With automakers largely sharing positive news regarding sales through 2023, we noticed something interesting amid all the talk of SUVs and trucks. Sedan sales are up, and in some cases, they are way up. It seems this waning segment still appeals to buyers, which easily racked up over 500,000 new sedan purchases for just a few mainstream models in the first half of the year.
As expected, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord continue to carry the segment but curiously, it’s the Chevrolet Malibu that captured our attention. Long rumored to be on the chopping block, the modest four-door just clocked 40,731 sales in the second quarter of 2023. It’s a year-over-year increase of 25.4 percent, and it’s not just a fluke. Year-to-date Malibu sales total 78,169 units, a 34.4-percent rise from last year. It’s currently the third best-selling vehicle in Chevrolet’s portfolio, trailing the Equinox by a small margin. The Chevrolet Silverado is – as it’s been for years – well ahead as the best-selling Bow Tie of them all.
Admittedly, sales were down sharply among all brands during the supply-chain crisis of 2022. But that doesn’t explain why Malibu sales are way up while Equinox sales are down almost 10 percent. It’s also worth noting the current-generation Malibu is eight years old. It debuted in 2015 for the 2016 model year, and its last refresh was in 2019. With Ford dropping all sedans and Buick following suit, rumors of a Malibu demise were totally believable.
We’ve since heard that a new model could arrive in 2025. Armed with this new sales data, we contacted Chevrolet to ask about Malibu’s current success and the future of sedans with the company. A spokesperson credited greater availability of parts to meet pent-up demand for the Malibu, but declined to comment about the future. With it outselling models like the Tahoe, Traverse, Colorado, and Blazer, could Chevrolet afford to kill the only sedan it has left?
Malibu isn’t the only sedan in demand these days. Toyota Camry sales are up 10.9 percent through the first half of the year, totaling 150,742 units. Only the RAV4 is more popular in Toyota’s lineup with 187,017 sales. Stepping down in size, the Corolla is still popular with 97,498 sales, though that’s actually a decrease of 16.5 percent compared to last year. Still, with nearly a quarter-million sedan sales through the first six months of 2023, the automaker has no plans to leave the segment behind.
“Toyota remains committed to sedans and is one of the only full-line automakers today,” a company spokesperson told Motor1.com in an email. “The recent sales success of our vehicles, including the legendary Camry, speaks to the strong ongoing demand in the market. We will continue to listen to customers and provide exciting vehicles that meet their diverse needs.”
At Honda, Accord sales are up 24.2 percent, equalling 99,845 units. The Hyundai Elantra’s current-gen styling might be controversial, but it hasn’t dissuaded buyers. 74,738 units have sold this year, representing a whopping 53-percent year-over-year increase. And while attention at Dodge is focused on the demise of the current-gen Challenger, the Charger is also going away. It’s not going quietly though, registering 46,732 sales thus far – a 22 percent increase.
Even the doomed Nissan Maxima is enjoying some sedan resurgence with an impressive 64.6-percent year-over-year sales increase. It’s still just 6,177 units though, and it’s not enough for Nissan to change course on sunsetting its long-running four-door (we asked). The company does say the Altima is “an important part” of the lineup, however. With 63,241 sales through 2023, we can see why.
Totaling up just the sedans mentioned here, we arrive at 617,142 four-door sales from January to June. Trucks and SUVs certainly have considerably more buyers, but it’s safe to say the sedan segment is far from dead.