The death of the American sedan, take three

Discussion in 'Motorized Vehicles' started by Mitlov, Nov 26, 2018.

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  1. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    First, Chrysler Group killed the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, and the Charger/300's fate is uncertain when this generation ends. Then, Ford killed every darned sedan in its lineup, from subcompact to full-size. And now, GM is killing the Cruze, the Volt, and every single large sedan in its lineup (Impala, LaCrosse, XTS, CT6). (Keeping the Malibu and the Regal for the moment, though).

    The argument is "Americans just don't buy sedans anymore." Curiously, though, import brands selling in the USA aren't following suit (with the sole exception of Mitsubishi). Nissan's not cutting the Sentra or Altima. Toyota just released new Camry and Avalon and Corolla models. VW has a new Jetta and a new premium sedan (the Arteon). Kia has a new Forte, an updated Optima, still has the Cadenza, and now has the Stinger. Hyundai's new Genesis luxury brand only has sedans. Etc.

    So...am I the only person out here who still likes sedans, and thinks that the Detroit Three are making a big mistake here? Sure, sales aren't quite as good as they used to be thanks to compact crossovers, but nobody killed all their compact crossovers when midsize sedans outsold them. So why kill all your sedans just because crossovers have taken the lead as #1-best-selling model?
     
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  2. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Toyota, VW, Nissan, and Honda all have billions of dollars in the bank, so they can afford to have products that aren't selling as well and/or are not as profitable. The Detroit three don't have that luxury so they need to focus their resources on where they can make the most money, which is in CUVs and full-size pickups. I'm not saying I like what they've done, but this is the unfortunate reality of the world in which these brands are living.

    Hyundai is going to be in for a world of hurt because its product lineup is too car heavy. The only reason its sales have not fallen off a cliff is because of the Kona (subcompact CUV). The Genesis brand is down 42 percent year over year, and their CUV is at least another 12-18 months away. Hyundai's mishandling of Genesis' launch can't entirely account for such a steep fall-off.
     
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  3. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    I honestly think American cars were a troubling value proposition... I think they can still exist, but they need to change something... Either looks, quality, or both.

    Japanese cars are known to be more reliable and had some pretty solid redesigns (the Camry for example honestly looks pretty good right now, it has some great color options too imo).

    And then if customers are willing to spend more money the German brands are the go to over Cadillac and Lincoln. I'm honestly more surprised by a Cadillac CTS than a Mercedes S Class despite the S costing way way more.

    The trucks and pick ups from what I see on the road are a lot more American. Sure you'll see Toyota Tacos etc... But I see more F150s and Rams in my area at least.

    Camry

    Malibu

    The Toyota just looks like a nicer car... When I see one it looks modernly stylish... The Chevy still kinda looks almost last gen and boxy. Some of the sport Camrys actually look even nicer too with more aggressive colors and front ends. The rear end on the Camry is also very very different from the last gen Camry.

    Part of the reason might be that Toyota can share its bodies between Lexus and Toyota so the Camry benefits from that cost savings. The Camry front end is like a covered Lexus ES.

    Camry Interior

    Malibu Interior

    The Chevy just looks cheaper despite being the same price bracket (and that was the nicest looking Malibu interior I could find, the Camry has some even nicer looking leather options/colors).

    American cars need to find what they're good at again. In the past American cars were known for being big muscle cars with flash. The current Camero looks like a plastic match box car compared to those old models.

    The Charger and 300 seem to have been doing slightly better and I think the 300 was one of America's most unique looking cars. There aren't really any foreign models that have the same looks as it. It was boxy yet still pretty modern and high end looking. I've seen a lot of modded 300s too.
     
  4. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    Is the Kona actually selling? I've seen like maybe 1 or 2 on the road. Genesis is certainly struggling yet I've seen more of them than Konas.
     
  5. killkenny1

    killkenny1 Too weird to live, too rare to die.

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    Nope, you're not the only one. I also like sedans, but I'm from Europe, and sedans are still in moderate demand here.

    Not to mention Toyota, VAG, Honda, etc. are pretty active in all major markets (Americas, Europe, Asia), so, like you have said, they can afford to have a varied model lineup, and try to offer some of the models even in markets where they are less popular, whereas American car manufacturers are not particularly popular outside of the US...
     
  6. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    The Detroit Three are all still making pony cars, so killing off mainstream sedans is more than just concentrating on crossovers and trucks.

    The one-year-42% Genesis drop is based off of legal problems related to them creating separate dealerships and has nothing to do with model lineups. Right now they can't sell ANY model 2019 Genesis-branded cars in California or Florida or several other states. The issue will be fixed in a few months.

    Alex on Autos has a good explanation of the legal issues:
     
  7. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    I'd call the Chrysler 300 the love-child of an Audi A8 (the ones from the last decade, not the current decade) and a Bentley Continental Flying Spur. I really like it, don't get me wrong, but its styling does have some precedent:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    Its what happens when the salesman only think of those cars as 0 profit margin vehicles that sell themselves.
     
  9. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Muscle car shoppers are not price sensitive like those who buy sedans. Any current Mustang, Camaro, or Challenger can set you back $50,000 or more so you can still make a good margin even at a lower sales volume.

    Brand equity also plays a part. Performance car buyers are a lot like pickup owners in that they are extremely loyal. If Ford were to drop the Mustang, you can guarantee that F-150 sales would also suffer. The Focus and Fusion? Not so much.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  10. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    I don't really see the resemblance with the Audi to be honest. The A8 is rather similar to other Audis in that years lineup and is still a lot smoother than the 300 was at that time. The 300 was still really boxy with a more pronounced front end. The Bentley I agree 100%. Pretty sure that's what it was going for even. I've even seen 300s with Bentley and Rolls Royce fake badges on them haha. But those are such a higher price bracket that I didn't really count them. I was more thinking 300 level pricing and out right now.
     
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