May 2018

The Sedan; a Dying Breed?

As SUV’s, crossovers, and trucks continue to overtake the market, manufactures are responding by announcing some pretty substantial changes to their model lineups. With the fuel economy of these larger vehicles constantly improving, the major downfall they had is becoming less of a consideration for consumers. And while manufacturers announcing changes to their offerings is nothing new, the extent at which models are currently being cut, sedans in particular, is very interesting.

Ford Chopping Their Sedan Offerings

Ford recently announced that they’re working to phase out the majority of their sedans by 2020, including the Fiesta, Taurus, C-Max, and Fusion. The Fusion Hybrid is also expected to be on the list of cuts. This would leave the Mustang and the Focus as the only coupe/sedan offerings in the Ford lineup.

The idea of cutting off the Fusion, which was just named the 2017 Fleet Car of the Year, does sound a bit out there. But Ford is projecting that 90% of their North American portfolio will consist of trucks, commercial vehicles, and utilities by 2020. However, it’s also easy to imagine a not-so-distant future that entails Ford announcing an all-new, completely revamped Fusion.

With Ford cutting the majority of their sedans, this brings into question the fate of the Lincoln lineup. There have been some rumors that the recently revamped Continental is already on the way out after this current generation runs its course, possibly in 2020. The rest of the Lincoln lineup is seemingly safe for the time being.

Others Trimming Lineups

FCA has been SUV and truck focused for some time now. After cutting both the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart a few years ago, they shifted their focus to the Jeep brand. While FCA still rolls out new 300’s, it’s safe to ponder the longevity of that model as well.

It was also just announced that Cadillac is ending production of the ATS sedan after the 2018 model year. This comes after the model was first introduced just six years ago. But ATS sales dropped by 37% during 2017, making the model the logical first step in reducing their sedan offerings.

There are rumors of other GM models potentially on the chopping block, including the Impala, Volt, and Sonic.  The Buick Regal, as well as the Cadillac CTS and XTS are also potentially in danger of being dropped in the coming years. Although the fate of these models is mostly speculation at this point, when considering the current trend it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of these offerings get the axe.

However, GM responded to these rumors by claiming that they’ll remain committed to the sedan segment and will not follow both Ford and FCA’s approach of being truck and SUV-centric. We should know soon enough if that’s actually the case.

Land of the Sedan-Free

An important aspect of this shift is that all of these manufacturers are US-based. Yes, the foreign manufacturers are very SUV and crossover focused as well, but we have not heard of news regarding the end of the Camry, Civic, Accord, Corolla, Maxima, etc…

This change in US-based lineups should only help to further the market share of the already popular sedan producers in Honda and Toyota.

Cyclical Habits

As with most things in the automotive industry, buyer habits tend to work in cycles. The sedan’s time in the spotlight is ending for now. But as we’ve seen in the past it’s only a matter of time before habits shift and people are lining up to buy the latest sedans, wagons, or hybrids. Time will tell is that’s the case for the sedan.

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