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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Full-Size Sedan Segment Is Suffering


Post by Sam Becker

Source: Chrysler
Source: Chrysler


 “V8, full-size and in a class of one” essentially sums up the current state of affairs in what was once a burgeoning segment of the automotive industry. That’s Autoblog’s Seyth Miersma, introducing the 2015 Chrysler 300S for his recent review of the car — and as he points out, one of the last of its species.

You see, outside of the luxury space, large, V8-powered sedans are becoming increasingly hard to come by. Those willing to through down in excess of $70,000, $80,000, or $90,000 (or more) will have plenty of vehicles to choose from, like a BMW M5, a Mercedes S550, or even a Lexus LS. Or the recently announced Cadillac CTS-V.

But as far as consumer-grade large sedans? They’re seemingly becoming an endangered species. Though a big, comfy four-door car was one a staple of many American households, and even a symbol of success in some regards, consumers have shifted their preferences in other directions in recent years. The result?

A market that is becoming increasingly bare. Though Chrysler has the 300, and its corporate cousin Dodge has the Charger bolstering its lineup, other automakers are headed in a different direction.
Chevy and Ford are still building the Impala and Taurus, but neither has a V8 engine. As for foreign competitors, Toyota’s Avalon is a formidable rival to cars like the 300, but even it is starting to become more of a luxury-style Camry.

Yet, despite industry trends indicating that full-size sedans are falling out of favor with consumers, Chrysler seems to be betting a lot of chips on the 300’s success. It may be on to something, as according to the company’s own sales numbers, the 300 saw a jump of 18% just within the past month. That pales in comparison, however, to the 155% growth of the 200 mid-size car over the the same time period.