Globally, deliveries are of sedans of all sizes and segments have been on a downtrend. Shifting demand towards SUVs is the main reason for the drop in demand for sedans. China and USA are the only two main markets sustaining sedans.
Volkswagen for example, has discontinued the Jetta in all its markets except for USA and China. Honda no longer offers the Accord in Europe while Toyota has simplified its Camry model range – no more distinct model for USA/Middle East/Japan and rest of Asia. The Avensis has also been discontinued in Europe, replaced by a unified, global Camry.
Closer to home, Nissan has discontinued the Teana and Sylphy.
The latest survey by Nissan however, suggests that the demise of sedan have been greatly exaggerated, and preliminary data suggests that the next generation of buyers will provide some much needed boost for sedans.
According to the results of a survey commissioned by Nissan, 75 percent of drivers who don’t currently own a sedan would consider buying one in the future. Among millennial drivers, this rises up to 80 percent. Among the even younger Generation Z drivers, the figure is also relatively high, at 68 percent.
The survey was conducted across 11 countries - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand, UAE and the U.S. About 11,000 drivers aged between 18 to 65 were polled, with 1,000 drivers from each country surveyed.
“Our newest sedans speak directly to the needs of buyers, particularly young people who may be looking to buy their first car,” said Ivan Espinosa, Nissan’s corporate vice president of global product strategy and planning. “As some of our competitors walk away from sedans, we’re seizing the opportunity.”
While Nissan has exited the upper-end of the sedan market here, it is poised to launch the all-new Almera here next year. The all-new Sylphy is also poised to revive the nameplate here.
Of course, consumers often say one thing when answering a survey question, and then do something completely opposite when it’s time to put out their money.
Recall also that millennials are the least likely to buy a car. In many developed countries, many millennials don’t even have a driving license, as many of them live in cities where parking is expensive and public transport is efficient, and ride hailing is easily available.
Until the market turns around, we are going to see less and less sedans, which only serves to make sports sedans even more collectible in the future. Having said that, the new generation of Almera (Versa in USA), Sylphy, and Teana (Altima in USA) models have a substantially younger image and appear to be on the right path to attract a new group of customers.