Sedans aren’t selling well anymore – but it’s not really because buyers have lost interest. They have lost interest in undersized sedans – which are effectively the only sedans still available at prices most people can afford.
If you have about $20,000-$25,000 to spend, what options have you got?
One option you haven’t got is a full-sized sedan.
There are none available for $25k. There are only two available for less than $30k – just barely. They are the base trim versions of the Chevy Impala ($28,020) and the Dodge Charger ($28,995). Add a few options and you’re well above $30k.
Gumout 510011 Multi-Sy... Buy New $6.47 (as of 07:10 EDT - Details) Lots of people can’t afford that anymore. Not even with seven year financing deals. (Assuming zero interest, the monthly payment on a $30k car loan is $357; the current interest rate is actually just over 4 percent – so your payment would be substantially more.)
But they still need a vehicle with room for their family – and their family’s stuff. A smaller sedan – which they could afford – won’t cut it. Even though some have surprisingly roomy back seats, none have much in the way of trunk.
They are also effectively three-seaters – because the government mandates that small children be strapped into saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety seats and these can’t be placed in the front passenger seat because it faces the airbag, which is a saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety hazard for small kids especially. So the kid gets strapped into a seat in the back seat. Which leaves only one other small-child-viable (and small child legal) seat in the small sedan.
If the family has two kids, the car is full-up. If their kids have friends, the car is useless.
And that is why sedans are sitting unsold.
Not because they are sedans.
Hi-Spec 67 Piece SAE A... Buy New $34.99 (as of 07:20 EDT - Details) Big sedans with three-across seats that could accommodate six passengers – and which had trunks big enough to carry two or three more – did sell. And were affordable, too. The base price of a 1970 Chevy Impala was $3,132 – equivalent in today’s devalued currency to $20,880.
There were also wagons based on those sedans, and these could carry as many as nine people – more than any current minivan and most full-size SUVs, too.
Such cars were the typical cars owned by 1970s middle and working class Americans.
So what happened to them, if they were so popular?