With the increasing popularity of SUVs and crossovers, the automobile industry has been agile enough to follow up and has been creating new models at a swift pace.
In 2019, SUVs grabbed a market share of around 70% compared to 36.4% in 2018, which showed the increasing demand for SUVs. Consequently, brands have been keeping up with the pace and have introduced numerous new models in recent years.
On the other hand, the sales of sedans globally have dropped drastically over the years. Where in 2009, the sedans had a market share of 39%, it had gone down to just 22% in 2019. The popularity of the sedans is decreasing; there's no doubt about that. Hence, the question on hand is on point – are sedans and coupes going out of style?
Rise of the popular SUVs
It is expected that there will be over 150 SUV models introduced by 2023, an impressive addition to an already existing 96 models in 2019.
Are SUVs becoming the source of a slow death for the coupe and sedan?
The SUVs enjoy some advantages over a regular coupe or sedan. For starters, it has much more space than a sedan for relaxing and for storage. Most SUVs come with an AWD (All-wheel drive); hence it increases their capability.
On the other hand, not many sedans have this option. Since an SUV provides you with a higher riding option, it gives the customer a better visibility experience compared to a coupe or sedan.
SUVs, including crossovers (CUVs), also have an attached social standing to them; therefore, owning an SUV is in itself considered a statement. Plus its enhanced functions, an SUV has been the primary cause of the decline in sales of the coupe and sedan.
All is not lost for the coupe and sedan
Even though the new car sales of these segments have been on a decline, their popularity is still intact. Nielsen recently conducted a survey including civilians of the US between the age of 18 and 65, owners and non-owners of vehicles, to see which kind of car they would be interested in purchasing. 78% of the respondents who did not own a sedan expressed their wish to buy one.
Another perception that came into the limelight was the fact that SUVs are seen as vehicles owned by the older lot. Therefore, the millennial would still want to buy what they thought a sedan represented – their age and style – not to mention that the smaller cars would be more affordable than SUVs.
Another finding of this survey was that even Generation Z would be interested in purchasing sedans. Seven out of ten civilians who don’t own a vehicle, belonging to Generation Z showed the same inclination. Not only that, eight out of ten millennials expressed their desire to own a sedan for their first vehicle.
Why are sedans considered the better option by some?
A sedan has a much better fuel economy than an SUV, thanks to its generally available four-cylinder or a V6. Sedans are also comparatively easier to drive and park since they are smaller in size hence could be a source of comfort for many. Lastly, an SUV is not an easily affordable vehicle in comparison to a sedan. Also, the fact that the first vehicle for many people is typically a sedan allows this passenger car to survive the whims of the market.
Are the sedans and coupes going away?
The end of the sedan and coupe is an ongoing debate.
Observing the trends, another reason why the overall sales of sedans fell in 2019 was that more than half of these vehicles sold were in China. Unfortunately, consumer confidence has reduced with the increase in household debts, and so, the Chinese buyers have postponed spending large amounts of money on products. Since the market of sedans is greatest in China, the effect has also been the greatest on sedans only.
For this reason, coupled with the SUV’s better functionality, space, capability, and glamour, the decline in sales of the sedan and coupe became inevitable. However, looking at the desirability of the sedan in terms of its affordability, style, comfort, and ease, it is safe to say that all is not lost for the sedan and coupe. Companies like Tesla have even introduced numerous EV sedans to continue fuelling this demand. Sedans and coupes may never make a complete comeback, but they will still have a good demand even in the following years.
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By Wajeeha Sabih