In Malaysia, the executive/family sedan segment was the pride of the car industry some 20 years ago. At that time hatchbacks were not in demand and the crossover had not been invented yet.
Then came the SUV. It tickled Malaysians as well as the rest of the automotive world and every single car brand had to have not one but two or even three versions of the SUV to cater to a growing trend.
Following that was a sudden interest in hatchback cars. In theory, a crossover is a hatchback car with a raised platform, bigger wheels and wider wheel arches.
Look at the Honda Jazz and its sibling, the H-RV. Both are almost level in height, space and width with just bigger wheels and pronounced arches to put the H-RV in a brand new segment called crossover.
Next comes the Mazda2 hatchback. Slap on bigger wheels, raise it a little and slot in a perkier engine and you get the CX-3 crossover.
The Europeans have been doing this tweaking far longer and the Japanese and Koreans are just getting the hang of it lately.
Mazda has the CX-3, CX-5, CX-7 and very soon the CX-8, all selling well beyond expectation. Toyota cannot believe how popular their CH-R crossover is doing, flying out of their showrooms as it is.
With the sheer jump in SUV sales, there is an exponential fall in executive/family sedan sales. Cars like the Accord which were once corporate fleet favourites have been replaced by the popular CR-V.
The mighty Camry which has been the traditional favourite of families and business owners is slowly seeing its sales momentum being transferred to SUV’s despite its sporty sedan looks and unquestionable reliability.
This is probably why Nissan Malaysia stopped selling both the Teana and the Sylphy. Yes, both these Nissan sedans have been removed from their sales line-up for some time now and Nissan now concentrates on selling their popular X-Trail SUV.
So, is this why the all new Honda Accord which was launched in Thailand last year is still not launched in Malaysia yet? Are Honda Malaysia waiting to see how the competition reacts to this segment slowdown?
Is Toyota also feeling the pinch and thus have decided to finally launch the all new RAV 4 SUV to re-capture missing sedan sales?
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