US car sales analysis 2018 – Compact SUV segment

Jeep models shine as segment tops 3.5 million and double-digit sales growth continues unabated

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Sales in the US Compact SUV segment rose by 12.6% to 3,557,102 in 2018, making it by far the largest segment in the US, some 50% larger than the second largest segment (Large Pickup). What’s more, despite its size it still recorded the fourth-fastest growth rate in 2018, and was the only segment with total sales over 1 million to record substantial growth in 2018. With a slew of new models going on sale in the coming twelve months, and customers’ tastes not likely to change anytime soon, it is not hard to see how the segment could cross the 4 million cars barrier in the coming years.

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


  • The Top 3 looked much like it did in 2017, with the outgoing Toyota RAV4 beating out the aging Nissan Rogue and the much newer Honda CR-V, although the margin of victory was larger in 2018 than it had been a year prior
  • The new Chevy Equinox beat out the aging Ford Escape to claim fourth spot in the rankings, although that is still lower than the third spot it occupied in the early 2000s, and again between 2011 and 2013
  • Jeep had a remarkable 2018, with its three models (WranglerCherokee and Compass) all three having their best year ever, with the Cherokee in particular pulling off a 41% growth rate, a remarkable feat for a facelift – combined sales of all three were almost 650,000, easily making Jeep the top-selling brand in the segment
  • The new Mazda CX-5Subaru Crosstrek and GMC Terrain all enjoyed good growth, though their performance was almost matched by the facelifted Hyundai Tucson
  • The geriatric Dodge Journey did remarkably well to gain sales in 2018 and to keep itself ahead of the VW Tiguan L, which despite having the best year for a VW compact SUV model still failed to break 100,000 sales in 2018 (although combined sales with the outgoing Tiguan model were just above 100,000)
  • The only dedicated hybrid that can be classified as a compact SUVKia Niro, saw its sales rise just a bit over 2018, not a great performance, while the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross struggled to gain traction in the market, failing to notch up even 10,000 sales

Note: clicking on the model names in legend turns the display for that model on/off; data is displayed from 1990 onwards, but starts earlier – access previous years using slider on bottom