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The End of American Sedans

(44 posts)
  1. mso489

    mso489

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    There are certainly sedans made in the U.S., but not by American companies. There are a few remaining hold-outs I think, but Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler Fiat are pretty much out of the sedan building business. Sedan customers go mostly for Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Mercedes, and Subaru, and a few others. It seems even Lincoln has gone entirely to SUV's and crossovers. Okay, so I may have missed some specific models, but the U.S. isn't in the sedan business much anymore. I think the VW bug was the beginning of the end. The U.S. tried to come up with a good small car and has tried everything from the Saturn to the Cavelier, from the Pinto to the Dart, and dozens more, never quite getting the hang of the engineering or the marketing. As long as the old big three can sell SUV's, crossovers, and trucks-trucks-truck by the load, maybe it doesn't matter. But it's a moment in automobile history, maybe just before we go mostly driverless and/or electric. Do you lament or just look forward to whatever comes next? I miss 'em all, from the Studebaker Electric, to the Hupmobile, to the Reo and the Chrysler Imperial ... a great run with models miraculous and terrible. I love a classic car show, and all those bygone names. Kaiser, Henry J., Willis, and DeSoto.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  2. irishearl

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    I, too, rather lament the seeming passing of sedan-making. We have never owned a SUV-style car. But late last year we had to find a replacement for our big sedan, a 2000 Chrysler Concorde. Hey, I like big boats. Were looking @ just used sedans and ended up buying a Honda Fit, which is essentially a mini-SUV. Must say I really like it and don't miss a sedan now.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  3. puffy

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    Like a lot of other folks I like my SUV.I sit up higher and have a better view of the road.It also seems more practical for my life style.That being said most of the cars I've owned were sedans.I guess the car guys just feel that they're not selling enough of them.That could change in years to come..I still remember my first car.Handed down to me by my father.It was a 1953 Buick sedan.

    Life's most valuable treasure is..Love
    Posted 5 months ago #
  4. mso489

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    I'm sorry to say (really) that I have never owned an American brand car, though I had one of the Subaru Legacy station wagons built in Indiana with lots of bells and whistles, that needed lots of warranty work (a.c. twice, both engine fans replaced, and a blown wheel baring). After that it was dependable. I would always start at an American dealership trying to buy a Buick, an Oldsmobile, a Mercury, etc., but the sales people were always luke warm, didn't like the way I parted my hair. I'd go up the street for a Nissan, Subaru, or Mazda, and it was the red carpet, salesman came out after dark to bring me brochures. What was that about? I mean the cold shoulder from the Mercury salesmen? No wonder American sedans are defunct.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  5. mso489

    mso489

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    Speaking of historical American automobile brands, guess who made the four diesel power plants on my minesweeper USS Gallant MSO 489. Packard! I actually had a friend who drove an old Packard limo to church youth group beach picnics and hauled six or eight of us on passenger and jumper seats. But that wasn't diesel.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  6. brian64

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    But it's a moment in automobile history, maybe just before we go mostly driverless

    Here's a look at what that will be like:

    Part 1:

    https://dilbert.com/strip/2019-01-24

    Part 2:

    https://dilbert.com/strip/2019-01-25

    Part 3:

    https://dilbert.com/strip/2019-01-26

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 5 months ago #
  7. trouttimes

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    Does Lincoln not stil make the town car? What are the folks in DC getting hauled around in if Town cars are gone?

    “The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone, I must follow if I can
    Posted 5 months ago #
  8. ron123

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    I think in DC there's more and more Suburbans, but Cadillac is still making sedans, too...and Lincoln is coming out with a cool Continental with rear suicide doors for 2019.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  9. saltedplug

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    I drive a 2000 Avalon, quite the sedan and still rolling.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  10. mothernaturewilleatusallforbreakfast

    mothernature

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    My first car was a manual Saturn SL1. The passenger side mirror was an option so my old man, of course, passed. My second car was a manual Chevrolet Cavalier. I drove it all over NYC in 2002. My third was a automatic rear-wheel drive Dodge Dakota. I moved onto a used 2003 Mercury Mountaineer and currently drive a manual 2017 VW Jetta. I've liked them all and hope I get to drive more cars in the future. The best car I've ever driven was a manual 1984 Trans Am.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  11. woodsroad

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    All of my cars have been manual, starting with a ‘79 Honda wagon, followed by several Subaru wagons, an Audi 90 Quattro Sport, a Subaru WRX, another Subaru wagon, a VW TDI wagon and now a ‘17 VW Golf AllTrac wagon. All have had their charms and strong points, but I don’t see myself ever getting another sedan.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  12. verporchting

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    I've owned some beautiful American sedans but I've just got little or no use for them anymore. Large pickups and SUVs are more practical for where I live, and honestly, the modern 4wd trucks ride like a dream, handle well in all conditions and get reasonably good fuel economy. Plus, they are safer and can pull a trailer and still seat 4 people.

    What's not to like? Other than cost... but sedans aren't cheap either.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  13. lordofthepiperings

    lordofthepiperings

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    I bought a VW Tiguan a couple years ago. I love that it's a crossover car and SUV. I love the fact it's up a bit higher and there's definitely more room in it. As I play ice hockey I need a lot of trunk space for the smelly old hockey bag.

    "The thinking man always smokes a Peterson." -Peterson of Dublin
    Posted 5 months ago #
  14. ashdigger

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    I don't care about the demise of sedans, but I mourn the demise of the Chevy Avalanche. I own the 2011 version and absolutely love it. Best vehicle I've ever owned.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 5 months ago #
  15. voorhees

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    American car manufacturers built some the most influential and beautiful sedans ever. The industry as a whole has evolved and while there are some wonderful new SUV and CUV designs they will never rival those sedans of yesteryear. I’m considering a new Bronco as my next ride, my life changed and I have not much need for a sedan, but still love the mid sixties Lincolns.

    Jason
    Posted 5 months ago #
  16. trouttimes

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    Great ride for road trip cars. Huge trunks, you could live in those things. Carry all the luggage you could ever want to carry. Great cars for the drive-in. Really bad gas mileage. That's one of the main reasons they have mostly gone away. At 9 to 12 mpg, only the wealthy could afford to drive them.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  17. madox07

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    Personally I blame the low taxes and the price of gas in the US, for mso's dilemma. When I first bought a car in the US, you couldn't fit $20 worth of gas in the tank - that was a 1995 NIssan Altima. When I left the US, 6 years later, the price of gas was somewhat higher, so I would fill up the tank for roughly $28. In Texas I paid for DMV tax about $54 every two years, and a technical inspection cost about $100 or so. So ... who wouldn't want a big, comfortable, large load capacity, SUV/truck?

    Here is Europe: in most EU countries for a 3.5 liter engine capacity or higher you pay anywhere between EUR 1000 and EUR 2000 / year in taxes. A liter of gasoline costs EUR 1.2 depending on region (the difference between the price of a barrel divided to a liter, and the price of a liter is due to high government tariffs). Diesel, which is cheaper than gas, in some larger cities in Europe - especially German cities, e.g. Munchen, it is illegal do drive in certain central areas based on some sort of pollution argument. Some cars with EURO 4 or lower pollution technical specifications are illegal to drive in some European cities. The "epoque" cars are exempt from this rule, but depending on region a car must pe up to at least 40 years old in order to be considered "epoque". Supply and demand works just as fine over here too, laissez faire not so much, on the other hand.

    Sea Wolf Pipers

    "Like the mariners of old, a loner is acceptable but a pipe is best enjoyed in a pack"
    Posted 5 months ago #
  18. danish

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    For us here in Denmark it is the Beginning of American Sedans. The Tesla model 3 is finally coming to us now. The model S has been here for a while but it is very expensive for most, although you get more bang for the buck, due to lower taxes on the less polluting/electric cars. I have had many cars and also enjoyed driving for weeks in USA in a nice new Mercury Grand Marquis. If imported, that car would have been taxed 180 pct plus VAT and the gas prices are much higher here. Therefore American cars never sold well here, until now, where you have to wait months to get your Tesla. Since I never liked the noise and pollution from any cars (who does?), this is a great time. I have tried driving the semi autonomous Tesla models S and really loved it. A model 3 however would still be a dream car for me but a cheaper BMW i3, which has also gotten a bigger battery, could cover all our needs and be fun at it. Electric cars are faster, easier to drive and maintain and are also getting safer, due to the development in eg autonomous driving.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  19. jvnshr

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    Sedan sales are declining not only in the States but all over the world. SUVs and crossovers are taking over the market.

    Javan
    Posted 5 months ago #
  20. ssjones

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    It's sad, I'm definitely a sedan guy, currently driving a Lincoln MKZ, which I love.
    In DC, it's definitely about the large SUV's, tons of Tahoe's and Suburbans, all black.

    We've had a great run of American sedans, even of late (first gen Taurus SHO, Fords SVT series). Pontiac GTO and sedan variant were all great cars. 94-96 Impala SS, then the Mercury Marauder. The last gen Chevy SS was an incredibly capable sedan. The Cadillac CTS-V variants were also world class vehicles. All gone, sad.

    I owned a Subaru Forester for about a year, worst car I've ever owned, couldn't wait to unload that one.

    Al

    Posted 5 months ago #
  21. trouttimes

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    Electric is great in certain usage but here in Colorado, the range is not enough at this time. I also don't see anyone making a truck to haul my horses or cows at this time. With China being by far the largest source of pollution, I question how much we are helping. This is a big topic for another forum.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  22. mso489

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    About U.S. sedans of the past, I always had a fixation on the Chevy Monte Carlo despite Consumer Reports always giving it a stinko rating on durability and reliability and everything else. It was the sheet metal that enchanted me, the simple coupe configuration with just sweeping touches of folds in the side panels, the understatement that made it among the most beautiful autos of all, simplicity and art. I think perhaps I am the only person in the world that feels this way other than the designer who sketched the metalwork on his or her drafting table thirty or so years ago.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  23. paulie66scandinavian

    Paul

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    Most my cars have been U.S made sedans starting with Rambler American and Plymouth Valiant in my youth,then it was Ford Mercury Grand marquise after came Cadillac Fleetwood brougham(that one was a real gas burner) and today my daily cruiser is Lincoln Town car of 98, all these were pretty dependable highway cruisers yet this latest Lincoln seems to offer pretty good gas mileage,but frankly I'd like to have the latest year incarnation of Ford Crown Victoria Police interceptor sedan,unfortunately these are pretty rare event yet quite expensive where I live.

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 5 months ago #
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    hoppes

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    The EPA regs have changed the car industry and models that are available now. One has to search high and wide to find a vehicle now that is not 4 wheel drive. We live in a Western State that at the most has a week of snow on the ground so a 4 wheel drive car is completely useless, decreases gas mileage and increases maintenance more than double. Why is that ? The EPA considers 4wheel drive vehicles as trucks so the EPA fuel requirements are less---so the manufacturer can decrease their fuel requirement quotas by producing mostly 4 wheel drive vehicles. It actually increases pollution but don't tell anyone. They want you to buy electric anyway. I wonder if anyone has studied just where the electricity will be produced to power all these green cars--must take some form of energy to produce/store all the electricity that will be required when the EPA bans gasoline and diesel.Battery technology can't supply the storage capacity for much more mileage. How much energy is being spent to produce one electric car ?? And what happens to all of these when the batteries are worn? Sounds like no one is coming clean on so-called clean energy. Just some questions to contemplate. Hoppes

    Posted 5 months ago #
  25. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    Don't get me started on what a joke the EPA is.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  26. trouttimes

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    Watch it Ash, you're going to get us in trouble again. IBTL

    Posted 5 months ago #
  27. ashdigger

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    That's why I kept it simple and didn't elaborate. I'm smarter than I look.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  28. mikethompson

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    I've been hearing this for a while now, that sedan sales are on the decline. With Ford's recent announcement and GM recently saying that the Oshawa plant will close (the Impala is built there), going over to full CUV and SUV just makes sense for them.

    I've never had a domestic (save for our current van) and between my wife and I (8 vehicles total), only one has had a trunk. The fact is that a wagon or van is the most practical vehicle for most people, but they don't want to be seen in a wagon (that's uncool) or a minivan (that's more so). The solution then are these crossovers, which are essentially tall wagons/vans. At least that's my two cents, which is worth nothing after the exchange.

    It should be noted that I still see plenty of sedans being driven around, they just aren't domestic.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  29. scloyd

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    My father-in-law was a new car salesman and when a customer came in with an older decent trade-in he would offer them more in cash on the side. My wife and I always owned two cars and sometimes we would purchase these cars from my father-in-law. We had some nice dependable used cars. I can't remember the exact years...we had a Chevy Biscayne, Ford Galaxie 500, Mercury Marquis, AMC Hornet, Plymouth Valiant and a few more. The funny thing is I can't remember the years of these cars but I can remember the colors.

    The two things I miss most about the old sedans is the bench front seat and being able to work on it myself (no computers).

    Posted 5 months ago #
  30. lawdawg

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    I drive a Ford F-150 pickup truck. That said, I wish vehicles in America were more like vehicles in Europe... small and gas-efficient. Americans drive huge vehicles we don't need, which make the road unsafe for smaller more efficient vehicles.

    I do need my truck because I heat my house with wood, and I use the truck constantly for hauling various other things... gravel for my drive way, yard waste, lumber and materials for projects I'm constantly working on, fishing boats, canoes and gear, etc. I would be perfectly happy with a small truck like they used to make in the 90's and early 2000's, but none of them are in production anymore.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  31. cosmicfolklore

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    Lawdog, I think exactly like you do. I drive a Nissan Frontier, but I was excited that they were bringing back the Ford Ranger, because I have always wanted one of those small trucks, but then when I saw them on the lot, they are larger than my Frontier. I don't get it. Why isn't there a small truck on the market? It would be nice to be able to haul things, but still be able to negotiate my way into a tight parking spot without having to do a 22 point turn.
    But, of course it is still easier to park than my old stepside that I use at the farm.

    Michael
    Posted 5 months ago #
  32. lawdawg

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    Cosmic, my dad has a six-speed manual Frontier with the off road package, and it's an awesome truck. I've considered getting one like it next time I'm in the market for another truck. Same thoughts as you regarding the new "Ranger" which is barely smaller than the current F-150s. I've read speculative opinions that nobody makes a small pickup any more for two reason: one is safety regulations, the other being low profit margins. The old Rangers were cheap and lasted forever. I don't buy the "safety" explanation because there are plenty of tiny vehicles on the market which I presume meet minimal safety standards. I also suppose people might have just started buying more large vehicles, including big trucks, and fewer smaller vehicles and little trucks.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  33. bradical

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    In 20 years, all new cars will be electric vans. The writing is definitely on the wall, and these companies are adjusting sooner rather than later. It will be interesting to see which large auto manufacturers go out of business because they didn't adjust soon enough.

    Don't go chasing waterfalls.
    Posted 5 months ago #
  34. cosmicfolklore

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    My uncle in the car business explains to me, as gas goes up, smaller cars sell like crazy, and as gas goes down, everyone buys bigger engines. Yeh, I was tempted to buy one of the old Rangers for my daughter. Nothing seems to kill them, except rust.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  35. bradical

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    Yeh, I was tempted to buy one of the old Rangers for my daughter. Nothing seems to kill them, except rust.

    I wish someone still made a single cab pickup.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  36. anantaandroscoggin

    anantaandroscoggin

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    I keep getting letters from car dealerships in this region that "want me" to come in and sell/trade in my 2010 Chevy Impala -- BUT, I haven't had that car since I traded it in a little over three years ago.

    Driving a Grand Caravan nowadays, which at least I can set trash cans in the back of to take to the transfer station, whereas the Impala's trunk wouldn't let me do that even with the trunk lid open but strapped in place.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  37. dochudson

    dochudson

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    The wife has driven a new Honda Accord every 3 years since '96. Kids and friends convinced her she needed a CR-V AWD. I stayed out of it as no good deed goes unpunished. Needless to say no way she will keep it 3 years before going back to the Accord.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  38. mso489

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    When you have a need for a heavy duty vehicle, there's no replacement -- four kids, fire wood, trash to the dump, etc. But half or more of the heavy duty vehicles never see heavy duty. The lonely little head of the driver sticking up with two bags of groceries in the backseat. The eight year old pickup bed that doesn't have a scratch. I thought of a business to rub out pickup beds with concrete blocks to make them look used. To drive an 18 mpg vehicle for light duty seems really impractical. Though even I drive a little four-banger hatchback instead of a sedan for easy hauling of my wife's wheelchair when needed. Mostly she goes on crutches to avoid being treated badly and talked past, which is a problem.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  39. ashdigger

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    I need a truck. If you want a small Fred Flintstone sled don't complain if my truck turns yours into a crushed beer can. Life is full of risks, the trick is mitigating it, not enhancing it.

    Btw, I have avoided plenty of idiot drivers hitting me because I sit higher, pay attention use all of my mirrors.

    I have driven approximately 60,000 miles a year for the last 15 years, in my 40 years total of driving I have accumulated zero tickets and zero accidents.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  40. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    don't complain if my truck turns yours into a crushed beer can.

    and
    Btw, I have avoided plenty of idiot drivers hitting me because I sit higher, pay attention use all of my mirrors.

    I have driven approximately 60,000 miles a year for the last 15 years, in my 40 years total of driving I have accumulated zero tickets and zero accidents.


    Which is it? Do I not complain when you run me over, or should I envy your lack of accidents?

    Besides, you probably need a big truck for hauling around all of that toxic maleness.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  41. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    Toxic Maleness......you must be smoking that soapstone pipe.

    The comment about running folks over was generic, since everyone appears to lament small cars.

    But, in actuality, its like pipes and tobacco. Do what you like, just don't piss on my choices.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  42. trouttimes

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    I hear you Ash. People ask me why I drive such a big truck. I say because I can afford to. Thanks everyone who drives the little cars, that leaves more fuel for me. Besides, I have oil company stock in my retirement. I need people to keep burning fuel.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  43. ssjones

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    @ashdigger, I have driven approximately 60,000 miles a year for the last 15 years, in my 40 years total of driving I have accumulated zero tickets and zero accidents.

    Damn! I thought that I was the highmileage man, that is some serious driving!

    My last cars:
    14 MKZ - 140,000 miles
    08 Altima - 399,990 miles
    03 Accord - 339,000 miles
    96 Firebird - 115,000 miles
    93 Nissan NX200 - 349,000 miles

    My favorite sedan, we sold this a mint condition version of this in 2010, it had the license plate "SSJONES", we still miss it.

    With 15" black steel wheels and four snow tires, it was unstoppable in the snow. And, with a bright red coffee mug on the dash, everyone got out of my way on the DC Beltway.

    But I'm way below your 15 year total!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  44. mso489

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    Didn't the little Ford Ranger truck have a Mitsubishi engine? Why did those engines live forever in the Ford trucks and barely run in the Mitsubishi sedans? A deep mystery. I don't mean to be glib, but I think Mitsu cars sort of died out from their bad reputation, and now they're trying to bring them back; I'm not sure how the new ones run.

    Posted 5 months ago #

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