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If the Sedan Dies, What Will Professionals Drive?

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On the auto business’s most high-profile automotive exhibits in Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles over the previous few months, there was a way that one thing was lacking. There have been loads of utility automobiles, pickups, and vans on show, however coupes, sports activities automobiles, and sedans—a well-liked selection for busy actual property professionals who usually work out of their car—have been in notably quick provide.

It’s not shocking given that almost two-thirds of recent automobiles bought within the U.S. final 12 months have been mild vans. The shift prompted Ford not too long ago to cancel plans to revamp its once-popular Fusion midsize sedan. In January, Ford CEO Jim Hackett mentioned the corporate will reduce the amount of its passenger automotive lineup in North America and Europe. That interprets right into a 10 p.c discount in sedans, whereas mild vans—primarily SUVs—get a lift.

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Fiat Chrysler Vehicles, a REALTOR Advantages® Program accomplice, goes the identical course and now not produces a single passenger automotive mannequin within the U.S. The corporate scrapped the Dodge Dart to make room for extra Jeeps, whereas the outdated Chrysler 200 was reconfigured for the brand new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup. FCA has quite a lot of different mild vans in improvement, together with a brand new Jeep pickup and the three-row Jeep Wagoneer. “We made the best name three years in the past by attempting to disentangle ourselves from the passenger automotive market,” FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne mentioned in January on the North American Worldwide Auto Present.

The easy reality of the matter, confused Marchionne, is that client tastes are altering. SUVs are actually the one hottest physique fashion available on the market, and sedans are quickly dropping floor. The Euro-American automaker—like its rivals—is specializing in the merchandise the market calls for, he added.

Different automakers are set to roll out new and improved vans as nicely. However business analysts say this time, developments in gas economic system will spur demand, even when fuel costs begin to climb. Ford’s new F-150 Diesel mannequin, for instance, can hit 30 mpg. And Audi is ready to launch a brand new all-electric SUV with a variety of greater than 200 miles. That’s excellent news for folks similar to actual property professionals, who spend loads of time behind the wheel. The gas price hole has been all however eradicated, and there are some pluses to SUVs—particularly newer, car-based fashions that supply loads of inside house and facilities and far more snug on-road driving.

Common Motors has been rolling out a procession of recent mild vans, together with the up to date Chevrolet Equinox and Tahoe SUVs, in addition to the full-size Silverado pickup. Imports are additionally ramping up their mild truck strains, particularly manufacturers sluggish to get into the market. SUVs at the moment account for barely 1 / 4 of Volkswagen’s U.S. gross sales, however the automaker hopes to double that share with the all-new Atlas and a very up to date Tiguan.

Nonetheless, Toyota has some of the telling tales. Its Camry sedan was not solely its best-selling product line however the fourth best-selling car within the U.S. Final 12 months, it was usurped by Toyota’s RAV4 SUV and slipped to sixth general within the American market, behind each the RAV4 and Nissan’s Rogue crossover. “With the power of the SUV market, it’s no shock that RAV4 was not solely our best-selling mannequin however the best-selling non-pickup truck within the business,” mentioned Jack Hollis, U.S. group vp and common supervisor of the Toyota model.

A 12 months in the past, Toyota’s Lexus model launched an all-new model of its flagship mannequin, the LS. However gross sales have been lackluster, as has demand for competing fashions just like the BMW 7-Sequence and Audi A8. This 12 months, Lexus revealed the LF-1 Limitless idea, basically an SUV various to the LS. And whereas the model’s common supervisor, Jeff Bracken, wouldn’t affirm manufacturing plans, he says: “We clearly have a niche on the excessive finish of the market we have now to fill.”

As Mark Twain might need mentioned have been he writing about as we speak’s auto business, stories of the demise of the passenger automotive have been significantly exaggerated. However sedans and coupes are set to turn into the exception moderately than the rule within the years forward.

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