U.S. consumers have become more concerned about the price of gas as well as car payments. Because of this, there has been a noted shift from midsize sedans like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Ford Fusion to small cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze and the Honda Fit. Another factor that has contributed to the shift is that small cars are not as cramped as the econoboxes in the 1980s and 1990s and they have been equipped with the features that bigger cars have. Marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates said that as early as this year, compact cars are expected to outsell midsize vehicles.
This event has never been seen in at least the past 20 years. About a handful of years ago, almost 250,000 more midsize cars than compact cars were sold in the U.S. Of course, gas was a lot cheaper and automakers didn’t have as many small models on sale. By 2015, J.D. Power believes that compact and subcompact cars will make up 20% of sales while midsize cars will only make up around 14%.
In the last 15 years, the Camry is the top-selling car in the U.S. Toyota hopes that it will be able to maintain this. In the fall, Toyota launched a new version that raises the fuel economy to 35 miles per gallon (15 kilometers per liter). It’s even priced lower than the old model. However, there’s increasing competition from smaller cars like the Hyundai Elantra, which returns 40 mpg (17 kpl) and is priced $5,000 lower. Elantra sales increased by 46% to 161,000 through October. On the other hand, Camry sales dropped by 9% to 251,000 units. [source: CBSLocal]