Sales of midsized SUVs in the United States continue to outperform the overall car market with sales down 2% in Q3 of 2020, leading to a Year-To-Date figure of -11%, with over 1.75 million units sold. These family haulers now make up 16.9% of total car sales in the US, and the arrival of new models has expanded the class to 44 nameplates.
In the beginning of this year, the Ford Explorer reclaimed the top spot of the segment it basically helped create in the 1990s, and it has held on to that first place since. While the Jeep Grand Cherokee was the segment best seller in Q2, the Toyota Highlander was the most popular family SUV in Q3, but Ford still holds on to its YTD leadership. The Explorer’s seemingly impressive 20% gain so far this year is actually artificially inflated because of an unusually slow Q3 in 2019. The Honda Pilot moves up one spot into #4 but at a safe distance from the top-3. The Chevrolet Traverse also outsold the Toyota 4Runner in Q3 but still trails its Japanese off-road rival for 5th place. At #7, the Ford Edge is down 24% (-29% in Q3), but the Hyundai Santa Fe sold more units in the third quarter. Its slightly larger sibling Hyundai Palisade is closing in on the Kia Sorento and may outsell it by year end, just like the Kia Telluride is chasing the GMC Acadia and Subaru Ascent.
The Dodge Durango manages an uptick of 2% in Q3 for a YTD loss of 14%, which is quite impressive considering its advanced age. The Nissan Murano and Volkswagen Atlas both lost more than 35% of their sales in Q3, but the latter still manages to move past the Nissan Pathfinder for the year so far. The Honda Passport leapfrogs the Buick Enclave, while newcomer VW Atlas Cross Sport already outsold the Enclave and the Mazda CX-9 in the third quarter of the year. We welcome back the Land Rover Defender and Toyota Venza nameplates, althoug both are very different vehicles than their namesake predecessors and both still remain at the bottom of the ranking for now.
In the luxury part of the segment, which makes up 20.3% of total midsized crossover sales, the Lexus RX remains ultra dominant, even claiming an overall top-10 spot. And with sales down 13% (+5% in Q3), its market share remains relatively stable at double that of its nearest luxury rival. The Acura MDX leapfrogs both the Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X5 to reclaim its #2 spot among luxury models, despite a 13% loss of sales. The GLE lost just 4% year-to-date, but suffered a 30% drop in sales in the third quarter, when it was outsold by the X5 as well. The Volvo XC90 follows at a distance, with the Lexus GX and Tesla Model X in tow. These latter two passed the Infiniti QX60 which is due for a redesign. The QX60 was outsold in Q3 by the Audi Q7, Lincoln Nautilus and Aviator and the Cadillac XT6, with the latter being the best seller of that group and catching up on its domestic cross-town rival Aviator. The Porsche Cayenne outsold the Range Rover Sport in Q3 thanks to sales up 5%, while its platform sibling Audi Q8 distanced its EV sibling Audi e-Tron. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class was up 44% in the third quarter to return into the black and pass the Land Rover Discovery, but both were outsold by the updated BMW X6, which looks set to finish the year on a high note and not finish last among luxury players.
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