Where do I start with this? Their point is essentially that the vehicles consumers have chosen to purchase are the wrong vehicles. Crossovers aren’t the right choice, small sporty sedans and hatches are the correct choice.
They see the car’s very existence as threatened, summarized thusly: “That word—car—its meaning both to the general public and to us as enthusiasts, has long been threatened with dilution by all manner of conveyances that are not cars, from trucks to minivans to SUVs.” Here’s why sales of crossovers has gone up... buyers are looking for vehicles with a mix of roominess, efficiency and well-integrated technology. Like it or not, this is what the median modern driving experience demands and most crossovers offer these traits in droves.
This is also one reason that Subaru has been repeatedly mashing home runs into the upper deck in the last several years. They offer a great alternative to large SUVs by providing many advantages of much larger vehicles in an easily consumable (smaller/more efficient/less expensive) package. Other examples of success abound in this category with the RAV-4, Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, Chevy Equinox and the Jeep Cherokee & Patriot all posting 20+% YoY sales figures. This is where the money is going, and it’s not for no reason. These Swiss Army knives offer very compelling ownership experiences, yet here is how they naively see the change in consumer behavior: “And because modern MBA doctrine insists that every profit center must be exploited as rapidly and fully as possible, an even smaller wave of compact crossovers is now filling the marketplace like circus clowns in a Volkswagen Beetle.” Ok? Car companies are businesses that are constantly trying to increase their earning capacity, unlike auto magazines who will still have enthusiast integrity when they shudder their doors and send out resumes.
The other part that seems completely disconnected from reality is that they’re ignoring the “enthusiast” car renaissance we are living in. The Miata, the Hellcats, Caddy’s V series, Porsche’s Boxster/Cayman duo, the Toyobaru twins, the new Mustang GT/Camaro fight, a new Viper, Jaguar F-Type, the C7, Genesis coupe, Chevy SS, Model S, several BMWs and the 370z are all examples of enthusiast-oriented platforms for sale today. If you want to get even deeper into what’s out there you can include all of the specialized track day cars available in 2015.
There is an important distinction to be made between what is a great high-volume daily driver in 2015 and how the “enthusiast” car market has evolved and Car & Driver does not see it.