Forums

Why Did US Sedan Demand Drop, Customer Taste or Model 3?

Why Did US Sedan Demand Drop, Customer Taste or Model 3?

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-04/u-s-car-demand-collap...

Interesting article "U.S. Car Demand Collapse Jeopardizes Trump's Auto Factory Push" in Bloomberg. The thesis of the article is that customer taste for sedans has plummeted and roomier SUV/CUV variants are more popular. The cars that are cited seem like the drop also could be related to the Model 3:

- Ford Fusion: down 37 percent
- Chevrolet Malibu: down 36 percent
- Toyota Prius: down 29 percent

Interesting counter-point to the thesis is in the "Share Declines" section:

"The one U.S. automaker to see its shares rise was Tesla Inc., whose upcoming mass-market Model 3 sedan gives the company a shot a real growth. The electric-car maker’s market capitalization surged past Ford for the first time."

No other mention of Tesla and the Model 3. I wonder what the demand for BMW 3-Series and MB C Class looks like?

nyca | 4 avril 2017

Its the CUV - watch what happens to the Model 3 demand if the Y is offered for the same price.

KP in NPT | 4 avril 2017

I have no doubt there are a LOT of people waiting to buy a new car - waiting to see re: model 3. Not just those on the waiting list.

akgolf | 4 avril 2017

Chuckle....please provide a link showing this so called uproar.

Frank99 | 4 avril 2017

E's made enough posts about it to qualify as an "uproar" all by himself.

KP in NPT | 4 avril 2017

His evening droppings.

Red Sage ca us | 4 avril 2017

Per GoodCarBadCar:

"2016 was not the year of the car.

"U.S. auto sales rose to an all-time high of some 17.5M units, but passenger cars accounted for just 39% of the industry's volume, down from 43% in 2015 and 52% as recently as 2012."

http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2017/01/2016-usa-car-sales-by-nameplate-eve...

Here the thing is, though... Sure, the Camry went down by 9.5%... But the Corolla went up by 2.7% to become the second best selling Sedan, and the second best selling passenger car in the U.S. in 2016. The Accord went down by 2.9%... But the Civic went up by 9.4% to become the third best selling passenger car in the U.S. in 2016. The #5 Altima went down by 7.8%, but still greatly outsold the #8 Sentra, which rose by 5.5%.

Things may look different on a month-by-month, or year-to-date basis... But this is a marathon, not a sprint. Few vehicles, if any really, are able to maintain the same sort of demand levels year-over-year. And January through March can be a rather iffy time of year for automobile sales. Not something to hang your hat on as a trend for the year as a whole.

Ten years ago the Honda CR-V was the #19 vehicle in the U.S. overall. But in 2016 it was instead #7. And the Toyota RAV4 was right behind it at #8 overall. The Nissan Rogue at #10 and Ford Escape at #12 were other strong representatives for Compact SUVs among all vehicles sold in the U.S. during 2016.

http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2017/01/usa-2016-vehicle-sales-by-model-man...

In 2006 those positions were taken up by: #7 Honda Civic, #8 Chevrolet Impala, #10 Chevrolet Cobalt, and #12 GMC Sierra.

http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2013/02/2006-usa-auto-sales-rankings-by-mod...

Buying tastes change with the times. Back then, both the Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan and Honda Odyssey minivans appeared in the top 15 overall. In 2016 though, no minivan appeared in overall sales until #35 Toyota Sienna, #36 Dodge Grand Caravan, and #40 Honda Odyssey.

finman100 | 5 avril 2017

The Prius sales being down is because they hit the front end with the ugly stick, dragged it along the side, then bashed in the rear. just saying.

KP in NPT | 5 avril 2017

+1 Finman. it is ugly. And those tail lights.....

Red Sage ca us | 5 avril 2017

finman100: +1! Indeed. Forgot that part. Yeah, the PRIUS sold less than 100,000 units in the U.S. in 2016 for the first time in a decade, because Toyota chose to bash it with the same accursed ugly stick they used on the MIRAI.

dsvick | 5 avril 2017

Oh Eagles, silly bird, numbers are for adults ....

First, you're comparing the model S with two other cars that cost about half of its price.
Second, you can't even quote the correct numbers. Tesla actually had almost 6,500 cars in transit at the end of 2016 (http://ir.tesla.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=1006161) , but you can offset that a great deal with the 4,600 still in transit from Q1. And all car companies suffer from the same thing, none of them can deliver a car the day it is produced.

Frank99 | 5 avril 2017

>> People were posting misinformation about sales figures.

Oh, my gawd, someone is wrong on the Internet!
www.xkcd.com/386/

Haggy | 5 avril 2017

The Model S might have a hatch, but it's still a sedan (or saloon depending on where you live.) Sedan has a dictionary definition, and the Model S fits. It has four doors and a trunk. It has the profile and lines of a sedan. There is no industry standard definition of sedan that leaves out the Model S or that claims that sedans and hatchbacks are mutually exclusive.

I doubt you would find a single case of anybody not buying the Model S because it's a liftback and the person wanted a sedan. You probably won't find cases of anybody who bought the Model S specifically because they were looking for a liftback and didn't want a "sedan" although there may have been some extra sales due to the storage capacity and ease of access with the Model S.

There will be some people who won't want the Model 3, not specifically because of the word "sedan" but because for a vehicle of its size with a traditional trunk it will have limitations that a vehicle such as a Bolt might not have. It's not that this sort of customer is looking for a hatchback specifically but might be looking for a crossover, which is another vague term for a modern AWD station wagon. On the other hand, we know what the sales numbers are for the Bolt and we know where reservations stand (in broad terms) for the Model 3.

Carl Thompson | 5 avril 2017

Haggy:
"The Model S might have a hatch, but it's still a sedan (or saloon depending on where you live.) Sedan has a dictionary definition, and the Model S fits. It has four doors and a trunk. It has the profile and lines of a sedan. There is no industry standard definition of sedan that leaves out the Model S or that claims that sedans and hatchbacks are mutually exclusive."

True. I think though that there isn't a universally accepted standardized definition. I think some old-fashioned people (including I) think that if the back window moves when you open the "trunk" then it's not really a trunk and if the car doesn't have a trunk then it's not a sedan. No, that's not any kind of technical definition but there is no one true technical definition that everyone agrees is correct.

"I doubt you would find a single case of anybody not buying the Model S because it's a liftback and the person wanted a sedan."

Absolutely agree with this. Liftbacks / hatchbacks / whatever are more useful and give you more cargo storage options. The only reason I'm aware of that people prefer sedans is because they think they look "better." But if a company can make a liftback that looks every bit as good or better as any sedan (as Tesla has in my opinion) then I think 10 out of 10 people will go for the liftback.

Why are we talking about this again?

Carl

Frank99 | 5 avril 2017

The shape of the rear roofline of the car is critical to it's aerodynamic performance. A hatchback like the Bolt that raises the rear edge high and flattens the back is never going to have the aerodynamic performance of a shape like the Model S/X/3.

Once you define this shape, the location of the hinge point is a point of personal and designer preference. If Tesla had been able to hinge the Model 3 trunk above the glass like the Model S, it would have had a huge opening and I would have loved it. If they'd hinged it halfway down (by, for example, splitting the window), it would have had a large opening and I wouldn't have liked it much because of the complexity and blocking the rear view. Hinging it below the window (the hinges are actually much higher but the opening starts just below the window), as they did, is beautiful and I love it.

kp647 | 5 avril 2017

Every carmaker in the USA is suffering from the same syndrome. The customers want SUV and cuv, and they have them but they also build a lot of sedans. Takes a long time to dev lop new products and shift production lines over to cuv's.
Even the b st selling cars in the USA , Camry sedan is down.
I'd like a useful hatch but I'm tired of the clunky handling and I'm looking forward to the lower cog of a 3 sedan.
Now the wife , she would like a Y , that's what my second reservation is for.

hsuru4u | 5 avril 2017

personally a model s or 3 is too big for me. I want an awd convertible like the jaguar f..or alfa romeo new convertible. Like an audi tt kind of . I would miss the 6 speed though of a gass car-i mean its fun to shift. I always think its silly when i see sporty convertibles with automatic shifters.

JeffreyR | 5 avril 2017

@hsuru4u
Have you tried single-pedal driving w/ strong regen? The single gear, and instant torque you get regardless of speed is invigorating. I don't think you'll miss the shifter.

I believe that the shape of the Model 3 will be popular regardless. I think he Model Y will seek well too. Tesla can sell both well w/o interfering w/ the others.

mntlvr23 | 5 avril 2017

@hsuru4u
After driving 5 speed manual for the last 40 years, I too will miss it.
But after testing the Model S out for a couple of days and 1,000 miles, I know I will be moving into something just as fun.

carlk | 5 avril 2017

personally I think @hsuru4u is totally clueless. The car I was driving before the S was a Porsche Cayman S with stick shift. Many say it's the best handling sports car with the best manual shift in the industry. I kept it for another 2 years but finally got rid of it because I never wanted to drive it anymore. One pedal driving with instantaneous torque and linear response from the S is just so much more fun.

Civicrick | 6 avril 2017

Where did the term "hatchback" come from anyway. I have a 93 civic that I wouldve called a station wagon. Its also a manual shift and with traffic the way it is now, its tiring to drive

COrich | 6 avril 2017

There is a definite advantage to a real trunk in cold weather. When a "hatchback" is opened, the entire car gets the blast of cold air and snow/rain if the wind is blowing. When you open a real trunk, no such problem.

There are legitimate desires for both solutions. We have 3 cars, one with traditional trunk (VW Passat), and 2 with a rear hatch (VW Tiguan and Tesla Model X). I like the trunk on the Passat because I never hit my head on the lid. I do on the Tiguan and sometimes on the X when it is in the garage.

jordanrichard | 6 avril 2017

Sales of SUVs is up because the price of gas is down. This is not new nor complicated. We are Americans and we can't remember beyond this morning. Once the price of gas shoots up, SUV sales will go down.

COrich | 6 avril 2017

@Eagles, not trying to pick a fight. Just stating why I like a sedan. You can certainly have your own opinion and we don't have to agree. Things like this are a personal choice.

Badbot | 6 avril 2017

sedan sales dropped cuz we are all waiting for our 3's

akgolf | 7 avril 2017

Well since a few people apparently can't do without towing and at least one is pretending to need to tow a boat it looks like they want to treat it like a pickup.

dyefrog | 7 avril 2017

A sedan and a Model 3 are synonymous, A pickup truck isn't even close. Are you really that dense?

Carl Thompson | 7 avril 2017

I'm not sure "synonymous" is the word I'd use there!

Ehninger1212 | 7 avril 2017

@Akgolf
Lol pickup truck... I can see it now.. the Teslamino

Haggy | 7 avril 2017

"Keep in mind that sedans are much more fuel efficient so with the price of gasoline down, people don't mind paying for the less fuel efficient cars."

But they are still more expensive to run than an EV. So if people like a Tesla better than the competition, there might not be a huge savings but they'd still want to get the car they like better. If gasoline drops to 50 cents per gallon and the tax incentives go away, then people who like a Tesla better will still buy one, because saving $150-$200 year wouldn't be enough to justify not getting a Tesla. With tax incentives, even if gasoline dropped to free, it would still be cheaper to operate an EV.

Red Sage ca us | 7 avril 2017

And... that's my cue to chime in with... Haggy is correct.