You need to go back at least three decades to find large sedans among the top selling models in the US auto industry. By the 1980s, midsize sedans along with minivans became the family vehicles of choice, models that were smaller, lighter, efficient and more affordable than the flagship sedans of that era.
Large Sedan Leaders
The market has changed significantly since then with most large sedans no longer contributing as many sales as they did in the past. Although the number of large sedans sold has shrunk considerably through the decades, new models from different manufacturers have helped to breathe fresh life into the segment including the following five that were top sellers for 2013.
1. Chevrolet Impala. Sales for the large Impala fell by 7.4 percent for the year on sales of 156,797 units delivered. Those numbers hardly tell the story, however, of a new sedan that Chevrolet brought to the market as a 2014 model last spring. Sales fell largely due to GM insisting on changing the Impala’s customer makeup, concentrating on retail sales over its previous fleet emphasis earlier. Both the new and the previous generation sedan are being produced with the latter (Impala Limited available exclusively to retail customers. GM did not offer a breakdown in sales numbers, however.
2. Dodge Charger. Of the top sellers, both the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300 are the only rear-wheel drive models. Both models also offer all-wheel drive as does the Ford Taurus. Charger sales jumped by 19 percent in 2013 on 98,336 units sold. Unlike Ford, Dodge does not offer a breakdown for the number of sedans that are sold as police interceptors or for other fleet use. Thus, its hold on the No. 2 position may be due in large part to non-retail sales.
3. Toyota Avalon. Upon its debut in the mid-1990s, the Avalon wrested sales from traditional full-size sedan buyers, especially Buick owners. Still, the sedan was never a big seller largely due to its dull exterior and uninspiring drive. For 2013, Toyota remedied the Avalon’s deficiencies to produce a truly Lexus-like five passenger sedan for its eponymous brand. For 2013, Toyota Avalon sales rose by 140 percent, finishing with 70,990 units sold.
4. Ford Taurus.* Ford produced more large sedans than Toyota last year, but it separates its Taurus and Police Interceptor Sedans into two vehicle lines. The vehicles are the same; the purposes are different. For the Taurus, Ford sold 69,063 units, up 4.5 percent over 2012. For the police sedan, Ford sold 10,897 vehicles, up 31.1 percent for the year. In total, Ford moved 79,960 large sedans. Move Ford up to the No. 3 position and place an asterisk (*) behind it if you wish.
5. Chrysler 300. The Chrysler Group had a banner year, but the three-model Chrysler brand continues to find the going tough, finishing down 2 percent for the year. That loss can be attributed largely to its 300 sedan, the premium twin to the Dodge Charger. For 2012, Chrysler 300 sales came in at 57,724 units or down 18 percent. Chrysler may be losing some sales to the luxury brands as consumers look elsewhere to satisfy their buying needs.
Other Large Models
Car shoppers have several other models to choose from when considering large sedans. Hyundai produces both the Genesis and Azera, while GM also fields the Buick LaCrosse and the Cadillac XTS. The Nissan Maxima was a previous top five seller, finishing with 53,896 units sold in 2013, down 9.2 percent for the year. You can also find large sedans from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Jaguar, vehicles that typically are tallied under the luxury banner.