Popularity of Midsize Sedans Reaches Historic Low | Edmunds

Popularity of Midsize Sedans Reaches Historic Low

After holding the title of best-selling vehicle type in the U.S. for 20 of the last 27 years, midsize sedans have now plunged dramatically in popularity.

So far in 2017, midsize sedans have tumbled to fifth place in sales, behind compact SUVs, large pickups, midsize SUVs and compact cars. Market share for the midsize four-doors is now a meager 10.7 percent, the segment's lowest share since Edmunds began its tracking in 1991.

"While it's common for consumer tastes to change over time, it's surprising to see just how quickly shoppers have made the switch from sedans to SUVs," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis. "As recently as three years ago, the Accord made up nearly 30 percent of all of Honda's sales in the U.S., and so far in 2017 it's down to 22 percent. Now that shoppers can get an SUV for a similar price as a sedan, and not have to pay much more at the pump, it's hard to convince them the smaller vehicle is a better choice."

The Honda Accord and its perennial rival, the Toyota Camry, are both all-new for the 2018 model year. Both feature edgier styling intended to convey a sportier image for what had traditionally been fairly conservative designs. And although their sales have declined, they've pulled significantly ahead of their competitors and are locked in a battle to capture the attention of shoppers who still favor midsize sedans as their vehicle of choice.

But even if the new Accord and Camry launch with rave reviews from media and car buyers, Edmunds analysts say it's highly unlikely the midsize sedan segment will return to its former glory any time soon. Nearly one-quarter (23.5 percent) of midsize sedan owners who trade their cars in for a new vehicle purchase a compact SUV, a figure that was 16.9 percent just three years ago.

"Even if gas prices spike and the economy takes a downward turn, we don't see this trend reversing," Caldwell said. "Once someone gets used to the higher ride, extra space and creature comforts they can get in an SUV, it's almost a fool's errand to convince them to go back to a sedan."

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