Skip to comments.The steadily disappearing American car
Posted on 04/07/2018 9:56:30 AM PDT by upchuck
After a century of ferrying millions of daily commuters and taking countless family road trips, simple passenger cars are disappearing from American life, and they may not come back.
Detroit's Big Three automakers Chrysler, Ford and General Motors pioneered the mass production of the car, but in just four years, all three may be known to Americans simply as truck and SUV makers, with only a stray sedan for sale.
The automotive industry in America is making what many observers think is an irrevocable shift toward pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossovers. While carmakers are producing sedans and sports cars that are safer, faster and more comfortable than ever, customers continue to flock to taller vehicles with features cars simply cannot offer.
"Since 2009 or 2010 it has been a truck story," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, which tracks the auto industry. The exception was a slight pullback in 2012, when the midsize car segment underwent a major refresh, he said.
The trend shows no sign of abating, despite cries from car enthusiasts that crossovers lack the driving dynamics of sedans and complaints from environmentalists that SUVs and trucks are typically less fuel-efficient than cars.
By 2022, LMC Automotive estimates 84 percent of the vehicles General Motors sells in the U.S. market will be some kind of truck or SUV. Ford's ratio of domestic SUV and truck sales will hit 90 percent; Fiat Chrysler's will notch a whopping 97 percent.
"We have SUVs eventually crossing the 50 percent threshold by themselves in the near future," Schuster said.
Signs suggest SUVs and crossovers are also taking hold elsewhere in the world.
Automotive executives and industry watchers think there will be only a small space for sedans in the U.S., perhaps consisting mostly of sports cars or niche vehicles favored by enthusiasts.
A few factors that drove this unprecedented shift can be attributed to gas prices, a stronger economy and big improvements in the design of sport utility vehicles, said Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Cox Automotive.
"It was really a one-two-three punch," Brauer said. "Essentially every force lined up to help SUVs, and that has been hurting car sales."
More at the link.
Can’t find a small truck anymore. I have been looking at Tacomas, and these days they’re over 17 feet long, only 2 inches shorter than Tundras.
I miss the Ford Ranger. Simple, cheap and tough.
I have a 2010 Ford Escape and am very happy with it. If I bought something new, I would probably up-size to an Explorer. The only American sedan I would consider is an SHO Taurus.
I guess I should get rid of the Dodge Challenger I just bought then. On second thought nah.a
I read Ford is bringing the Ranger back next year.
I used to put back up heavy oil fuel in at Ford’s St. Paul plant, now long gone.
I tool around in a F-150.
We love our SUV’s. Much easier to enter and exit than low slung autos. Cars are so ...yesterday.
Problem is it won’t be simple, cheap and tough anymore.
I thought they were re-introducing the Ranger next model year.
I think it is the stupid CAFE standards that screwed our cars up more than anything else.
Since I switched to all wheel SUVs, I’ve never had a problem again driving in snow. And despite the “global warming” I keep hearing about, we get a lot of snow in these parts.
My other car until recently was a late model BMW 3-Series. It was like getting down on the ground to get into that thing.
There is more profit with the sale of pickup trucks and SUVs then in the sale of sedans.Is that good for Americas automobile industry?Only time will tell.
Years ago I went shopping for a used vehicle for commuting, something in the 100,000 mile range. All the small trucks with that kind of mileage were completely worn out. I came upon a Crown Vic with 107,000 miles. It drove like a brand new car and its 5L V8 got 30MPG -- more than the small trucks. I put on another 150,000 miles before selling it.
It won’t be the same. The Tacoma is no longer a small truck. The Ranger won’t be either.
We bought my wife a 2015 Chevy Equinox last week. There was a lime green Challenger on the lot. I tried. I really tried to get her in that car.
They did and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is addressing this.
I quit driving cars back in 1970 when I got a truck, not my first. Have been a truck man ever since. Now had a Jeep and truck.
I never understood the desire to own something that you could not haul your goods in.
Wife liked cars. Now she likes SUVs.
This has to do with government regulation. The government decided that driver and front seat passengers needed to have their feet directly in front of them in the event of a side crash. Therefore car manufacturers had to build in a console to prevent people from moving their feet. The smaller the car the more confined the foot well. When I had to wear a medical boot on my foot I couldn’t drive either my Marauder or my Jetta. I had to use an old truck. This and other regulations have made the car smaller and more uncomfortable. That is why people are opting for trucks and SUV’s.