Ford (F) came one step closer to forsaking sedans last Friday as the last Fiesta rolled off an assembly line in Germany. But dark clouds on the economic horizon may be turning consumers back toward a passenger-car market manufacturers had once seen as dying. Ford stock edged higher Tuesday. Carvana (CVNA) tried to extend its recent rally.


Sedan Upshift In Used Car, New Car Markets

On July 5, Carvana announced its 10 top-selling vehicles for the first half of 2023. More than half of those were sedans.

The Honda Civic took the top spot, the online used-car platform said. The Nissan Altima, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Mustang, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord also made Carvana’s top-10 list.

Sedan sales are seeing an upshift in the new vehicle market as well.

In Q2, new car sales rose 46% for Honda (HMC) in the U.S. market while truck sales grew 44%, the company said in a July 3 sales release.

The Accord and Civic pushed Honda passenger car sales above 33,000 in June and to more than 193,000 over the first half of the year, the release showed.

Year to date, Accord sales are up 24% and Civic sales are up 34%, helping Honda to recover from a steep sales drop in 2022 amid supply disruptions.

“It’s exciting to see both our cars and light trucks doing so well,” Honda sales chief Mamadou Diallo said in the release.

Similarly, Toyota Motor (TMC) saw a big jump in Camry sales in June and the first six months of 2023. Corolla sales rose in June but are down year to date.

Ford, GM Stopped Making Sedans

Toyota and Honda still cater to the sedan market in America. Ford, General Motors (GM) and other automakers began exiting that market about five years ago as consumer tastes shifted toward larger crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks.

Among sedans that met the ax: Ford’s Focus, Fiesta and Fusion, and GM’s Cruze.

The U.S. auto giants have cut their sedan offerings to a select few models, like the Mustang and Malibu. Ford stopped making the Fiesta domestically in 2022 and has now ended production of that once hugely popular subcompact car in Europe as well.

So why the signs of an upswing for sedans? A comment from Carvana may offer a clue.

“Affordability and accessibility are critically important” to buyers of used cars, the company said in its July 5 release.

That suggests inflation-weary, recession-wary shoppers are hunting hard for cheaper cars. And whether buying new or used, sedans tend to be among the cheapest options.

Ford Stock, Carvana Stock

In stock market trading Tuesday, Ford stock added 0.3% to 15.12.

Carvana stock pared gains to 0.4% Tuesday. It leapt 21% last Friday, then jumped another 16.3% Monday.

Shares surged this week amid industry data showing wholesale used car prices continue to fall. Carvana also said Monday it’s seeing robust demand for used electric vehicles as the overall U.S. EV market grows.

Year to date, CVNA stock has skyrocketed roughly 640% year to date as financials improve and shares claw their way back after a 16-month meltdown.

Honda was roughly unchanged, near 30, Tuesday. GM stock gained 0.8%.

Toyota stock shed 1.2%.


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