US sales Q3 2017: Compact SUV segment

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Sales in the largest of all segments, the compact SUV segment (2,379,590 sales YTD), grew by 4% in the third quarter, a better pace than the 1% registered in the second quarter, but some way off all the other SUV segments. Still, this still means that the segment grew by 4% YTD compared to a 3% decline for the market as a whole, as one would expect given the continued shift towards crossovers among the buying public. And with a ton of new models in the market (Honda CR-VChevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-5Jeep CompassKia NiroGMC Terrain, Subaru XV Crosstrek, VW Tiguan L) it is reasonable to expect the segments dominance will continue for a long time.

Highlights for Q3 2017:

  • Toyota RAV4 is back as the segment leader, demoting Nissan Rogue to second spot, thanks to a remarkable surge in the third quarter (sales up 35%), which is made all the more remarkable that it outsold the new Honda CR-V in the process
  • The Honda, incidentally, seems to be struggling to get its sales going, with Q3 sales down 9% compared to last year, as it lingers in third place in 2017, whereas it was the (narrow) sales leader at this time last year
  • Chevy Equinox is a new car that hit the ground running, with sales up 51% in the third quarter, allowing it to outsell the fourth-placed Ford Escape over this time period, something it only managed once before; it may yet catch the Ford by the time the year is over
  • Beside the Escape, a lot of other models in the segment have been holding station so far this year, with sales only marginally higher or lower than at this time last years: Jeep Wrangler, Subaru Forester, Dodge Journey (remarkable for a car this old), and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
  • The 2% fall in YTD sales of the GMC Terrain masks a 15% rise in sales in Q3’17, as the new model hits the forecourts, much as the 23% YTD fall in the sales of Jeep Compass mask a 26% upturn for the new model in Q3’17 
  • Uniquely, some of the highest growth was recorded in the Top 5 of this segment; outside, only Hyundai Tucson and the low-ranked Mitsubishi Outlander matched the growth rate of the RAV4 and Rogue, while Mazda CX-5 and Subaru XV Crosstrek recorded more moderate 12% growth rates
  • Also somewhat surprisingly for such a quickly-growing segment, quite a few models recorded a big drop in sales: the less-than-two-year-old Kia Sportage is down 12% YTD, a stark contrast with its successful Tucson cousin, sales of Jeep Cherokee keep falling quickly, the still-on-sale VW Tiguan is clearly suffering from the introduction of the new Tiguan L, while the soon-to-be-discontinued Jeep Patriot sees its sales plummet by 61%
  • At the very back we see the new entrants: the only dedicated hybrid that can be classified as a compact SUVKia Niro, and the new VW Tiguan L, whose sales may soon better the heights reached by its predecessor, though it has to be said that model was never a bit-seller in this sector


Note: Clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off

About Krzysztof Wozniak

Kriss grew up in Poland reading German car magazines, before moving to England and graduating to the British magazines, which he still considers the best in the world and continues reading them after he’d moved to the US. In college he promised himself he’s buy himself a used Porsche before he turned 30 (not to be accused of having a mid-life crisis), but instead family needs dictated a Subaru Outback. Still waiting for that perfect moment to buy a used 2008-ish Cayman…
You can find all his articles Here.

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