Segment shrinks to a third of what it once was, as new models fail to spark sales revival
Sales in the US Large segment fell by 18.9% to 317,289 in 2018, a third of the 2006 peak of over 1,000,000 cars, and their lowest level in over 30 years. Arguably, this segment is pummeled by a perfect storm of factors buffeting the market: (1) move from traditional sedans to crossovers (2) move from mainstream manufacturers to luxury ones (3) ongoing growth of cars within each segment, resulting in models from segments below pulling in customers from segments above it. At this point, the mainstream Large segment seems to have two paths available to it: either it will continue shrinking as it offers the same kind of cars it’s been serving up to buyers over the past few decades, or it will develop something truly unique that buyers will want, as FCA has done with the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.
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
The new Toyota Avalon was the only model whose sales rose in 2018, but even this hardly-spectacular figure masks a downward trend – while the model saw its sales rise by 16.5% in the first half of the year, this turned into a 11.1% sales decline in the second half of the year
The FCA duo, the segment-leading Dodge Charger and third-placed Chrysler 300, saw their sales fall by just 9%, a performance that should be viewed as a “win” given the models’ age and the overall trend in the market
Nissan Maxima was the biggest loser, seeing its sales drop by more than a third, allowing the Chrysler 300 to push it off the podium (the 79% sales decline for the Hyundai Azera is due to the model’s discontinuation mid-2018)
The aging Ford Taurus did well to lose only 12% of its sales, propped no doubt by fleet sales
The new Buick LaCrosse saw its sales fall by over 20%, meaning that just like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in the segment below, the new model failed to improve on the previous-generation car, while the new Kia Cadenza ended up its second year on the market much where the previous-generation model ended its run two years prior
Note: clicking on the model names in legend turns the display for that model on/off; data is displayed from 1990 onwards, but starts in 1973 – access previous years using slider on bottom
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