Family Sedans Sell While Sports Cars Stumble, Reports Edmunds' AutoObserver
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — May 24, 2010 — Would you rather drive a sports car or a family sedan? Edmunds' AutoObserver.com reports that cautious car buyers re-entering the market are largely gravitating to midsize sedans while most sports cars are barely moving off the dealership lots.
"Speculation has long held that crossovers would cause serious erosion of the midsize sedan market, but sedans are remarkably popular with car-buyers today," noted Edmunds' AutoObserver.com Senior Editor Bill Visnic in his full report on the subject. "April and year-to-date sales show the segment on its way to perhaps some of its best results in a long while."
Data from Edmunds.com indicate that midsize cars currently account for 17.8 percent of total U.S. market share. It had been as low as 13.3 percent in 2005, and has gained every year since, in part because of compelling new offerings in the segment.
Honda Accord and Toyota Camry retain their positions as best-sellers, but much of the segment's largest gains came from two less-established models: the 2010 Ford Fusion is up over 50 percent over last year and the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is up 34 percent over last year.
The redesigned Subaru Legacy is perhaps the most remarkable contributor, with an 87 percent increase over last year. Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat are also generating relatively strong sales results.
And what about the sexier sports car segment?
"Muscle cars are moving okay, but the rest of the sports car market is stuck in neutral," reported Visnic. "A 1,000-unit-per-month pace for a given sports car is becoming the norm, leaving some to wonder how long some automakers will – or can – support such frivolities, the cost-saving advantages of increased platform-sharing notwithstanding."
But far more common are stories of challenging days. In 2009, Chevrolet's Corvette endured its worst sales year in 50 years, and so far this year, sales are down even further. Mazda Miata is experiencing among the lowest sales in the brand's 20-year history and the barely-selling Mazda RX-8 may soon be discontinued. Sales of the Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster, the Nissan 370Z and the Nissan GT-R are down over 40 percent year-over-year — and 2009 is a terrible point of comparison. Every Porsche is down from last year as well.
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Edmunds.com Inc. publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. CarSpace is the most established automotive social networking Web site. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.