Let’s face it, SUVs are creating a sedan and MPV apocalypse that’s kind of unnecessary when you think about it. SUVs have become unnecessarily too popular due to their supposed higher driving position and easier access compared to traditional sedans wherein you have to duck when getting in. Sure, these are valid reasons, but the main reasons why SUVs were invented in the first places, which is to go to the roads less travelled, aren’t even being used by these buyers. Instead, these rugged vehicles are being treated like the MPVs and AUVs that were once the popular vehicle choice if Filipinos would want a tall vehicle. Unfortunately, this also means it’s killing some great cars in the market as well, and many of the listed cars here, I wouldn’t want to see disappear. It also isn’t helped by the fact that the proliferation of the very affordable PPV class (pick-up based passenger vehicle) like the Montero Sport and Everest, which cost merely as much as a compact sedan or a compact crossover SUV, are eating their sales. These 5 cars aren’t arranged in how much the sales of these cars have declined, and while some of these cars became unpopular for other reasons, the surge in popularity of SUVs are mainly the nail in the vehicle coffin.
1. Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry is a bonafide executive sedan in the Philippines. It’s very popular among executives and young businessmen who want a comfortable cruiser, especially those electrically adjustable rear seats. It’s a poor man’s Lexus ES, so we’re quite shocked to see people consider a Toyota Fortuner a better status symbol than the Toyota Camry, as sales of this plush executive sedan have declined over the past few years.
2. Honda Accord
Suffering more than the Camry in midsize sedan sales is the Honda Accord. A slightly sportier but still soft and plush alternative to the Camry, the Honda Accord is popular to those who think a Camry is too boring to drive, but find the Mazda 6 too sporty and firm. The Accord sits offered a balance between sport and comfort, but it wasn’t enough to sway buyers away from the midsize SUVs (PPVs in our market) like the Fortuner, and suffering from the popularity of Honda’s own CR-V, especially now that it is quite plush and high tech in its own right, added by the benefit of a diesel and 7-seater option. As of the moment, the Honda Accord is now only available via indent order. Sad moment indeed.
3. Subaru Impreza
Among compact sedans, the Subaru Impreza, albeit just being released this year, has not enjoyed the spotlight that its rivals like the very popular Honda Civic have received. One car has outshined it, and it’s not another compact sedan, but it’s own sibling, the Subaru XV. The Subaru XV is basically a Impreza hatchback in a Timberland outfit, and yet, despite sharing the same body and platform, people prefer the more rugged, slightly taller XV. Further adding insult to injury is the fact that the XV, in base form, costs the same as the Impreza, and the popularity of the Subaru Forester, in which in base form, is just a hundred thousand more than the Impreza.
4. Ford Fiesta
Ask a Filipino on what Ford car they know, and the first car that will probably come to mind are the Ranger, Everest, EcoSport, and Explorer. For car enthusiasts, the Ford Mustang would first come in, therefore it’s no surprise that the Ford Fiesta has been left under the shadows of Ford’s SUVs, namely, the EcoSport. The EcoSport is the subcompact crossover version of the Fiesta, and the EcoSport is a smash hit for Ford Philippines. Boosting its popularity is its tall ride height, rugged styling, high tech features, and an affordable price that’s only a couple thousand more than an equivalently-specced Ford Fiesta. Shame, these Fiestas were very fun to drive.
5. Kia Carens
Perhaps suffering the most in this list is the Kia Carens. The Carens has been silently pulled out of the market by Kia’s Philippine distributor, Columbian Autocar Corporation, and its decline in popularity has been attributed to the popularity of midsize SUVs/PPVs, the Kia Sportage, the bigger Kia Grand Carnival, and even its other Korean sibling, the Hyundai Tucson (remember, Kia and Hyundai is a single company). Shame that this sharp and good looking small MPV has been brought under the shadows of SUVs, plus it has the benefit of having seven seats.
There are other reasons why SUVs, especially the PPVs, are popular. Part of Filipini tradition is having the two family generations live under one roof, which is why it’s no surprise to find young families with their previous generation parents/grandparents in the car as well, and it’s that reason why seven seaters are popular in our market in the first place. Do you know any other cars that the SUV boom has killed? Let us know in the comments section.