US car sales analysis 2018 Q1 – Large Commercial Van segment

Despite minor growth model fortunes diverge widely, with geriatric Chevrolet Express leading the way

Sales in the US Large Van segment rose by 0.8% to 87,226 in the first quarter of 2018, a slight improvement over the 1.4% sales decline in 2017. However, it should be noted that the segment is shrinking from a very high base – 2016 was the best year on record, with a little over 460,000 cars sold, and thus a little correction is probably to be expected. With the revised Mercedes-Benz Sprinter coming to market before long, this relatively-age insensitive segment should do just fine as long as the economy keep purring along.


  • For a segment with relatively few models, the range of sales rises and declines was rather large – the fastest growing model, Chevrolet Express, saw its sales rise by almost 30%, while the quickest sales decline was over 35% for the Ram ProMaster
  • Given these swings, its remarkable sales of the segment-leading Ford Transit were pretty much flat; the geriatric Ford E-series, by comparison, saw its sales rise by over 15%

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

  • After a decent 2017 Mercedes-Benz started off 2018 pretty well, with sales of the about-to-be-replaced Sprinter rising by over 6%, while those of the mid-sized Metris rose by a further 28%, although that still put the model very much at the bottom of the segment
  • After a good 2017, and despite its Chevrolet twin having a great quarter, sales of the GMC Savana fell by almost 30%

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