Sales of compact SUVs and crossovers in the United States keep outgrowing the overall market in the first quarter of 2016, although growth has slowed from 15% over the full year 2015 to 4.9% in Q1 of 2016, compared to +3.3% for the overall market. Total segment volume for Q1 was 681,068 sales. Like in the subcompact crossover segment, there’s a new leader, and it’s actually an earthshaking phenomenon, because the Honda CR-V has led the segment since its first full year of sales, 1998. The first generation Toyota RAV4 came to market in 1996, followed by the CR-V a year later, and in that first partial year the Honda sold 66,752 units vs. the Toyota’s 67,487 but the next year the figures were 100,000 vs 65,000 and the CR-V hasn’t let go of its leadership since. Until this quarter, when the Honda was the only model in the top-4 to lose volume, giving the RAV4 the chance to take control while the Ford Escape held on to its second place to drop the perennial leader into third spot with the Nissan Rogue breathing down its neck, still plagued by supply shortages. [Read more…]
Sales in the compact SUV segment rose by 15% between 2014 and 2015, considerably faster than the industry average of 5% – not bad for what is the largest segment in the US by quite some margin. In addition to being the largest by volume, it is also one of the largest by number of models offered: 22 distinct models were offered over the past two years. Its success, and the proliferation of offering from carmakers, is driven by a long-term trend wherein mainstream consumers are moving away from the traditional “family car”, a mid-sized sedan, towards crossovers which offer greater practicality, flexibility and desirability. In fact, many offerings in this segment are little more than slightly taller, slightly butcher wagon version of mainstream models: the Honda CR-V was the first and remains the prime example of this kind of approach. On the other end are cars like the Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser, attempts by those carmakers to appeal to the outdoor, adventure-seeking crowd with funky styling and sturdy, body-on-frame construction; however, these models have long been losing popularity and will most likely be discontinued before long.
With an increase of 13% to 1.227.950 sales, the midsized crossover segment in Europe has grown for the sixth consecutive year, almost doubling its volume since 2009. As opposed to the compact and midsized car segments, Volkswagen is not the commanding leader of this segment. Renault-Nissan is, with the Nissan Qashqai breaking its volume record in an unthreatened first place for the 8th year in a row, the 6th of which it sells more than 200.000 units. Renault has added the Kadjar to that, already the #3 of the segment in Q4 while still in start-up mode, while the Nissan X-Trail is the fastest growing model of the segment. Renault-Nissan models are responsible for 70% of the segment growth in 2015 and now hold a 26,1% share of the segment for the year (29,3% in Q4) and that’s unlikely to decrease this year as the Kadjar will reach its full potential and the X-Trail will benefit from the new turbocharged gasoline engine. And Renault is working on a new Koleos to fit above the Kadjar as well.
The Compact SUV segment grew by 13% over the period Q1-Q3 compared to the same period in 2014. As such, it is still the second fastest growing non-premium SUV segment, after the Subcompact SUV segment, and easily retains its mantle as the largest single segment in the US, widening its gap to the Mid-sized and Compact car segments (down 2% and up 2%, respectively, on Q1-Q3 2014). [Read more…]
Sales of midsized SUVs and crossovers stay hot, improving their growth rate from 11% in the first half to +13% after three quarters. Of the top-7 players, only one loses volume on last year, and that’s just a shy 1%. The Nissan Qashqai has been the traditional leader of the segment, consistently selling over 200.000 units a year for the past 5 years and 2015 is going to make its 6 in a row, with more than likely a new volume record for the model and in fact for any midsized SUV nameplate. Thanks to the new generation, the Qashqai grows faster than the rest of the segment at +15% to almost 180.000 units in 9 months. And note that this is without the extended Qashqai+2 version, which has been replaced by the X-Trail. The latter is the fastest growing model of the segment and has moved into the #11 position so far this year.
The Volkswagen Tiguan surprisingly recovers from its slow first half of the year to boost sales by 20,8% in Q3 thanks to sell-out pricing of the outgoing model which will be replaced in 2016. The rest of the top-10 is stable as well, with the Kia Sportage benefiting from its facelift, despite having already released images of the upcoming new generation. [Read more…]
The Compact SUV segment grew by 13% compared to the first half of 2014, a very strong performance given the size of the segment – annual sales are more than 2.5 million, and it accounts for more than half of all SUV sales. In fact, in H1 2015 it surpassed the Mid-sized segment to become the largest single segment in the US by sales, and one with the largest number of models offered. Given how US customers substitute SUVs for family wagons it should not come as a huge surprise that the a Compact SUV has become the default go-to family car.
The Honda CR-V remains the market leader, with sales rising by 5% following a facelift late in 2014. The ever-popular Honda distanced itself from the second-placed Ford Escape which came within 2,000 units of dethroning the Honda this time last year, but whose sales fell by 4% this time around. It may yet get another shot at the top spot when the extensive facelift arrives later this year, due to give the Escape a much tougher look inspired by its larger brother, the Edge, although whether that will turn out to be a winning move in this family-friendly segment remains to be seen. Close on the Escape’s heels in #3 is the Chevrolet Equinox, enjoying a healthy 21% growth in sales, a pretty remarkable performance given that at 5 years it’s one of the oldest models in this segment. It is closely followed by the Toyota RAV4 in fourth.
The midsized SUV segment in Europe sees its impressive growth rate of +15% in Q1 slow down slightly to a still enviable +11% in the first half of 2015, especially considering the segment continues to outpace the overall market, which is up 8%.
The traditional leader of the segment Nissan Qashqai manages to do even better than the segment as a whole, with sales up 13% to almost 125.000 units. This means the Qashqai has a chance hit the quarter million sales marker for the entire year if it keeps up this sales pace. Add to that the 586% increase to over 20.000 sales in 6 months for its larger sibling Nissan X-Trail, and also the successful introduction of the Renault Kadjar on the same platform, and we could be looking at potential sales of 350.000 Renault-Nissan SUVs from a common architecture this year. And as Kriss will surely show you in an article about US sales, Nissan is also on a roll across the Atlantic, where the X-Trail (called Rogue there) is breaking sales records every month, with factories in the US and Japan running at full capacity and still unable to fulfill demand. They’re now producing the Rogue in a third plant in Busan, South Korea, which is operated by Renault-Samsung Motors.
The aging Volkswagen Tiguan can’t keep up with these kinds of volumes and is down 9% but keeps its second place of the segment. Behind it, the two Korean siblings are neck-and-neck for the podium, with the Kia Sportage holding on to its third place ahead of the Hyundai ix35 and looking set to remain ahead for the rest of the year, as the ix35’s successor has just been launched in June. We find the Tucson (hey, that’s a familiar name, isn’t it?) in 27th place for now with its first 107 sales. As the months progress, that will undoubtedly grow to a monthly pace of around 10.000 sales, so a top-15 position by the end of the year should be possible, before becoming a podium contender in 2016, together with the Kadjar. [Read more…]
After breaking through the 1 million annual sales barrier last year, the midsized SUV segment in Europe remains very dynamic, as I predicted. Sales are up another 15% in the first quarter, and that’s before a highly anticipated newcomer enters the segment in the second quarter: the Renault Kadjar is expected to enter the segment top-3 when it hits full steam in the market.
For now, the model on which that newcomer is based, the Nissan Qashqai, defends its kingdom as strong as ever thanks to the new generation, and despite losing the 7-seater “+2” version. With sales up 21%, the Qashqai now holds a 20,5% share of the segment, which means one in every five midsized crossovers comes from the Sunderland factory in the UK.
The Volkswagen Tiguan hold on to its second place, but is showing signs of its age, with sales dropping 7%. It still has a comfortable gap with the two South-Korean offerings behind it. Both are up an equal 19% despite the Kia Sportage having just been facelifted last year while the Hyundai ix35 is in run-out mode, due to be replaced by the Tucson any moment now. [Read more…]
For the first time ever, more than 1 million midsized crossovers have been sold in Europe in a single year, only 7 years after first breaking the 500.000 sales threshold. And I don’t expect the growth to stall in 2015, as key models have recently been renewed and one highly anticipated new player will enter the segment. In 2014, the 12 best selling models all managed to improve their sales figures on the year before.
The new generation Nissan Qashqai has enjoyed a very strong fourth quarter to continue the model’s streak of five consecutive years above 200.000 sales, although its share of the segment has dropped below 20%. The Qashqai also celebrates 8 consecutive years as the segment leader. In second place, the Tiguan breaks its sales record at just over 150.000 sales, no less than 7 years after its introduction, an equally surprising as impressive performance, only equaled by the Fiat 500. The Tiguan is the best selling midsized SUV from a European manufacturer in a segment that’s dominated by Asian brands, which control two thirds of the segment’s sales. [Read more…]