One of the biggest success stories of 2015 in the US has been the Nissan Rogue (X-Trail in other markets). Whereas the previous generation in its first year (2007) sold only 30% as many units as the leader of the Compact SUV segment, the Honda CR-V, in 2015 so far it’s sold more than 80% as many units, and may yet finish the year in 4th place if it can overhaul the Chevy Equinox over the past 3 months of the year. By all rights, Nissan should be very happy with how the new Rogue has performed, however there is one version of the car that Nissan has so far denied that US, but which could cement the model’s success and make a true push for class leadership: the Nissan Rogue Hybrid. [Read more…]
The Bentayga is the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world according to Bentley, a statement which could very well be true. The production version of the EXP 9 F Concept is based on the platform of the new Audi Q7, but designed, engineered and handcrafted in Crewe. It sits on the 2,992 mm wheelbase of the Q7, while the overall car length is 5,141 mm, its width is 1,998 mm and height 1,742 mm. It can be selected with four- or five-seat configurations. The four-seat version features two individual rear seats that adjust in 18 different ways and include massage and ventilation functions as well as footrests. The storage space features a leather-trimmed folding seat that matches the style of the cabin seats, according to Bentley “Ideal for those wishing to stop for a moment and enjoy a spectacular outdoor environment or pursuit”. A 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine with a power output of 608 hp and 900 Nm torque powers the SUV, with which it could achieve a top speed of 301 km/h and accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds. The engine is mated to an eight-speed transmission, while the CO2-emissions are 292 g/km. In the future Bentley will launch diesel and hybrid variants.
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…]