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Why the Vehicle Market is Moving Away From Cars

On April 25, 2018, Ford shook the US Market from halfway across the globe as they announced plans to stop selling cars in the United States, save for their Mustang and a new Focus, at the China Auto Show.  Later that year, they decided not to sell the Focus either, due to low expected sales and the new tariffs passed that year.  In the course of a few months, Ford went from the company that made cars easy to make and cheap to buy to a company that only made one car. Trucks, SUV’s and the like are their future now.

 

General Motors followed suit later that year, axing off many of its sedans from Cadillac, Buick, and Chevrolet – including Chevrolet’s famous Impala sedan.

 

As for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles? They were one of the few automakers that reported an increase in sales for September of 2019, even overtaking Ford – but not entirely with their cars. It was their Jeep and Ram Truck brands that had the most important increases, as well as a nice boost for Dodge.

 

Ford – the first company to axe all its sedans – said that Americans simply don’t want cars anymore. With gas being relatively cheap compared to the 2008 Gas Crisis, Americans have bought more and more SUVs and crossovers, and have moved away from the traditional four door. Ford specifically stated Baby Boomers and Millennials as the buyers no longer looking at traditional cars.

 

Ford isn’t entirely wrong. Their sedans aren’t selling – but the car market is far from dead. According to the LA Times, only American sedans aren’t doing well. Toyota and Honda sold 700,000 sedans each, or about 350,000 per model. Ford, on the other hand, only sold about 120,000 of it’s Focus, a well-received car by most reviews.

 

So what happened? Most likely, stigma happened. Since the OPEC crisis of the 1970s and the flood of Japanese sedans hitting the market, most automotive magazines, automotive technicians, and carbuyers have preferred Japanese builds – so much so that Honda, Toyota, Mazda and others have opened multiple factories in the US to keep up with demand.

 

To recap, sedans are dying – but only the ones from Detroit, for the time being. So what does that mean for you, the American carbuyer looking for a new sedan? More than you may think.

 

Of the Big Three, only Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles will have any real foothold in the sedan market. Their Dodge Charger is still a hot seller to police departments, fast car fans and soccer moms alike, and Chrysler still boasts the popular 300 sedan. Their parent company Fiat specialises in small cars, and Fiat-Chrysler has begun to import some of their Alfa Romeo vehicles to the United States, including sedans.

 

Otherwise, its Asia that will have almost total control of the sedan market in the United States. Toyota doubled down on sedans after Ford’s announcements that they were axing them, stating that even a shrunken market would still mean about 5 million people would want sedans.

 

Honda has also strengthened their sedan lineup in recent years – they began building the famous engine put in their Type R Civics – an incredibly popular sports version of the sedan – in Ohio, shortly after started selling Type R Civics in the United States for the first time ever not long after. The Accord, their full size sedan, recently received a facelift and is projected to be a hot seller for years to come.

 

Hyundai has been doing so well with their Genesis sedan that they spun it off into its own company. Genesis is now Hyundai’s luxury brand designed to compete with other Asian luxury brands like Toyota’s Lexus and Honda’s Acura. Hyundai’s other subsidiary, Kia, is built on the premise of affordable sedans and has had success selling in America.

 

Europe isn’t totally out of the conversation though, BMW is still a strong seller in the United States and Mercedes-Benz has always sold well to the American luxury carbuyer.

 

So what does this mean for you, the consumer? It means that your choices of “American Made” sedans are going to start dancing on a gray area. FCA is now technically the only American company still dedicated to full-time sedan making as Chevrolet begins it’s exit and Ford pulls out almost completely. However, in an attempt to win over the patriotic crowd, companies like Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai have all built plants in the United States. Toyota builds all it’s sedans in Kentucky, Honda builds mostly in Ohio and Alabama, and Hyundai builds almost exclusively in Alabama. Even European company BMW has realized the opportunity and builds almost all of their American-sold vehicles in South Carolina.

 

To put it simply, if you have loyalties to Ford or General Motors and you want a sedan, buy now. Classics like the Chevy Impala and Ford Taurus are soon to be dust, and it may not be long before the rest of the automakers follow.

Have any questions? Feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597, email us at kenmanchester1@gmail.com, or check us out on the web at manchesterautoandtire.com.

4 sites for avoiding Fake News on Cars

Advertising is possibly the number one way we learn about new vehicles. After all, every dealer seems to advertise about the latest models in the lot during the 5:00 news. But how reliable is this advertising.

 

Recently, Chevrolet put out another one of its “Real People, Not Actors” ads in which they reveal to Chevrolet, Ford, Honda and Toyota owners that they, Chevrolet, had been named the most reliable car company in a survey.

 

While all this seems great, what Chevy does not mention in the ad (or put in very, very small words at the bottom) is that:

 

  1. The model year the survey was done for (2015) isn’t the model year shown in the ads.
  2. The survey isn’t from one of the major independent groups, but from Ipsos, a market research company.
  3. Chevrolet sponsored the survey and was selective in who was surveyed.
  4. The amount of respondents to the survey was even smaller.
  5. They used some mental and verbal gymnastics to make the data show in their favor. (you can read more about this on Jalopnik.com)

 

In other words, Chevrolet isn’t lying in their ad, but they went above and beyond to find data that played in their favor.

 

This advertisement was so controversial that Ford, Toyota and Honda all challenged it. One company even threatened legal action. Chevrolet quickly agreed to pull it from their official YouTube channel stating their marketing plan was going to start focusing on one of their pickups instead.

 

So what does this mean for you, the consumer? It means that half-truths, questionable advertising tactics and ultimately misleading ideas are all being pushed to influence your decisions when car-buying.

 

To help you avoid false claims, we’re sharing some of the best sources to get unbiased news and reviews on vehicles.

 

  1. Consumer Reports

 

CR Should be your #1 source for data on cars, and possibly everything else you’re planning on buying. CR is so determined to be reliable and fair, they won’t let people advertise in their magazine, and they won’t let manufacturers advertise that they did well with CR. They want all data to be true, faithful and accurate reports from the consumer. It’s real people giving them their data and it’s worth trusting.

 

  1. Kelly Blue Book

 

Kelly Blue Book is a guidebook primarily built around valuing cars. When buying cars new or used, checking the bluebook value is a great way of telling what is a fair price for vehicles in your area. KBB also does reviews and gives out awards based on what vehicles they find most reliable and most valuable.

 

  1. Motor Trend

 

Motor Trend is a company that started as a magazine, but has since expanded into a website, streaming service, and even a TV channel called Motor Trend (formerly called Velocity.) They also own many other automotive magazines such as the famous Hot Rod Magazine. Motor Trend, like many automotive mags, gives out awards to vehicles it thinks highly of, and their reviews tend to be honest and worth reading. They currently list the Motor Trend Car of the Year as the Genesis G70, the Jeep Wrangler as the SUV of the Year and the Ram 1500 as the Truck of the Year.

 

  1. IIHS

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway safety is a nonprofit organization funded by the many insurance companies in the United States. They really only focus on safety, but they film every test they attempt and share these with the public online. No data manipulation there, if they deem a car safe, it’s safe, and you get to watch them crash a version of that car to prove it!

 

Ultimately, finding out which new car is the best isn’t easy. That being said, it can be easy to avoid the silver-tongued advertising when you know where to look. No matter what your favorite brand of car or truck is, make sure you do your research before buying to avoid being mislead.

 

Got any questions about cars in the news? Feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC at 704-545-4597 or email us at kenmanchester1@gmail.com.