Sales in the mid-sized segment fell by 1% compared to 2014. This means that this once-largest segment fell further behind the compact SUV segment, as families continue abandoning their trusted sedans for trendy, spacious and equally-affordable crossovers. Part of the reason for this tardy performance is that most of the segment leaders are getting on in age, while the cars that have come out in recent years failed to capture the buyers’ imagination.
Just like in the compact segment, Toyota and Honda lock out the top two sales spots. The Camry, helped by a thorough refresh in 2014, held well onto its consumers, with sales pretty much the same in 2015 as they were the year prior. This is a much better performance than managed by the Accord, whose sales fell by 8% year-on-year. However, a facelifted version of the model went on sale in the fall of 2015 and the early signs are that it is tempting some of the customers back – its sales in Q4 2015 were 8% higher than in the same period in 2014.
Just in time, as the third-placed Nissan Altima closed to a little over 20,000 units of the Accord in 2015, and may yet overtake it in 2016. Whether this happens depends in large part on whether consumers find the recently-revealed facelift a success, though if our readers’ response is anything to go by then the Altima is on the right path. Following the Altima closely is the Ford Fusion, another model that has been facelifted for 2016, though it’ll take a sharp eye to tell the difference between the pre- and post-facelift models.
The Hyundai Sonata sits in fifth position, having lost 2% of sales since 2014. This is a pretty bad performance for the car that in its previous generation was a darling of the segment, but whose latest conservative iteration has failed to capture the buyers’ imagination. This is in fact a similar story to the sixth-placed Chevy Malibu, whose outgoing generation is widely acknowledged to have been a step back for the model. The good news for Chevy is that clear-out sales incentives have helped the model pick up an additional 3% of sales in 2015 (including a staggering 122% growth in October), but even more importantly that the new-for-2016 generation looks like a return to form for Chevy. It will be interesting whether the daring new Malibu manages to overtake the conservative Sonata for fifth place in 2016.
The biggest year-on-year sales growth was registered by the Chrysler 200, which sold half as many units in 2015 as it did in 2014, and jumped two spots up in the rankings. However, clouds are already gathering for the 200, as its sales in Q4 2015 were a scary 27% lower than in the same period in 2014 – it’s not clear whether Chrysler decided to scale back on the discounts, or whether the design is not aging well in consumers’ eyes.
Other winners in 2015 include the Subaru Outback (sales up 10%), Subaru Legacy (sales up 16%) and the Mazda6 (sales up 9%). Losers include the VW Passat, which was clearly hit by Dieselgate and not helped by a ho-hum facelift (sales down 19%), and the Buick Regal, which always felt like it was a bit too small for its class in the US (sales down 14%). Toyota Venza, Honda Crosstour and VW CC are another few models who have steadily been losing customers, and most likely won’t be replaced with new models.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off