US car sales analysis 2018 Q2 – Compact SUV segment

Segment growth continues unabated as new Jeep models and Subaru Crosstrek star

Sales in the US Compact SUV segment rose by 18.0% to 1,792,752 in the first half of 2018, with sales growth accelerating slightly in the second quarter of the year, relative to the first. With the new Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester going on sales soon, and the new Ford Escape about to make its debut, the good times are sure to keep rolling for what is now the favorite car segment in the US.


  • After narrowly losing out to Toyota RAV4 in 2017, Nissan Rogue has comfortably led the segment in 2018 YTD sales figures, even if growth slowed down for both models to under 5% in the second quarter
  • Honda CR-V is slowly beginning to gain some purchase with buyers, posting positive growth of 4.7% in the second quarter – not enough to put it in the black for the year, but enough to put it back ahead of the Chevy Equinox, whose meteoric rise began to wane in the second quarter, and well clear of the aging Ford Escape
  • Jeep has had a remarkable first half of 2018, with its three models (WranglerCherokee and Compass) taking spots six through eight, giving the brand a a combined 41.5% increase in sales in the segment, and a clear segment lead if sales of just two of these models are combined

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 new Mazda CX-5 continues to be a success for the brand, keeping it ahead of the outgoing Subaru Forester, which was almost outsold by its new smaller sister model, the XV Crosstrek
  • The new GMC Terrain, the facelifted Hyundai Tucson and Mitsubishi Outlander all posted growth rates of over a third, a particularly impressive performance for the aging Mitsubishi
  • While the new VW Tiguan L appears to have established a stronger foothold in the segment than its predecessor ever did (it already surpassed the 43,000 annual sales record established by the previous Tiguan), just how steep the climb remains was emphasized by the fact that it was outsold by the  geriatric Dodge Journey in the second quarter of 2018
  • The only dedicated hybrid that can be classified as a compact SUVKia Niro, saw its sales barely rise in the second quarter, suggesting annual sales of 25-30k is the model’s potential
  • Finally, the new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross continues to sell below the 1,000 monthly threshold, suggesting it is not immediately connecting with buyers

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