RAV4s are now selling better than Camrys. No joke.
This really isn't a new phenomenon but the latest numbers are confirming what we've long suspected: the mid-size family sedan is losing its appeal, at least for American buyers. According to Automotive News even automaker incentives aren't working. For example, "midsize car sales fell 3.4 percent in the first quarter (of 2016), 13 percent in the second quarter and 21 percent so far in the third, compared to last year."
Specifically, sales of the likes of the Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima have gone down more than 30 percent. Even sales for the Chrysler 200, which will soon be given the axe, have decreased by two thirds. Automotive News delved deep and says that "across all 16 midsize nameplates, the declines averaged 27 percent, a loss of more than 600,000 units." However, compact car sales, such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic, have slightly increased. So what's essentially killing midsize car sales? You guessed it – crossovers and SUVs, specifically the former. Midsize sedan buyers "see more value in the SUVs or CUVs," according to a co-owner of a New Jersey Hyundai dealership.
And get this: compact crossovers are expected to become the numero uno sales segment for the first time this year. Midsize sedans? Dropping to fourth, despite those incentives. Even a Toyota executive predicted late last year that the RAV4 will surpass Camry sales at some point. That happened last month for the first time. So, will the midsize sedan go the way of the dodo? No need to write any obituaries just yet (back in 2007 many predicted the SUV wouldn't last because of soaring gas prices), but numbers don't lie. Sedan-based CUVs are simply more appealing these days.