U.S. automakers have nearly waved goodbye to the passenger car market, save for a few outliers. At Ford, it’s breathing a sigh of relief as the latest data shows Americans still continue to flock toward SUVs and trucks.
The Detroit Free Press reported on the automaker’s sentiment on Thursday and the data was all good news for Ford and other automakers selling more SUVs than cars. The passenger car market has steadily declined since 2012 when the vehicles made up 49 percent of new cars sold. In 2018, passenger cars shrunk to 30 percent of the market. In the first three months of 2019, the decline continues.
Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, told the newspaper the shift to SUVs is a “generational” one and believes the move is permanent in the U.S. market. “It won’t bounce back with an oil shock,” the executive added.
Consumers famously downsized their automobiles following the Great Recession at the end of the 2000s. SUVs and trucks were quickly traded in for compact cars and sedans, which returned far better fuel economy.
Today, many crossovers and SUVs return comparable fuel economy to sedans, though not all of them.
GM announced last November that it would almost entirely exit the passenger car market with the end of Chevrolet Cruze, Volt, Impala, and Buick LaCrosse production. The Cadillac CT6 was also included in the announcement, but recent reports indicate the CT6 could live on. GM will sell sedans with the Cadillac brand and the Chevrolet Malibu. Otherwise, GM will be made up entirely of SUVs and trucks.
Where the sedan market bottoms out is unclear since foreign automakers have largely dominated the segment for decades. Cars like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Corolla, and Civic remain big sellers, though they too have seen slumps in recent years.
Source: The Detroit Free Press