The third-generation Kia Sportage was a very handsome beast. With its squat proportions, aggressive “tiger nose” grille and shallow glass house, it would not have looked out-of-place if it had been badged an Audi, BMW or even Porsche. This made the reveal of its successor all the more of a disappointment – the previously sharp lines had been smoothed out, the standout proportions brought more into the mainstream, but most importantly the aggressive nose had been replaced with something much weaker. I think it’s clear that Kia’s designers were trying to make the Sportage look a bit like the Porsche Cayenne, but I fear they accidentally made it look like quite another car…
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…]
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 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.