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Is The Slow Death Of The Sedan Happening Right Before Our Eyes?

When the SUV takes over, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.

In the late 80s, it was considered attractive to sport the all-American jock look that included gelled hair, bulging muscles, and "Baywatch" tans, but in the 2010s that all changed. Now it’s about the beards, flannels, and man buns because the conventional clean cut style is out and lumber sexual is in. Clothes and hairstyles aren’t the only things that change with the times, so does the preferred type of car. Right now we are undergoing one such change as automakers (such as Buick) come to grips with the sedan recession of the mid 2010s.

Automakers are eager to cash in on the SUV and truck sales boom, but that rise in large car sales means that the sedan is on the decline. In 2013, sedans accounted for half of all new cars sales in the US. For the most part, sedans offered everything that consumers needed. They were practical, had enough capability for city driving, could carry a family, and had ample cargo space. Nowadays, consumer’s day-to-day needs haven’t deviated much from the original formula that was easily handled by the sedan, but tastes have changed. As Gary Uftring, president of Uftring Auto Group in Peoria, Illinois, told Automotive News, "Styling has changed, and what people want to be seen in is a crossover or a sport utility."

The new trend has made it so that during this past May, sedans accounted for only 41% of new car sales in the US. What’s more is that the sedan apocalypse doesn’t discriminate against any class of sedan, luxury, compact, or otherwise. Even hugely popular models like the Toyota Camry and Prius fell to lows not seen since 2011, while the BMW 5 Series and Ford Focus and Fusion saw horrid drops of up to 20%. This isn’t a bad thing for automakers because crossover and SUV sales remain strong enough to keep the trend of total vehicle sales going up. Companies that have strong SUV lineups are seeing the greatest benefits from this shift in power. Hopefully the trend finds a point of balance because we don't need to crowd our roads with more huge SUVs.

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