One of the first body styles for the car, sedans (otherwise called saloons) and their classic, three-box shape have become a sort of stereotype shape for a car.
However, the changing times have not been kind to them. Today, sedans are dropping in popularity at an alarming rate with fewer and fewer manufacturers willing to produce any new ones. Why is that though and does this mean the sedan heads for extinction?
Are Sedans Dying?
With the rise of the SUV market, carmakers are turning their backs on sedans. Even in the USA, a market where the sedan flourished for decades, their domestic brands are giving up. Ford killed off the Taurus, Chrysler did the same with the 300 and Chevrolet wiped out the Impala, a car that goes back to the 50s.
It’s a sad state of affairs as it’s projected that by 2025, sedan sales will count for less than 20% of the North American market and a drop of 1.5 million cars per year. In Europe, it’s a similar story, if not worse. The only ones that seem to be holding on are the Germans in the executive sector. Cars like the E-Class and 5-Series remain popular thanks to the prestige attached to their respective brands.
Even so, these brands find their SUV products selling far more. It’s why manufacturers have been exploding their line-up of crossovers to cover a vast array of different sizes and shapes.
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What People Prefer Other than Sedans?
Over the 21st century, it’s become abundantly clear that SUVs and crossovers are the new dominant type of car for customers. What started out as a new motoring fad luxury brands followed to grant wealthier motorists a large status symbol has turned into a vast, universal craze.
In January 2021, 44% of new cars bought in Europe were SUVs. Such popularity has meant brands have gone all-in on making the chunky, high-up machines. Some manufacturers’ range of cars is almost entirely made up of crossovers now as more and more people enjoy the sense of stability and high driving position they possess.
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Which Popular Sedans Already Died?
The popular sedans that died are:
- Ford Fusion
- Chrysler 300
- Ford Taurus
- Ford Falcon
- Chevrolet Impala
In America, a number of famous sedans saw the end of their lifespans recently. The aforementioned Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, and Chevrolet Impala have all become past tense, but it’s not just America where sedans are getting killed off. Meanwhile, in Europe, large family saloons are starting to disappear.
One of the most famous would be the Ford Mondeo (or Fusion as it was called in the states). By 2022, the once enormously popular family car will be let go as its parent company aims to lean further into the crossover market. Meanwhile, large family sedans that remain on sale are becoming increasingly rare sights.
Overall the European sedan market has shrunk enormously, what with the French and British brands giving up on them. More Luxurious ones, like Jaguar and Bentley, continue to produce them, but their sales pale in comparison to any equivalent SUV.
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Even in Australia, the sedan is seeing its end. The Ford Falcon used to be one of the most popular and iconic cars to be born and bred in the land of Oz, only to meet its demise in 2016. It marked the end of a 56-year long dynasty.
The same goes for its lifelong rival, the Holden Commodore. With General Motors Australian brand being closed down, their leading sedan goes down the same way.
Which Sedans Will Die in the Future?
The sedans that might die in the future are:
- Honda Accord
- Volkswagen Passat (US)
- Jaguar XJ
- Jaguar XE
- Jaguar XF
Several sedans still being made have a very uncertain future. The Honda Accord, a once prosperous car, is seeing sales dropping like a stone. Currently, it’s on its tenth generation, but at this rate, there’s little chance of seeing an eleventh.
In 2022, Volkswagen will kill off its American Passat sedan (not to be confused with the still kicking European version). This says a lot when one of the most bankable brands can’t interest customers in going the sedan route.
Perhaps a surprising name to add is Jaguar. Their XJ luxury sedan was going to be replaced with an all-electric version but was cancelled at the last minute by management. This cancellation has led to the XJ’s future being put in doubt with little to no signs of a new car being launched.
The XE and XF are also cars that might be running on borrowed time. With few updates and the competition now a generation ahead of them, even a premium brand like Jaguar struggles to make the sedan work to its advantage.
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Will Sedans Eventually Die Forever?
Probably not, despite the current doom and gloom hovering over the market. Although they enjoy their SUVs, the Chinese still like the sedan, enough to stop brands from even thinking about turning their backs on the body style. In January 2021, they outsold crossovers in China with a healthy 48.9% share of the market.
Needless to say, a market as imperative as China helps ensure the sedan sticks around. Elsewhere, however, it’s a losing battle. Unless it’s a Volvo, a BMW, a Mercedes, or an Audi, chances are a sedan’s sales are in the toilet. In Europe, the once popular family sedan is now warping into a whole new body style.
Citroen, for example, is releasing the new C5 X. The car’s predecessors have been traditional sedans and/or hatchbacks, but for the new car, it’s become a sort of crossover/family hatchback hybrid. Such a body style could end up becoming a sort of replacement for the sedan, at least in Europe.
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Is it Still Worth Buying a Sedan?
Sedans are still worth having, though it does depend on the brand. Usually, a sedan is more of a premium car these days, seeing how the family sedan has become almost extinct. This means they can be expensive, but they also belong to manufacturers that are well praised for their reliability and luxury.
I’ll list off a few example sedans that remain good purchases.
BMW 3-Series: A brilliant handling, yet quietly refined car that’s constantly seen as the benchmark in the compact executive sector. Having that BMW badge also means strong resale value.
Volkswagen Passat: While its American sibling is soon to be gone, the one found in Europe remains a solid choice. Although it’s meant to be more of an everyday family car, it’s distinctly posher than most cars it faces.
Volvo S90: One of the safest cars on sale as well as possessing one of the most tastefully decorated interiors. Volvo’s answer to the mighty 5-Series may not drive quite as sharply, but the level of comfort is nearly unmatched and you pay a lower price tag than you would with the Germans.
BMW 5-Series: Perhaps the first car a person comes up with when thinking of executive sedans. The current generation is critically acclaimed to such an extent that it’s hard to come up with any possible drawbacks it has.
For the most part, sedans may be disappearing, but it’s not to the point where extinction can enter the conversation. There are markets that continue to enjoy them and they are more than large enough to keep such cars in the business. Nevertheless, they remain a breed that is on the decline as customers continually choose SUVs over almost anything else.
That’s not to say everyone is happy with such an arrangement. Many passionate car fans have voiced their displeasure at seeing crossovers take over, while sedans whither. However, they remain a very clear minority as the craze towards these larger cars only grows stronger.
The good news is that all fashionable car types aside, sedans have stayed good choices that should definitely be considered. Just because carmakers aren’t so interested in making them these days doesn’t mean the ones on sale are sub-par offerings.
I hope you found this article helpful and answered your sedan survival questions. Even though SUVs are growing lightning fast in market share, a sedan is a fairly sensible choice. There remain plenty of good options, despite the segment having shrunk considerably and consequently becoming a more premium car choice.
It’s true, sedans are dying in a lot of major markets. America is very quickly turning its back on them and while you could say the same about Europe, its German, Swedish, and Italian brands continue to push on with the classic three-box shape. The fact that China, one of the fastest-growing new frontiers for car sales, has such an interest in them keeps the sedan from being consigned completely to the past.