Sales in the Mid-sized SUV segment grew by 2 percent in the second quarter of the year, slightly slower than the 4 percent growth in the first quarter of the year, for a total of 868,715 cars in the first half of 2016. With such sales figures the segment finds itself in a bit of a no man’s land between the likes of Large and Minivan segments (both around 300,000 units over the half year) and segments like Compact or Large Pickup (both with slightly over a million units over the time period). However, if the Compact segment continues shrinking as it has been recently (down 6 percent in the first half of 2016), than the Mid-sized SUV sector will catch it sooner rather than later. [Read more…]
Recently I’ve been looking to buy a car capable of carrying more than the usual five passengers, which got me thinking about the way this market has developed over the past few decades, and how it will change in the future. However, rather than spend time retreading the topic that’s been covered thousands of times, namely the history of the minivan and SUVs, I want to focus on the the interesting efforts by carmakers to offer those looking for space something genuinely new and potentially market-changing. In the first of a series of articles, I look at the brief history of the family-haulers, and then dive into the American experience of looking for the middle ground between the unsexy minivan and the gas-guzzling and compromised SUVs.
The large SUV segment in Europe shrinks 9% in Q1 of 2016 while the overall market grows by 8%, after the segment grew a healthy 23% in 2015. Only two models improve their volume on the same quarter of last year: the new leader Kia Sorento, boosted by the all-new generation, and the evergreen Mitsubishi Pajero. That leaves last year’s leader Hyundai Santa Fe in 2nd place with sales down 22%, probably thanks to cannibalization from both the new Sorento and the new Hyundai Tucson, even though that model is a class smaller. I have no substantiated explanation for the rebound of the Pajero, which started last year when it gained 22%. A small facelift hasn’t exactly turned the already 10 year old model into a hot fresh thing, especially since the engines are simply carried over.[Read more…]
Despite the cheap gasoline prices and an overall shift towards crossovers and SUVs across the board, we can still see a growing preference for smaller sizes: the larger the mainstream SUV segment, the slower its growth rate in the first quarter of 2016. If sales of subcompact crossovers in the US boomed with an increase of 162,5% and sales of compact crossovers in the US outgrew the market with a plus of 4.9%, midsized SUVs added just 3.7% to their volume in the same period of last year. Total segment sales stood at 412,039 units. And while the two smaller segments both welcomed a new leader, the Ford Explorer still tops the charts for midsized SUVs in the US, thanks to sales up 8%, a similar growth rate as its nearest two competitors Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota Highlander. [Read more…]
The Chinese Range Rover Evoque clone Landwind X7 has revived an old habit among Chinese automakers, of whom we had thought they’d have grown up by now and had quit copying foreign car designs. However, last month two of the three all-new models launched in China are blatant copy-paste jobs again. You’d think that especially Changan, the largest of China’s domestic auto brands with almost a million domestic sales last year, would be large enough to have their own design department. But no, they just decided to screw over their own Joint Venture partner Ford by “taking inspiration” from the Ford Explorer for their new Changan CX70 SUV. Especially from the rear ¾ the door profiles, C-pillar and rear side window, the chrome bar between the rear lights look an awful lot like the Explorer. At the front the headlights are a bit more stretched and the grille is a bit thinner, but the placement of the hood is similar and the bottom end of the bumper also. The entire car is a bit narrower, giving it different dimensions, but the resemblance is still remarkable. Maybe it’s a stab at Ford for planning to have the Explorer for the local Chinese market produced by its Jiangling-Ford joint venture which produces its commercial vans and the Everest SUV. Not sure what Ford thinks of this design from the company that produces all other Ford passenger cars including the Edge SUV for the local market, but I don’t think they’re going to make a big deal of it unless Changan starts to export it to the US, which is highly unlikely. And 72 sales in its first month on the market don’t make it an instant blockbuster that could threaten the Explorer either. [Read more…]
US consumers bought 1.74 million Mid-sized SUVs in 2015, a 10% increase over 2014 and a growth rate twice of that of the industry’s 5%. Only 2 out of the 18 remaining players in this segment lose volume, while 4 score volume records for their nameplates. Unlike the compact crossover segment, Japanese brands don’t dominate this ranking, as the Ford Explorer remains the best seller of the segment thanks to an increase of 19% to almost a quarter of a million sales, the model’s best volume since 2004. In fact, each of the top-3 models has now scored six consecutive years of volume increases. The Jeep Grand Cherokee added 7% in 2015 for its highest volume since 2005 and the Toyota Highlander added 9% to score a volume record in its 15th year on the market. [Read more…]
With its small volume, the Large SUV segment in Europe is one of the most volatile. It shrunk 24% in 2013 before rebounding 22% in 2014 and another 23% last year. The segment is 100% Asian manufacturers and heavily controlled by Hyundai-Kia, which increase their combined share to 65,7% in 2015. The Kia Sorento is the new leader of the segment with sales up 76% to take more than a third of the segment total sales in Europe, helped by the new generation launched last year. It leapfrogs the Hyundai Santa Fe which has led the segment for the three previous years. Together, the couple has taken the two top spots of the segment for 7 years in a row now.
The Mid-sized SUV segment grew by 9% compared to the Q1-Q3 period in 2014, faster than the car market overall (5% growth). [Read more…]
The large SUV segment in Europe keeps recovering from their years of declines with sales up 33% in Q3 and 30% so far in 2015. Two thirds of the increase is thanks to a single model: the new generation Kia Sorento, which manages to topple its corporate sibling Hyundai Santa Fe from the top spot of the segment for the first time in 4 years. Behind these two South-Korean models which take two thirds of the segment volume, the Toyota Land Cruiser in under fire from the Mitsubishi Pajero, which had already taken third place in Q1 but lost it to the Land Cruiser in Q2. In Q3, the Pajero was the best seller of the two, but not enough to overtake its rival. [Read more…]
The Mid-sized SUV segment grew by 14% year-on-year, slightly faster than the average growth rate of 12% for all non-premium SUVs and a lot faster than the market as a whole (4%). Interestingly, this growth can’t really be attributed to any particularly new model (sales of most newest models actually did not grow that quickly), it is more a factor of practically all models gaining across the board.
The Ford Explorer is the segment leader by a wide margin, selling more than 50% more cars than the second most popular model. The really surprising thing is that its sales grew by 17% even though the new, facelifted model was about to go on sale in the summer 2015 – possibly dealers were offering big discounts to make space for the new model. Also, one has to keep in mind that some of those sales go to the Police, for which the Explorer is the main vehicle in the US, but that is only around 12k units per half-a-year period.