Are American Car Buyers Finally Ditching SUVs for Sedans?

It looks like automakers such as Ford and Chevy may have been a bit hasty in phasing out all their sedan models. Just a couple of years ago, news sites were flinging out stories about how trucks and SUVs were replacing sedans in the hearts of consumers. 

While this was undoubtedly true, some figured this was merely a phase and that there would always be a place for sedans, especially when considering fuel economy. Now it appears that this is true, as a report from WardsAuto reveals that sedan sales are beginning to pick back up due to rising gas prices.

The sedans are back in town

A blue 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid midsize sedan model promotional photo
2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Kelley Blue Book recently released the 2022 Q1 report for the Brand Watch, and it’s no surprise that Toyota and BMW have stampeded the competition. It’s also not shocking that the sedan sales helped propel these two auto giants to the top again.

So, why this sudden swing back to sedans after trucks and SUVs have reigned supreme for so long? WardsAuto believes it has to do with the rise in gas prices.

When SUVs and trucks had such stellar sales, the gas prices were less than $2. Now, as we approach costs of $5 a gallon, it’s putting a massive economic struggle on consumers who can’t afford to go to work, much less do things for fun, such as heading out on a long-awaited road trip.

In an interview with Wards, Vanessa Ton, Senior Manager at Cox Automotive Research and Market Intelligence, stated, “BMW and Toyota came back on top because of the sedans under their model lineups. And when you look at the sedan or car consideration, it increased by six percentage points (from 31% the previous quarter to 37% in the first quarter of 2022). Six percentage points is a huge jump.”

Part of the reason for this considerable increase in sedan sales could also be that sedans are typically cheaper than SUVs and trucks. You could argue that luxury sedans still cost more than some SUVs, but once you include the price of gas, things tend to level out.

Don’t rule out trucks and SUVs just yet

While the trend shows that sedans are once again gaining in popularity, this doesn’t mean that automakers should stop the production of SUVs and trucks. There are still some consumers who will buy one for the mere pleasure of driving it.

With that being said, the Kelley Blue Book report showed that the Durango helped Dodge bring in some stellar sales numbers, which is ironic considering Dodge plans to do away with it. The Escalade also helped with this for the Cadillac brand.

Why must we pay these excessive gas prices?

That question is probably going through everyone’s mind as they stop at the pumps. Well, unless you drive an EV, that is.

The answer for those who can’t afford an electric vehicle is rising oil demand. During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many people worked from home and didn’t need to drive. Now that the pandemic is slowing down and people are hitting the roadways again, oil companies are struggling to keep up with the demand increase.

So, when can we expect gas prices to go back to something more affordable? Unfortunately, experts seem to think that will not happen in 2022. Prices will most likely remain above $4 a gallon, which sounds cheap to some Californians, who are currently paying over $6 a gallon.

Hopefully, oil companies will find ways to meet the rising demand for drivers. In the meantime, we’re stuck paying some of the highest gas prices in U.S. history.

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