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At a time when younger people drive less and hail more rides, while SUVs reign supreme thanks to low gas prices, Nissan Motor Co. is betting on the humble sedan.

Over the past few decades, the auto industry, especially in North America, has been ditching four- and two-door passenger cars in favor of bigger vehicles: First it was minivans and now sport utility vehicles, crossovers and trucks. Automakers have become addicted to the higher profits offered by bigger vehicles, sought after by consumers seeking size, convenience and safety. By next year, only 10 percent of Ford Motor Co.’s output will be passenger or sports cars.

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