Sales of midsized SUVs in the United States continue to outperform the overall car market with sales down 6% in 2020 and up 7% in the last quarter of the year. A total of just over 2.5 million units sold gives these family haulers a share of 17.3% of total car sales in the US, up from 15.8%. The arrival of new models has expanded the class to 46 nameplates.
The Ford Explorer has reclaimed the top spot of the segment it basically helped create in the 1990s. However, the Toyota Highlander outsold the Explorer in Q4 and leapfrogs the Jeep Grand Cherokee for second place. The Explorer and Highlander will be fighting for the top spot in 2021, as the Grand Cherokee is due for a redesign at the end of the year. Jeep will launch a 3-row version called Grand Cherokee L in the second quarter, giving it finally a long-awaited 7-seater option in this segment. The Toyota 4Runner is surprisingly stable at -2%, especially considering its age, an it moves up three spots into #4, ahead of the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot and Ford Edge. The Hyundai Santa Fe is in 8th place, just ahead of its larger sibling Palisade and that model’s platform sibling Kia Telluride. These latter two have been blockbuster successes for the South-Korean brands, who were latecomers with crossovers of this size. They immediately outsell two other relative latecomers, the Subaru Ascent and Volkswagen Atlas, both losing share this year.
The Nissan Murano and Dodge Durango also lose ground, and distance the Nissan Pathfinder. The Honda Passport is up 10% in its first full year of sales, moving past the Buick Enclave. We welcome the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport to the ranking at #25, ahead of the Mazda CX-9, up 3%. The Toyota Venza lands at #36.
In the luxury part of the segment, which makes up 21.5% of total midsized crossover sales, up from 20.9%, the Lexus RX remains ultra dominant, even claiming an overall #9 spot. And with sales down 9% (0% in Q4), its market share remains relatively stable at double that of its nearest luxury rival. The BMW X5 leapfrogs both the Mercedes-Benz GLE and Acura MDX to reclaim its #2 spot among luxury models, despite a 7% loss of sales. The GLE lost just 4%, and the MDX was down 8% to fall off the podium. The Volvo XC90 follows at a distance, with the Tesla Model X and Lexus GX in tow, both up on last year. These latter two, as well as the Audi Q7 and Lincoln Aviator passed the Infiniti QX60 which is due for a redesign with sales down by almost half. The Aviator outsells its direct rival Cadillac XT6, which is in overall #33, behind the Lincoln Nautilus. The Range Rover Sport loses 22% but stays ahead of the Porsche Cayenne, while the Land Rover Defender lands at #38 with less than half a year of sales. We welcome the Genesis GV80 with its first sales in November, and the Audi e-tron Sportback, the coupe version of Audi’s electric crossover.
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