The industry's list of top-selling vehicles tells a story of dominant pickups and surging crossovers, but it doesn't fully convey the preferences of minority consumers who still are turning to cars at a high clip.
IHS Markit registration data through April show that sedans and other cars still hold sway among African-American, Asian and Hispanic consumers.
For Hispanics, who've been typecast as loyal pickup buyers, the top three nameplates are cars. The highest-ranking pickup for Hispanics, the Chevrolet Silverado, comes in fifth. The Ford F series is sixth.
The data make clear that while some automakers have trimmed their car lineups, sedans are far from obsolete. Brands just need to aim them at the right audiences with the proper messaging, which will be critical as the consumer base continues to diversify, says Marc Bland, IHS Markit's vice president of diversity and inclusion.
"Cars still have a real place," Bland told Automotive News. "The brands that are offering the most choice, I think, are going to win in the long run because of this freedom of choice."
Nissan has increased multicultural ad support for cars and crossovers, targeting ethnic marketing efforts for sedans where it sees the most demand.
Jeremy Tucker, Nissan North America's vice president of marketing communications and media, said the brand has maintained a "consistent and constant presence" with advertising for the Altima and Sentra in key areas such as Los Angeles, where ethnic and minority consumers account for 52 percent of sales.
Los Angeles represents about 30 percent of Nissan's Hispanic sales, while making up 24 percent of the brand's Hispanic Sentra and Altima sales. For African-Americans, Tucker said sedan marketing is critical in places such as Atlanta and Chicago.
The Sentra, according to IHS, ranks ninth in the U.S. among Hispanic shoppers. For African-Americans, the Sentra is No. 5, with the Altima No. 12. The Altima was the top vehicle among blacks in 2016 before losing that title to the Camry in 2017.