Honda, Toyota losing dominance on U.S. mid-sized sedan market

Toyota Camry - Honda Accord

One of the two models that always seem to be considered when shopping for a new and affordable family mid-sized sedan are the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. That is slowly turning out not to be the case. Stephen Ragsdale, a loyal Honda Accord owner for more than a decade dropped his 2009 Honda Accord just 18 months after he bought it. Where did Ragsdale go? Kia.

Ragsdale found that he could get a 2011 Kia Optima sedan with heated rear seats, cooled front seats and a larger navigation screen – all the while saving $40 a month. He also swapped his 2003 Honda CR-V for a Kia Soul.

“Honda has kind of fallen behind when it comes to how the car works,” Ragsdale said. “All Honda has going for it is better resale value.”

Like Ragsdale’s, a lot of the U.S. car market is shifting away from decades of dominance by Honda and Toyota Motor Corp. among buyers of compact cars and family sedans. What’s the reason?

For one, Honda and Toyota now face tough competition. Hyundai and Kia are no longer producing budget cars; Ford and General Motors are no long producing unreliable cars; and Volkswagen as slashed prices of its cars.

“We’ve determined in our strategy with both the Sonata and Elantra to focus on design and fuel efficiency,” said John Krafcik, chief executive officer of Hyundai’s U.S. sales unit. “The cars look sexy, you want to put them in your driveway.”

Honda’s market share fell to 9.9 percent this year from 10.6 percent, while Toyota’s share dropped two points to 13.2 percent.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Automotive News