It’s a secret to no one that the US new car market has been dominated by trucks and SUVs for years. Those vehicles are generally more expensive and profitable for the automakers but several factors have contributed to a slightly increased demand for sedans and hatchbacks in the first quarter of the year. Is this a positive sign that those two traditional vehicle segments will be making a comeback in the coming years? It’s too early to tell but there are interesting findings from the 2023 Q1 US sales report.
Sedans, hatchbacks, coupes, convertibles, sports cars, and performance cars represented 21.4 percent of all 3.6 million new vehicles delivered to US customers in the first three months of the year. This data comes from the Automotive News Research & Data Center and was first published by Automotive News. This share represents an increase over the 19.6 percent share at the end of 2021.
Gallery: 2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line Night Edition
Trucks outsold cars in the United States for the first time in 2002 and have constantly been increasing their market share since then. This first quarter of 2023 marks the first small gain from the car segment since 2002 and is a somewhat surprising trend considering many of the major automakers dropped most of their sedans and hatchbacks from their model lineups.
So, what’s the explanation – is the market seeing changes in customer preferences again? Or was this first quarter of 2023 just an anomaly that won’t happen ever again? It’s very difficult to tell at the moment but industry specialists believe the market might have reached what they call the stasis point.
"It seems like we're approaching some kind of natural boundary, where SUVs are about 60 percent of the market, and pickups and vans and trucks are about 20 percent, and cars are about 20 percent. We're kind of getting to that stasis point, but just industry dynamics alone suggest that it will be several years until we steady out,” Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics at J.D. Power, comments told Automotive News.
One good example of a brand that enjoys growing sedan sales is Hyundai. The South Korean brand’s Elantra and Sonata models saw sales rise 47 and 87 percent respectively in the first quarter of the year. The company believes there are millions of consumers who are still attracted to the good old sedan. And so are we.