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Why have Americans grown disenchanted with sedans?

Volkswagen sedan in Brooklyn, NY
Volkswagen sedan in Brooklyn, NY
(Photo by Jonathan Fickies/Getty Images)

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Just five years ago, American car sales were split between passenger cars and light trucks, but now sales for sedans have dropped to about a third, and are expected to shrink beyond that.

According to the Wall Street Journal, one factor is that SUVs have become smaller while still offering all the perks that attract consumers: higher seating, improved handling and more room. They’re also using less fuel, so the cost differential is shrinking. But there’s also a shift in how Americans are relating to cars – perhaps caring less about the machinery and more about what a car can functionally provide.

Have you experienced a shift in what you look for in a car? Are you still an owner of a sedan? Or if you made the switch over to an SUV, why?


Mike Colias, reporter for The Wall Street Journal covering the automotive industry, who has written about how the relationship between people and their cars is changing; he tweets @MikeColias

John Heitmann, history professor and former chair of the History Department at the University of Dayton in Ohio, who focuses on science, technology and the history of automobile; author of the book, "The Automobile and American Life" (McFarland, 2018)