Revenge of the Sedan — Next-Gen Mobile Users Reverse Trend
Next-Gen Consumers Save the Sedan
The death knell of the sedan has been sounded long and loud as SUVs of all sizes are dominating the American marketplace. Automakers with American roots, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors, have played into this narrative by systematically eliminating slow-selling sedans small cars from their U.S. line-ups.
These models have not been discontinued, just shipped to foreign manufacturing operations and distributed on the global market.
Meanwhile, it is notable that powerhouse carmakers Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and European brands like BMW, Mercedes and Volvo have moved aggressively to update signature sedans while bulking up their SUV offerings.
American brands like Cadillac, built on the dreamy ride of big land yachts are committed to sedans despite spotty domestic sales and more so in recent years because of a ready sedan audience in China and other emerging markets.
What Drives U.S. Carmakers?
For the U.S. carmakers, the numbers are driving the product line. In the decade since the financial crisis and near-collapse of the auto industry, SUVs have gone from challenging sedans to comprising 70% of U.S. annual sales. Widening the market overview to include pickup trucks and crossover SUV of varying sizes, essentially fewer than 1 out of 10 U.S. vehicle sales are traditional sedans.
While some arbiters of youth culture view sedans as a 20th Century throwback, according to focus group research done by Nissan, younger Millennial and Gen Z car buyers, who were trundled about from infancy to their teens in Minivans and SUVs, are now showing a preference for the 4 doors and a trunk simplicity of sedans.
Social science theorizes that this is another case of young people rejecting the beliefs and trappings of their parents. More specifically even when they still want personal automobiles, younger buyers are more likely to choose sedans for value, fuel efficiency, as well as parking and maneuvering convenience, best suited for the largely urbanized population centers where they live.
Death of the Sedan?
So while the U.S. market continues to see declining sales of bigger sedans and even small 4-door cars, to paraphrase Mark Twain… “The reports of the death of the sedan have been greatly exaggerated”
In fact, many younger car buyers, even those with several children, cite very basic reasons for preferring sedans and smaller cars. First, though SUVs have come a long way in terms of fuel efficiency, mid-sized and small sedans are even more stingy at the pump. Also, the overall cost of acquisition, maintenance and insurance costs are higher as the vehicle gets bigger and more complex in terms of equipment and accessories.
Younger more pragmatic car buyers are also resisting the keeping up with the Joneses peer pressure to buy into the SUV culture that doesn’t really suit them.
From a dealership standpoint catching the resurgent sedan wave early, even with a more limited range of models, is a great counter-intuitive marketing strategy. And there is no better way to drive that sales campaign than with a highly responsive mobile-first online presence that addresses the more than 60% of consumers relying primarily on their mobile device for vehicle research and selecting a dealership.
The Millennial and the Generation Z demographics are up to 90% mobile-first users and increasingly even exclusively mobile device-oriented. The younger the consumer the more they rely on their online information lifeline.
These prospects spend over 4 months and a total of 14.5 hours on the car buying process, taking up to 9 hours researching online to be fully equipped with information.
What Dealerships Need
321 Ignition offers dealerships across the country a truly mobile-first platform with the full range of integrated buying info, advanced customer engagement, intuitive navigation, clean contemporary graphics, and highly effective marketing messaging techniques to connect directly with these young buyers.
Using design and functionality based on millions of customers engagements and interactions in sweeping campaigns across multiple industries, the 321 Ignition platform is an enterprise-class digital marketing engine ideal for new car franchises and pre-owned dealerships to maximize customer contacts and increase sales conversions.
Informed consumers are looking for special offers, incentives and clear breakdowns of models, trim levels, safety features and warranty protections. These are the salient details that the 321 Ignition platform incorporates, organizes and delivers with impact and clarity.
All of these factors result in record-breaking automotive sales and online marketing capabilities that allow dealerships to power through market slowdowns meeting and beating sales projections. Auto sales operations using the 321 Ignition platform are reporting monthly unit sales to increase up to 24%!
Finally, don’t leave sales on the table! Focus on incremental sales in under-estimated segments like sedans and small cars to avoid getting caught short in sudden market shifts.