US car sales analysis Q1 2018 – Compact SUV segment

The dominance of the Compact SUV segment extends as sales grow by 17%

Sales in the US Compact SUV segment rose by 17.1% to 850,324 in the first quarter of 2018, a considerably faster rate of growth than the 4.6% recorded in 2017 overall. With a ton of new or facelifted models having made their debuts in the market over the past 12 months this is hardly unexpected, but still serves to underscore the love customers feel for this segment. Moreover, this is not the end of the new model bonanza: 2018 will see the market debut of the already-revealed new Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester, as well as the likely reveal of the new Ford Escape.


  • After advancing steadily through the ranks over the past 5 years, from fifth in 2014 to a close second in 2017, Nissan Rogue easily led the segment in sales, followed by Toyota RAV4, which is in its final year in its current iteration
  • The new Chevy Equinox has been a big success story for GM, with its 31% growth rate allowing it to leap to third over Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, both of which lost sales in the low double digits (a particularly bad performance for the new Honda), two of only five models to have seen their sales fall in Q1’18
  • Jeep had a pretty remarkable first quarter, with its three models (WranglerCherokee and Compass) taking spots six through eight, representing a strong bounce-back for the Cherokee, remarkable given the competition provided by the smaller and newer Compass

Note: Clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off

  • The new Mazda CX-5 has been a rare success story for Mazda, its 76% growth allowing it to leapfrog the outgoing Subaru Forester, which in turn came under increased pressure from the new Subaru XV Crosstrek
  • The new GMC Terrain saw its sales grow strongly, as did the facelifted Hyundai Tucson, which did well to stay ahead of the
  • increasingly successful VW Tiguan L
  • Kia Sportage began reclaiming some of the sales it lost in 2017, when it was down 10%, leaping over the geriatric Dodge Journey
  • The only dedicated hybrid that can be classified as a compact SUVKia Niro, saw its sales rise by 30%, though with Q1’17 being its first quarter this statistic masks the fact that after a promising debut the model has slid back from the 3,000 units per month threshold that it came close to in Q2’17, but never crossed
  • Finally, the new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross made a quiet debut at the back of the segment standings

Note: clicking on the model names in legend turns the display for that model on/off; data is displayed from 1990 onwards, but starts earlier – access previous years using slider on bottom