Sedans lose out to SUVs, EVs in Korea, Japan

2023.03.24 09:57:01 | 2023.03.24 10:01:31

Camry [Photo provided by Toyota Motor]이미지 확대

Camry [Photo provided by Toyota Motor]



Sedans, including long-time flagship models, are losing ground to sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and electric cars in the global automotive industry.

According to foreign media outlets on Thursday, Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. plans to discontinue sales of the Camry, its 43-year-old flagship model, in the Japanese market. The carmaker has notified its nationwide dealerships that it will cease production of the Camry for local customers at the end of this year. It has already halted receiving new orders for the model.

Toyota said that the model will be only sold in foreign markets with high demand, such as the U.S. and Southeast Asia.

Toyota sold more than 21 million units of the Camry in 100 countries after it launched the mid-size sedan in 1980. The model was the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. for 15 straight years from 2002, selling more than 13 million units as of the end of last year.

Sales in Japan, however, have been on a decline every year since 21,414 units in 2018. Last year, sales plunged 45 percent to 5,824.

Toyota decided to cease production of the Camry for many reasons, including the chip shortage for automobiles, but the most plausible is that the popularity of sedans is falling due to higher demand for SUVs and minivans.

Other Japanese carmakers have also discontinued the sales of full-size sedans. Nissan Motor Co. halted Fuga and Honda Motor Co. Legend.

Sonata [Photo provided by Hyundai Motor]이미지 확대

Sonata [Photo provided by Hyundai Motor]



South Korea is no exception to this trend.

Hyundai Motor Co. is likely to halt further development of its 38-year-old mid-size sedan Sonata after the next 8th generation facelift model is released in the second half of this year.

The Korean carmaker, however, said that it may come up with an EV version of the sedan in the future.

Hyundai Motor sold 48,308 Sonatas last year, significantly down from its peak of more than 100,000 units.

Kia Corp.’s Stinger and Hyundai Motor’s Genesis G70, both sports sedans, are also engaged in discontinuation procedures.

According to automobile statistics platform CarIsYou, the number of newly registered sedans in Korea was 494,951 in 2022, down 12.6 percent from a year ago. SUVs, on the other hand, rose 5.4 percent during the same period.

Automakers are turning to EVs as an alternative to sedans as they adopt strategies that focus on green and carbon-neutral initiatives.

“Until many years ago, the only option for green vehicles was sedans,” said Kwon Eun-kyung, a researcher at the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association. “But now, automakers are introducing more EV and hybrid lineups of SUVs.”

By Lee Yu-sup and Han Yubin

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]