The sedan isn’t dead (yet), according to Toyota

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Words: Matthew Hansen
4 Jun 2021

Think about the sedan segment. Now, think about how many sedans are still in production and sold today, particularly those priced in the sub-$50,000 bracket. There aren’t many options left, are there — barring cars like the Toyota Camry and Toyota Corolla sedan.

Despite the culling of sedans from other marques, Toyota continues to sell two of its most iconic sedan nameplates worldwide (it just updated the locally offered Camry a few weeks ago). And, it seems like this is something that’s set to continue.

Speaking at a panel discussion earlier this week at Toyota’s North American headquarters, officials from the brand reportedly reiterated their commitment to the humble sedan despite the much larger appetite for SUVs and trucks.

According to overseas reports, the officials at the event said that sedans are a “good” long-term investment for Toyota to continue pursuing, saying that there will still be a market for sedans in the future.

Part of the evidence for this point was the perceived plateauing of sedan sales in recent years (the segment having been in freefall at one point). Toyota continues to be North America’s sedan-market leader, with an approximate 20 per cent market share.

While sedans aren’t terribly hip or cool among new-car buyers at the minute, there are benefits for those brands who choose to persevere with them.

Sedans have a lower drag coefficient than most other body shapes, making them a popular silhouette choice for EVs. As the pursuit continues for longer range among electric cars, demand for sedans could be fueled by better range capabilities than equivalent SUVs.

The likes of Toyota are also likely to benefit from the shrinking sedan market. As more players leave the game, it means the Camry and Corolla sedan begin to look more like a default choice for those wanting a traditional three-box.

On Kiwi soil a whole host of sedans have been culled in the recent past. These include the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Subaru Legacy, Honda Accord, and naturally the Holden Commodore.

Overseas, Mazda’s North American division confirmed this week that it would be discontinuing stocking the Mazda6. Meanwhile Ford announced last month that the Mondeo nameplate was heading to the big car dealership in the sky.

New Zealand’s registration data for last month shows that sedans aren’t represented at all in the country’s top 15 most popular cars — barring the Corolla, although the iconic model’s sales are likely to be largely made up of hatchback variants.

The medium and large vehicle segments (where most sedans would reside) showed 251 and 132 local sales last month, respectively. Meaning that in May the Toyota Hilux was able to sell in almost double the capacity of the two segments combined, all by itself.

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