The sport of racing cars, particularly in the United States, has seen a surge in popularity over the past decade and is one of the biggest drivers of growth for automakers.
However, the sport has struggled to find sustained growth in recent years, and its market share has declined from more than 45 percent to between 18 and 20 percent.
The American Automobile Association estimates that the sport is worth about $4 billion annually in the U.S., but its growth has been hindered by a lack of consumer acceptance of new and improved technology, and the rise of alternative fuels.
As such, the industry is in an existential crisis.
“The only way for the sport to get back on track is for people to be more aware of how to use alternative fuels, to make the switch,” said Andrew Reitz, the managing director of marketing at Kia Motors.
While the sport remains an integral part of American sports, automakers are finding that a bigger segment of consumers is buying smaller cars, such as the Land Rover Discovery.
In the second quarter of 2016, Land Rover sold more than 4.5 million vehicles in the continental United States.
In 2017, the company is expected to sell another 3.3 million.
That would put Land Rover as the fifth-largest carmaker in the country behind General Motors, Ford, Toyota and General Motors Co., with an annual revenue of more than $2 billion.
That compares with about $1 billion for General Motors.
Land Rover’s CEO and founder Bill Sturdevant said the company has become more aware that “people have an appetite for a more fuel-efficient car that is a bit smaller and more fuel efficient,” which he said was “part of our strategy for the next three to four years.”
The company also has a new, more fuel independent vehicle on the way that will have a top speed of 100 miles per hour.
Land Rovers sales are projected to continue to grow in the second half of this decade.
Reitz said that in the next few years, Land Rover will also make an SUV, but he would not discuss specific production details.
LandRovers sales declined in the third quarter, after dropping by about 20 percent in the previous quarter.
The automaker had expected sales of about 9,000 cars for the quarter ended March 31, which fell by about 30 percent from the previous year.
Land-rover sales declined by about 6 percent in Q2 of this year.
In addition, sales of the Land Roover and its competitors, such the Ford F-Series and GMC Sierra, were down about 10 percent, with the F-series the worst-performing brand.
The Land Rover and its parent, General Motors Company, also reported weak fourth-quarter profit.
Reitzer said that “the decline in fourth-segment profit was partly due to the fact that we don’t have the best product mix.”