America is in love with SUVs, which has led to dramatic changes for every automaker. Some are increasing the amount of SUV models offered in the U.S., while others, like Honda, are cutting back on the production of other car body types like sedans. While the days of the Civic or Accord aren’t numbered, they’re clearly being beaten and outsold by the CR-V. Here’s why Honda’s scaling back on sedans and going all-in on the SUV market.
SUVs have become more popular because the latest models combine the practicality of sedans and minivans with the power and performance offered by sports cars. Not all SUVs have a massive V8 engine and 500 hp, but most have enough power so they’re not slow and boring.
This allows SUVs like the CR-V to strike a balance between the desires of your wallet and the desires of your heart. The CR-V, in particular, starts with a respectable 2.4-liter 184-hp engine and gets comparatively decent performance figures against Honda’s own sedans.
The larger SUV is also fairly fuel-efficient too, as Honda estimates the CR-V gets 28 city MPG and 34 highway MPG. The Civic and Accord’s standard trims have better fuel efficiency at 32 city MPG and 42 highway MPG, but an average combined MPG of 30 for an SUV is still pretty good.
Of course, the CR-V is also more spacious than the Civic or Accord in terms of both legroom and cargo room. Price wise, they’re relatively inexpensive cars, all starting in the $20,000 range.
According to Good Car Bad Car, SUVs sold 100,000 more cars in 2019 than in 2018. In comparison, sedans have sold worse this year than last year. The good news for Honda, however, is that the Civic is still one of the best selling sedans, despite seeing a 2.08% drop in year-to-date sales. On the other hand, the Accord saw a 5.91% drop in year-to-date sales — not great but still a smaller drop than many other sedans.
For example, Toyota’s Prius line saw a huge 32.94% drop in year-to-date sales. Again, car markets ebb and flow and consumer taste will change over time, but these are not good signs for Honda’s sedans. Comparatively, the CR-V saw a 0.86% drop in year-to-date sales, but its sales are expected to pick up as the year goes on. Looking at the data, Honda’s making a smart choice to invest in its SUVs over its sedans.
Although Honda is scaling back its production of sedans, the automaker is still determined to innovate its latest models, sedans and SUVs alike. The current CR-V model has many modern features, but these, like Honda’s suite of safety technologies, will further improve with later models.
The redesigned Civic will sport new features to give it a good case of being the best sedan on the market. These upgrades should make the Civic not only competitive with its sedan counterparts, but also competitive with SUVs in general. So in a way, this reduction in production may lead Honda to create an even better sedan as a result.