The Large mainstream segment continued shrinking in Q3 2015, with sales down 11% compared to the same period in 2014. Although it was spared the ignominy of being the mainstream segment that shrank the most in Q3 by the subcompact segments -14% growth rate, customers are clearly abandoning Large cars for Mid-sized ones as the lines between the two become ever more blurred in terms of size and equipment.
In this vain, it is illustrative that the cars that did best (least bad?) relative to 2014 were all rear-wheel drive, a clear differentiator to their Mid-sized stablemates. The only cars to gain volume in Q3 2015 were the last-placed Chevrolet SS (up 76%) and Chrysler 300 (up 11%), the latter jumping over the Ford Taurus to claim 4th spot. If the 300 continues like this, it may yet catch up to the Toyota Avalon by the end of the year, quite the achievement for a car that hasn’t really changed all that much since it was originally introduced in 2005.
All the other models lost volume in Q3 relative to the same period last year, with the biggest losers being the big Asian saloons -Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza and Nissan Maxima. But while the Korean duo will soon be replaced, the Maxima was all new for 2015, which bodes badly for Nissan’s largest sedan offering in the US. And matters will only get worse when the redesigned Altima, with its mini-Maxima looks, hits the market.