Sales of large SUVs in Europe are up an encouraging 18% after declining since 2006 when total segment sales topped 200.000 units. This year, the segment that’s traditionally the domain of Asian manufacturers with the occasional American model trying its luck isn’t even going to reach a fifth of that total. The top-3 of the segment hasn’t changed since, and the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Toyota Land Cruiser have even increased their share to a combined three quarters of segment sales.
The Santa Fe has more than recovered from its slow start of the year by lodging a very impressive third quarter, in which the model improved 83% on Q3 of 2013. I guess Hyundai has dealt with supply shortages of the Santa Fe, as its new generation has proven very popular in the USA, China and Russia, markets where SUVs and crossovers are much more popular. The new generation Sorento has just been revealed at the Paris Auto Show, and it may threaten its sibling if supply of the latter remains constrained.
The Land Cruiser is under attack from the Mitsubishi Pajero (named Montero in Spain and Shogun in the UK), which outsold its Japanese rival in the third quarter and is growing twice as fast year-on-year, despite the recent update on the Land Cruiser 90 (a.k.a. Prado). However, the gap is still large enough for the Land Cruiser to hold on to its podium spot until the end of the year.
Growing even faster is the SsangYong Rexton as the brand has resumed sales under its new owner, Mahindra&Mahindra of India. As a result, the Rexton has leapfrogged the Nissan Pathfinder, which is starting to show its age. The new generation Pathfinder won’t make it Europe, but the third generation Murano will, although that will remain a niche player even in this small segment.
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