The full-sized SUV segment in the US was down 7% in the first quarter of 2020, outperforming the overall market, even though some of the best sellers in this segment are due for a redesign this year. So far this year, 3% of all vehicles sold in the United States was one of these cash printing machines for the automakers, together with the full-sized SUVs based on the same platform they are the cork that keep the Detroit 3 afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. The Chevrolet Tahoe holds on to the top spot is also held for the full year 2019 and improves its share to 19.5% of the segment. Combined with its platform siblings GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade, General Motors products account for nearly one in every two sales of this segment (47.3%), stable on last year. What makes this a strong performance is that the next generation of these nameplates has already been revealed and will arrive in showrooms later this year, featuring updated exterior design, a more luxurious interior and better ride and handling, in order to make them better compete on those factor with their cross-town rivals Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. The Expedition is down 9% but still holds the #2 spot by a safe margin on the GMC Yukon. The Suburban is down 14% into fourth place, although to be fair it should be combined with Tahoe sales, as all other models also combine sales of the short and long wheelbase versions. The Nissan Armada completes the top-5 with a comfortable distance to the Toyota Sequoia, the oldest model in the class, having no major redesign since 2007. Its sibling model Toyota Land Cruiser remains a niche model in the US and won’t be replaced once the current generation reaches the end of its life cycle.
The luxury part of the segment makes up 29.6% of total full-sized SUV sales, up from 26.3% in Q1 of 2019 and 20.7% for the full year 2019. New leader of the luxury class is the Mercedes-Benz GLS, recently redesigned atnd up 6% while the former leader Cadillac Escalade is down 18% as it will be renewed later this year, as mentioned above. The Infiniti QX80 is down 3% and manages to stay well ahead of the BMW X7 which just celebrated its first birthday. The X7 is by far the best performer in this segment, more than doubling on its introductory quarter, with the GLS as the only other nameplate to sell more than last year. The Range Rover is down 16% and the Lincoln Navigator is down 14%. Finally we find the Lexus LX in last place among luxury models, down 30% to less than 300 monthly sales.
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