After falling 39% in Q2 of 2020, sales of full-sized SUVs in the US slightly recovered in Q3 to -13%, leading to a score of -18% in the first nine months of the year, on par with the overall market. Some of the biggest players in this class have been redesigned this quarter and are set to show some gains in the remainder of the year. For now, only two nameplates manage to improve their sales on last year, and do so by double digits while all but one of the others are down by double digits. The Chevrolet Tahoe holds on to the top spot but its share of the segment is down to 21.4% as sales were down 26% in the first nine months. The Tahoe was down 12% in Q3 when the new generation was launched. Combined with its platform siblings GMC Yukon (incl. XL), Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade, General Motors products account for nearly one in every two sales of this segment (49.4%), almost stable on last year. Biggest rival of the GM triplets is the Ford Expedition, which is down by 20% for the year, but outscored the segment in Q3 with a loss of just 8%. The GMC Yukon is the big winner of the class in 2020, with sales up 28% (+16% in Q3), while the Chevrolet Suburban is the big loser with sales down 42% (-39% in Q3). The Nissan Armada also loses share with sales down 29%, while Toyota is a niche player in this class despite having two completely different entries. The Sequoia hasn’t had a major redesign since 2008 and makes up just 1.7% of the class, while the Land Cruiser has an even smaller share at 0.6% and is scheduled to be pulled out of North America because of those slow sales.
The luxury part of the segment makes up 28.8% of total full-sized SUV sales, up from 26% in the first nine months of 2019, but down from 30.4% in the first half of this year. The recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLS is the only gainer in the luxury full-sized SUV class with sales up 24% (+39% in Q3), while former top luxury SUV Cadillac Escalade is down 10% (-30% in Q3) as it is in the middle of a redesign. In the third quarter, the local hero was also outsold by the BMW X7 which sees virtually stable sales, but the Escalade may finish the year on top of the luxury ranking after all, if deliveries of the new generation pick up quickly enough. The Infiniti QX80 dropped to fourth place in the ranking, but in Q3 it was also outsold by the Lincoln Navigator and Range Rover, so it may be knocked down even further by the end of the year. The Navigator already passed the Range Rover despite sales down 16% in Q3, as the British SUV was down 30%. The Lexus LX was up 4% in the third quarter, but still lost 14% so far this year.
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