Here’s a useful small sedan, the Honda City, and it’s roughly the same size as the first Honda Civic, in 1972.
By the time the CVCC-equipped Civic range debuted in 1975 in the USA, the tiny Honda was starting the slow, but steady erosion of sales of big American cars as the second car in US garages.
The latest Honda City is a relatively sprightly, economical and roomy small sedan, featuring a 1.5L naturally aspirated engine, and an improved CVT which, unusually, includes a torque converter.
The powertrain is quiet and refined, but the performance and handling is dull. To make matters worse, Honda Australia appears to have delusions of grandeur of this car’s status in the consumers’ minds, because it’s way, way too expensive for what you get.
The 2018 City sedan is also only one of a handful of sedans still available in Australia.
A recent KPMG survey in the USA is throwing light on why sedans may be doomed, and also what is driving huge companies like Ford and Fiat-Chrysler to stop production of all small and mid-sized passenger sedans in America.
Down Under, only 38% of the passenger segment is sedans; however they constitute only 13.4% of the total market, which is now dominated by SUVs at 42.2%.
Just ten years ago, sedans occupied 45% of the Australian market.
As an aside, with this data steadily flowing in, you have to ask why GM-Holden and Ford Australia continued making the Commodore and Falcon; when clearly demand for large sedans was falling like a stone down a well.
In the USA, according to the KPMG report ‘Islands of Autonomy’, which is mostly concerned with how autonomous vehicles will impact private car ownership, the accounting firm says that sedan sales will fall from 5.4 million in 2017, to just 2.1 million by 2030.
New car sales in the USA, to the end of February 2018, have fallen 2.4% - but sedan sales fell by 12%.
Passenger sedans are not dead yet, but the gravediggers are preparing the ground.