US car sales analysis 2018 Q2 – Mid-sized SUV segment

Sales stagnate, with only Honda Pilot and Chevy Traverse recording really good sales growth

Sales in the US Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 3.9% to 989,582 in the first half of 2018, after growth slowed down to just 1.0% in the second quarter. Nonetheless, this was enough for the segment to retain its position ahead of the Compact segment that it just lost out to in overall 2017 stats, behind only the Compact SUV and Pick-up segments. However, the segment may yet slip back into the red this year, as after a lot of activity in 2017 (new arrivals included Buick EnclaveChevrolet TraverseGMC AcadiaMazda CX-9  and VW Atlas), there is a surprising dearth of new metal coming in 2018, the only exception being the recently-revealed Chevrolet Blazer and the new Hyundai Santa Fe, although the new Ford Explorer may yet come to market towards the end of the year.


  • Toyota Highlander was once again the only model in the Top 3 to see its sales rise, allowing it to jump ahead of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and not that far behind the segment-leading Ford Explorer – if this is how the year finishes, it will be the highest placement for the Toyota since it finished second to the Chevrolet Traverse in 2008
  • Speaking of, the new Traverse saw its sales grow by some 30%, but was outsold by an equally-ascendant Honda Pilot, whose third generation is slowly but surely gaining back the ground it lost in the past few years
  • Ford Edge, Toyota 4Runner and Hyundai Santa Fe all more-less held onto their sales, a particularly good performance for the about-to-be-replaced Hyundai
  • Behind the Hyundai its Kia Sorento, fresh off a facelift, saw its sales rise by 5%, enough to put it ahead of the GMC Acadia, which lost 30% in the second quarter, a worrying result for a model in only its second year on the market
  • Further back the sporty, five-seat Nissan Murano continued to outsell the more family-oriented, seven-seat Pathfinder, suggesting Chevrolet is right to introduce the smaller, sharply-styled Blazer to sit alongside the larger Traverse
  • The new Volkswagen Atlas fell behind somewhat in the second quarter and YTD only sold a quarter as well as the segment leaders, suggesting the large VW still has a long way to go in this segment
  • Sales of the new Buick Enclave rose by more than a quarter as Buick dealers clearly steered customers away from the Chinese-built Envision, whose sales fell by more than half as a result
  • The new Subaru Ascent made its debut a the back of the standings, but with the brand already describing the model’s introduction as “the most successful in its history”, it’s reasonable to expect it will climb up the charts quickly

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