To look at automakers' lineups these days, it would appear that America's large car market is enjoying something of a resurgence. After all, Chevrolet has invested in a new Impala, Toyota has its new Avalon, Hyundai fielded an all-new Azera for 2012, and Nissan is presently working on a next-generation Maxima.

Yet, according to the industry forecasters at Polk, the market for mainstream big sedans is cratering. According to Polk's data, the large mainstream sedan segment has plunged from a 5.8-percent share of the US car market in 2008 to just 3.5 percent in 2012. That sales drop is enough to put this most American of car bodystyles behind the minivan segment, a market whose own sales slide has been comparatively well documented.

According to Polk, part of the reason for the shift is America's increasing appetite for smaller and more efficient vehicles, along with increased automaker emphasis on the midsize sedan segment, where more frequent redesigns and new technologies are becoming commonplace. In fact, Polk hypothesizes that at some point, family sedans like the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord may be subject to "re-definition" as America's largest non-luxury automobiles.

Despite the grim outlook, the firm's analysts believe that the "large car category will survive in the near term" thanks to forthcoming entries like the Chevrolet SS, Kia Cadenza and Volkswagen Phaeton, which Polk expects to return in 2015. On the premium side of the street, the picture looks somewhat better, with the number of big luxury players staying pretty much the same. Even so, sales of cars in the class from automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz has slipped from .76-percent to .46-percent of the total US sales market.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 113 Comments
      Stridenttube
      • 1 Year Ago
      My 96 Bonneville SSEi was considered a full size sedan when It was new. Today's midsize sedans make my Pontiac look small, and not to mention lightweight. So no, the full size sedan market is not withering away, they are sold as a "midsize sedan".
        Dump
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Stridenttube
        Exactly, today's midsize car is fairly big now. And the cost of a true large car has increased by a fair amount as well. Same goes for trucks, SUVs.
        goVintage
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Stridenttube
        You hit the nail on the head. Many cars have grown in size - Accord, Camry, Civic, Taurus, Jetta, Camaro, Challenger, etc. The article is so far off. Try parking an older model beside a new one, despite the category, there are much larger.
      mitytitywhitey
      • 1 Year Ago
      Uhhh... Maybe it's because cars that used to be mid-size are now as big inside as a full-size was, this negating the need to buy a car with a larger exterior.
      Juggernaut
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wish GM would also import the Caprice for civilian sales. The new SS will be great, but it'll also be low volume and high price. A quick check of eBay shows at least one Caprice detective model (non-spotlight, less-stripped interior) for less than $30k with very low miles. That's where I will shop for my next car since I can't buy it at the dealership.
        Dump
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Juggernaut
        The next Impala should fill that need. Also, may be a pretty good chance that the new Impala may be blessed with the new TTV6 option as well. And a possibility that the Impala may get a V8 option too. All is not lost.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      The form of transport may have changed shape from large land yacht cars of the past to large land yacht CUVs. We are no different from our parents and grandparents.
        BG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Teleny411
        Of course we are no different. But today's generation pats itself on the back and proclaims that they are more creative and adventurous than their grandparents ever were - and then step into their 4000-lb, 7-passenger behemoth crossover. (Which, by the way, looks like every other crossover in the cul-de-sac neighborhood.)
      RetrogradE
      • 1 Year Ago
      OMG. That woman, that hair, that bench seat, that car? Yep, sign me up. I'd drive the pig skinned bus to tuna town all day long with that set-up.
      GeeDavy
      • 1 Year Ago
      The large car market is shrinking because the mid-sized cars have grown tremendously over time. For instance, the Accord was 171.9 inches in 1979, 179.7 in 1988, 188.8 in 2002 and 191.4 today. A Mercedes S-class in 90s ranged from 201 - 205 inches, which is where it is today. So mid-sized cars have gained a lot more room for a lot less money compared to their bigger counterparts. Large cars also used to be the only way to get truly top-end interiors but that's no longer true either as many of today's smaller cars have the same premium tech and materials. All and all, it's car manufacturers just don't provide enough of a reason for many buyers to buy a large-sized saloon car any longer.
      Nickoo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Of course it's going away, the packaging on midsizers has never offered more room, there's competition from cross-overs that offer even more room an extra row of seating, and just as good of gas milage, and large cars, with the exception of the grossly overstyled dodge charger and luxury, are all vastly overpriced, FWD, and generally boring.
      Rich
      • 1 Year Ago
      What are you talking about... large cars are just "relabled" as mid-size... look at a Passat or a 3-series/5-series... they are BOATS!
      56Jalopy
      • 1 Year Ago
      OK reality check. I am 66 and traded my Nissan Frontier four door for a Ford Fusion, mainly for fuel economy reasons. Problem is, as much as i like the Fusion, my body does not like to get out and stand up after a long drive. I need a taller car and am starting to think Edge. There are a lot of people like me out there...... Oh, by the way I may be the old fart in the left lane crawling up your bumper so I can run fast in the fast lane.
        Hazdaz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @56Jalopy
        Older people tend to not like climbing UP into SUVs which have higher seating. If you want a more vertical seating position, you probably should be looking at minivans which have seats that start off lower to the ground like a car, but seats which are more vertical like a truck.
          tagberto
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Hazdaz
          Actually, 56Jalopy mentioned an Edge which is a CUV and its seating is higher than most sedans but lower than a traditional SUV. That has been one of the reasons given for a shift in sales from large sedans to CUVs.
      to your email L
      • 1 Year Ago
      Jeez do your research, the current 'large cars' are the size of a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, only after that until the Arab Oil Embargo of 74 were the large cars the anomaly. And please same for the engines. Remember the 3.5 inline 6 of the same Chevy, well Chrysler's (and many other makes) are the same size V-6 and with DOHC, direct electronic injection, VVT, 4valve/cyl puts out way more horsepower that the L-6 of 1955 with better fuel economy and lower emissions.
        patrick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @to your email L
        true...my "boat" "large" 2011 charger is 2" longer than my 1976 plymouth duster, which when new was considered a compact (granted, the charger is about 5" wider), and is about 16" shorter than a late model crown vic or 91-96 caprice heck, in 1976, the new Volare/Aspen were chrysler's newest compacts...then that platform was considered midsized by 1979 with the Diplomat/Lebaron (IDENTICAL to the 4 door aspen/volare except for trim and front and rear styling) when the C-body newoports, furies, and monacos were redone on the R platform (which was carryover of the coronet/satellite midsize B body platform from nearly a decade prior), and by 1983, the diplomat/gran fury/Fifth Avenue became chrysler's "full size" offering, once their product portfolio became swamped with K car variants....
      nd4spdsrt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Today's "large car" pales when parked next to my mammoth old towncar..
        phat_toaster
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nd4spdsrt
        What year is your Town Car?
        little b
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nd4spdsrt
        My 73 Riviera is 1 1/2 feet longer than my grandmas 94 town car and the riv is a coupe haha
      Astutent
      • 1 Year Ago
      Two major reasons for this: 1) "Midsize" and "compact" cars are now FAR larger than the midsize and compact cars of yore. A midsize nowadays is about the size of a full-size of years past. Have you seen how big the Accord has become? 2) The preponderance of available CUVs and SUVs
        rollie
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Astutent
        Whaaat? Where are you from?
        Cruising
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Astutent
        No kidding, for example the EPA considers the new Sentra a midsize car.
    • Load More Comments