Selling Out: Passenger Cars Are Nearly Dead

Uber, affordability, and sleeker SUVs are kicking passenger cars in the gut.

Could we have seen this coming for years? Probably, but U.S. car sales have been on a downward spiral for some time now. With the advent of ride hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, plus bike-share programs popping up left and right, people are finding ways to not only go a little greener, but save a little green.

USA Today reported that although sales of SUVs, crossovers, and pickup trucks have risen the last few years, overall sales in the auto industry are down month by month.

Altered Carbon

According to Autodata Corp., overall U.S. new sales for passenger cars dipped 2.4% last month year over year. Why? People are finding new ways to get around, putting a dent in the auto industry.

Apart from commuters opting to hitch a ride by tapping on their phone, waning interest in compact cars, mid-size sedans, and full-size sedans also has to do with an appeal of roomier vehicles.

"Automakers are slowing production of passenger cars to react to climb demand and are also trying to find the right balance between keeping sales strong and becoming too dependent on costly incentives," wrote Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis.

Silver Linings

Even though car sales are declining rapidly, the combination of sleeker, roomier crossovers and SUVs with cheaper gas prices has interest growing in larger vehicles. Analysts expect 2018 auto sales to remain solid for models like the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.

And another gleaming light in the auto sales world is the boost in used car sales. Traditionally, people would think of used car sales as being swindled by cigar-chomping, suspender-wearing tricksters, but that's just a stereotype. In all actuality, used cars are making a case of their own with a strong market.

By the Numbers

The traditional Detroit Three automakers have had a rough go as GM sales fell 7%, Ford at 6.8%, and Fiat Chrysler at 1.6%. In foreign sales, Toyota and Subaru actually saw jumps of 4.5% and 3.8%, respectively, but Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia continued to see dips.

While the auto world isn't void of new sales altogether, the trend is not stopping anytime soon.

NEXT: The Car Brands That Will Make Waves in the 2018 Auto World