Talk about an epoch-making event: The midsize sedan's long, long (as in forever) run as the largest vehicle segment in the U.S. may be coming to an end.
Sales of nonluxury compact crossovers, which include the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4, rose 20 percent to 191,657 in November -- just 52 vehicles short of matching the nonluxury midrange car category led by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Last month, the CR-V, with a 38 percent increase, was the industry's most popular vehicle that's not a pickup, outselling both the Camry and Accord.
Through November, compact crossovers pulled within 275,000 units of midsize sedan sales. A year ago, the gap was 537,000.
"Small utilities are a long-term trend, driven by baby boomers moving toward empty-nester status," said Erich Merkle, Ford Motor Co.'s chief sales analyst.
Meanwhile, full-size pickup sales increased 10 percent in November, jumping ahead of compact cars to become the third-largest segment.