Sales of small crossovers in the US were stable in the first quarter of 2020, making it one of the best performing segments in the market, together with large pickup trucks. The segment remains relatively small with 5% of the US car market, up from 4.4% in 2019, but new entrants continue to be launched and the class is set to continue to draw customers away from small and compact cars.
The Chevrolet Trax consolidates its lead of the class, even though the model hasn’t been updated since 2017 and faces potential cannibalization from the slightly larger Trailblazer that will be launched in Q2. In fact, the Trailblazer already sold its first 3 units in March, while its platform sibling Buick Encore GX already racked up 2,601 deliveries in Q1, potentially one of the reasons for the Trax’s clone Buick Encore to suffer a 42% drop in sales. In other markets like China, the Trailblazer and Encore GX actually replace the Trax and Encore, but those new models are half a size larger and leave enough room to coexist next to the “old” ones. And General Motors is the top seller in this segment in the US, so apparently they found it too risky to simply replace their hot sellers without testing the waters first. The demise of the Encore means that the Honda H-RV moves up one spot to 2nd place and the Hyundai Kona lands on the podium for the first time ever, despite an 18% decline in sales.
The Jeep Renegade also struggles with a 22% decline, barely staying ahead of the Nissan Kicks, which has already leapfrogged the Ford EcoSport thanks to its 12% gain vs. the Ford’s stable sales. We also welcome newcomers Kia Seltos and Hyundai Venue, the latter is a relatively small model, below the class average in terms of size, and both are aimed at budget buyers. The Mazda CX-3 is down 22% and is already outsold by all of the newcomers.
The luxury part of the segment makes up 24% of total small crossover sales in the US so far in 2020, up from 21.3% in 2019. There’s a new class leader in the redesigned Audi Q3, kicking down last year’s leader Cadillac XT4, which loses 27% of its sales volume of last year. The Mercedes-Benz GLA is up into third place with a 5% gain, even though it’s due for a redesign later this year, and the brand has launched a more family-friendly crossover in the segment with the GLB. This is the first model in this segment to be available with optional third-row seating and in its first few months on the market it has already outsold rivals like the BMW X1, Volvo XC40 and Range Rover Evoque. The XC40 manages an 11% gain and the Evoque almost doubles its sales thanks to a redesign. Both of these models move past the Lexus UX, which is down by 2%. At the bottom of the ranking, the BMW X2, Mini Countryman and Jaguar E-Pace all lose ground.
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