Lots of people own cars. Between a third and a half of the top 20 best selling vehicles in the US are cars. Ford Fusion was in the Top 20 last year. The biggest problem with cars is profitability. People are willing to spend much more on SUVs than cars. Profit margins on small cars can be as little as 400 dollars. You have to move a ton of units to justify keeping those lines open when compared to SUV and crossovers where your margins can be ten times as much.
What you tend to see is that people that buy cars are more frugal consumers. That could be because they are younger or they have less discretionary income or they are looking at gas mileage and maintenance fees, regardless, they are not as willing to fork out high dollars for their vehicles. People who buy SUVs and Crossovers tend to have more income and are less discerning on price. Cars like a Hyundai Elantra cost something like 1500 dollars less per year in total costs than say a Ford Escape and 4000 less per year than say an Expedition. People who know that and get that are not people that you make a lot of money from, so the American manufacturers are cutting their losses and letting Korean and Japanese companies fight for those scraps while they try to make higher margins on more luxury vehicles.
If I had to take a guess, they’re gearing up for the Chinese Revolution. Chinese vehicles are going to explode into American markets within the next decade and they’re going to be cheaper and of surprisingly good quality. American manufacturers likely want to position themselves as upscale manufacturers and so they are shedding low-margin, bottom-end vehicles. I think that the South Korean brands are going to be the ones to suffer most and I look for there to be a real cut-throat fight to capture that low-end market and it’s a fight that the Big 3 don’t want to be in. Don’t be surprised if you see 10 thousand dollar Geely’s or GACs on the market within a decade and honestly I’d expect them sooner.