpg) with no wind and occasional A/C use. I was only going 65mph because I wasn’t in a hurry.

    I’d gladly sit on the ground for that mpg in a big car. I hate buying gas. However, that nifty little 1.5L turbo seems to have gas in the oil at 4,000 miles.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    I got why people are dumping midsize sedans after I replaced my grand marquis with an accord. UTILITY. THE accord is better in every way except 1. Utility. The trunk of the grand marquis was like a pickup truck bed and i used it as such throughout my ownership. People get the same utility from a crv. Really..its been said before… were only going back to the designs of the 30s and 40s before style was put ahead of utility in the 50s.

    Oh i got an acord cuz my other cars an odyssey…best utilty family hauler ever.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Camry suffered a bigger % drop in 2018 than the Accord, even w/ all those Camry fleet sales

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The new Camry is too ugly to sell well. On purpose maybe?

    I guess if we can’t get a midsized sedan a minivan is in order. Much more practical than a CUV. Or when the kids are out of the house, a Challenger.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Mid-size used to be where the action was. If you were lower middle class there was a six-cyl post sedan for you, middle class, a pillar-less sedan or even a coupe with a small V8, doing well, a V8, A/C power windows and maybe even a big-block. The segment once covered a range of incomes, needs and aspirations. Now entire platforms cover specific markets. I also think the manufacturers engage in a lot of predetermined outcomes, they make a killing off CUVs so that’s what they push. As for Toyota, if they want a mid size success, all they had to do was put grey well-opening cladding on the Venza, instant success.

  • avatar

    At the end of the day the reason GM and Ford are getting out of the sedan business is due to the superiority of comparable Toyota, Nissan, and Honda cars. You know GM is in trouble when they can’t even compete with the Sentra and Altima.

    Toyota has no problem selling close to a million Camrys, Corollas and RAV4s a year. If you have not noticed Toyota has surpassed GM as the world’s top car maker nearly a decade ago. In fact GM has dropped to 4th place.

    Boy, they suck.


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