For decades, the midsize sedan was the prototypical “car,” representing the largest single vehicle category and the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord ruling the sales charts. While the Accord and Camry are still solidly in the top five best-selling vehicles (behind the Ford F-Series, of course), cumulatively, midsize sedans have been knocked off their lofty perch by SUVs, according to a Reuters report citing data from IHS Automotive. Through May 2014, SUVs have comprised 36.5 percent of new vehicle registrations, compared to 35.4 percent for sedans.
Although the Ford F-Series still rules the sales charts on a single-model volume basis, pickups as a category only represented 13 percent of registrations through May, a decrease from 14 percent in 2009. In 2013, SUVs (including the sub-category of crossover utility vehicles (CUVs)) accounted for 34 percent of new vehicle registrations, compared to 36.6 percent for sedans.
Some of the reasons cited for the growing popularity of SUVs are their traditional attributes of cargo utility, interior room, and visibility. More recent developments include the availability of more fuel-efficient engines, narrowing the once gaping economy gap between sedans and SUVs, and smaller, more car-like models that are more appealing to women and younger buyers. CUV and SUV growth is also a worldwide trend, with high demand in China, Russia, and other developing markets for new models.