America’s love affair with midsize sedans has ended a long time ago, right about when crossovers and SUVs started their assault on the market.
While everyone knows the market for midsize passenger cars is shrinking each year, it’s pretty shocking to look at the current sales figures and compare them to those from a decade ago. TTAC did just that and the numbers paint a gloomy picture for the future of midsize sedans in the United States.
Americans are likely to buy and lease fewer than 1.4 million midsize cars in 2019. That’s 15-percent fewer vehicles than in 2009 when the Great Recession was in full swing. While the sales decline is not that shocking, the drop in market share really is.
Before the economic collapse, midsize cars accounted for 16 percent of the U.S. automotive market’s volume. That figure now stands at 8 percent, which effectively means the market share for midsize cars shrunk by 50 percent.
The downward trend does not seem to be stopping soon. In the last year alone, the midsize segment’s market share has fallen by more than half a percentage point. Meanwhile, through the first three-quarters of 2019, midsize volume is down nearly 7 percent in a market that’s down less than 2 percent year-over year.
All midsize sedan models are losing sales, with one curious exception, the Ford Fusion. Nearing the end of its lifecycle, the Fusion is seeing a dead cat bounce causing an artificial spike in sales. Models such as the Hyundai Sonata, Subaru Legacy, Mazda6, and VW Passat have seen double-digit year-over-year percentage loses this year, with the German model “leading” the way with a 61 percent decline.
Things are not looking great for the segment leaders either. Although recently redesigned, the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima lost a combined 22,000 sales over the last nine months. Despite that, their market share in the shrinking segment is rising from 56 percent in 2018 to 59 percent this year.
So is there a ray of hope on the horizon for midsize sedans? As things stand at the moment, not really – unless of course you believe that the slower market share decline in 2019 compared to the previous four years, is good news.