After several years of declines, the large SUV segment in Europe is back sharply, increasing by 18% in 2014 and another impressive 37% in the first quarter of this year. Not exactly as flat as I had thought it would be…. The two dominating South-Korean models increase their stranglehold on the segment, as two of every three large SUVs sold in Europe come from Hyundai-Kia.
The Hyundai Santa Fe adds 66% to its sales as supply shortages have been resolved, while the Kia Sorento is also up more than 50% on sell-out pricing of the outgoing model and the arrival of the all-new generation in February. The Sorento now sells more than double of its nearest competitor, the Mitsubishi Pajero, which is the fastest growing model in the segment at +76% albeit from a low base of less than 1.000 sales. The Pajero, named Montero in Spain and Shogun in the UK, moves past the Toyota Land Cruiser, which outsold it by a 2-to-1 ratio this time last year, but is down 13% as the facelifted Prado appears to already have lost its mojo.
Behind the SsangYong Rexton, slowing its growth pace to 16%, we find the all-new Nissan Murano in 6th place, just leapfrogging its soon-to-be dismissed sibling Nissan Pathfinder.
With the next generation Santa Fe and an the introduction of the US Ford Edge to the segment, both in the second half of this year, the large SUV segment appears to have hit its bottom in 2013 and is showing some renewed optimism, although I doubt it will ever return to the sales figures of a decade ago, when the Sorento all by itself sold more cars than the entire segment did last year.
Large SUV segment
Hyundai Santa Fe
Mitsubishi Pajero / Montero / Shogun
Toyota Land Cruiser
Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2013 and monthly sales in 2012, 2013 and 2014, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.
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