Car Buyers Flock to SUVs, Crossovers as Sedan Sales “Disappear”

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Nissan Sentra
Nissan Sentra Nissan

Sales of sedans have been steadily declining in the United States for more than a decade as an increasing number of car buyers opt for SUVs and crossovers, with auto industry experts stating that the American sedan, as we know it, is “disappearing.”

In a 2018 CNBC article, automotive industry experts pointed to a variety of reasons for a decline in sedan sales. Chief among them was a growing appetite for large vehicles fuelled by relatively low fuel prices, a strong economy and significant improvements in SUV design.

The change in consumer habits has promoted an equally large change from car manufacturers, many of whom have adjusted their product selections to match the SUV and crossover-focused tastes of American motorists.

Auto dealers are also adjusting their business models, with many top dealers pivoting towards brands that prioritize SUVs, crossovers and other larger vehicles.

Florida-based HGreg, which specializes in used car sales, recently purchased Nissan Kendall, providing the company with access to Nissan’s ever-increasing lineup of SUVs, crossovers and trucks.

The dealership, which is based in Palmetto Bay, provides the company with direct access to the large Miami-Dade County area, one of the United States’ top automotive sales markets.

HGreg has a long and storied history in Florida. Originally founded in 1993, Greg Hairabedian -- the company’s founder and owner -- aimed to open a dealership that provided a full experience for car buyers, rather than the transactional experience provided by most used car dealers.

Pre-owned cars sold by HGreg were among the first to feature reconditioning, which, combined with low prices, allows the company to grow into one of the top 10 independent auto dealers in the state of Florida and the center of a 30-store spanning the US and Canada.

The company’s acquisition of Nissan Kendall allows it to tap into consumers’ growing interest in SUVs and crossovers, with popular models such as the Rogue and Pathfinder accounting for a large percentage of Nissan’s total US sales.

The Rogue, Nissan’s compact SUV, is a great example of how consumers’ ever-changing tastes have pushed many businesses towards crossovers and SUVs.

The compact SUV, which first came onto the market for model year 2008, sold just 75,053 units in its first year of availability. In 2018, Nissan sold more than 412,110 Rogue models across the United States, representing an increase in sales of almost 450% in just 11 years.

Aiming to further capitalize on changes in the needs of American car buyers, Nissan launched a hybrid version of the Rogue in 2017. One year earlier, the brand also introduced the Kicks -- its subcompact-class crossover SUV, aimed primarily at city drivers.

With both manufacturers and dealers increasingly moving their businesses away from sedans to crossovers and SUVs, and consumers driving this change, many in the industry are wondering if the era of the American sedan is coming to a close.

With oil prices relatively stable, gas prices low and car buyers increasingly interested in the size and comfort offered by larger vehicle, the answer could very well be a “yes.

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