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Is this the end of the road for Toyota Camry rivals?

Only the Toyota Camry is continuing to find sales success in the mainstream medium sedan segment with 4484 sales so far in 2020.

It’s the end of the mid-size sedan as we know it, and we all seem to feel fine about it.

Apologies to R.E.M., but the demise of the medium-sized passenger car has been a long-time coming, but April’s dire sales figures have brought into focus how close to the end we may be.

Last month Australians bought just 906 mid-size passenger cars under $60,000, which is less than half the amount purchased in the same month in 2019, but remove the Toyota Camry and the figure is just 231.

To put into context how low that figure is, in April, BMW alone managed to sell 254 examples of its 3 Series.

Aside from the 675 Camrys that found new buyers, no other mid-sizer sold triple-digits; second best was the Mazda6 with 71 sales, then the Skoda Octavia with 39.

Not that this is a shock to the car companies though, as many preparing for life without a traditional family sedan. While Toyota is unlikely to drop the Camry given its steady popularity, with private and fleet buyers, the rest of the market is looking less certain.

Some will continue, at least for now. Honda will continue offering the Accord, but its sales have slowed to a trickle. Kia admitted early in 2019 that it would likely farewell the Optima by the end of last year, but stock is still available. Peugeot has recently launched the all-new 508 but remains a niche player (only two were sold in April, only 67 so far in 2020). And the Mazda6 remains a pillar of the brand, albeit one with a declining audience.

But make no mistake, the market is contracting, with the previously successful Subaru Liberty and Ford Mondeo likely to disappear; at least in their current form.

Subaru is yet to publicly commit to the new-generation Liberty due later in 2020. Its official line is that the local operation is “still evaluating” its chances, but given that the once-popular sedan managed just 1344 sales in 2019, it’s highly likely it will be dropped.

The current Mondeo is now eight years old (despite only going on sale locally in 2014) and is due to be replaced in 2021. While the Mondeo name will remain, the car itself will change, with speculation that the new model will be a high-riding crossover in the same vein as the Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Passat Alltrack.

There is one bright spot for mid-size sedan fans though. Hyundai looks set to buck the trend later this year and introduce the Sonata, but is expected to limit its line-up to a highly-equipped luxury variant and the sporty N-Line.

It’s a clear sign that the traditional affordable family sedan is a thing of the past, with Hyundai hoping that a different tactic will appeal to an audience willing to pay extra for a premium product.

“Whilst Sonata is a low volume car in a declining segment, it provides our customers with greater choice and allows us to play in a segment which demonstrates our design and tech credentials,” a Hyundai spokesman explained.

“Globally, Sonata is Hyundai’s ‘central’ product in design terms and is also one of our best-selling models.”