US car sales analysis Q2 2019 – Mid-sized SUV segment

New models and solid sales of older models drive healthy segment growth

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Sales in the US Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 8.9% to 1,077,859 in the first half of 2019, a faster rate than the 3.4% the segment experienced in 2018. This growth was due to two factors: first, the past year and a bit has seen the market debut of a number of models new to the segment (Subaru Ascent, Volkswagen Atlas, Chevrolet BlazerHonda Passport, Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade), and second, many of the older models’ sales have held up remarkably well in the face of new competition. This momentum should continue through the rest of the year thanks to the market debut of the new Ford Explorer, but it seems like 2020 is when the hammer will really drop, with the market debut of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Highlander and Kia Sorento.

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


  • Even though only 10 models out of the 24 in the segment saw their sales fall so far in 2019, seven of them were in the Top 10
  • In the Top 10, the biggest drops came from the outgoing Ford Explorer (sales down 17%) and Honda Pilot (sales down 10%), the decline from the former in particular allowing the surging Jeep Grand Cherokee (sales up 13%) to claim first place in the segment – if it can “bring it home” at the end of the year, this would be the first time the big Jeep finished best in segment!
  • Other good performances at the front came from the new Hyundai Santa Fe (sales up 14%) and the GMC Acadia (sales up 23%), the latter bouncing back from a poor 2018 (when sales were down 20%) to dislodge the Kia Sorento (sales down 11%) from the Top 10
  • Further down plenty of models put in great performances, including the new Subaru Ascent jumping to 12th in the standings, Volkswagen Atlas increasing its sales by 34% and jumping ahead of the (surprisingly resilient) Dodge Durango (sales up 13%), the new Buick Enclave finally increasing its sales by almost a quarter after a surprisingly stagnant 2018, and the new Kia Telluride off to a solid start
  • Disappointments were far fewer, and included the decline in sales by a third for the recently-facelifted Nissan Murano, and the almost-20% sales decline for the still-new Mazda CX-9, which put it de facto last in the segment, behind even the well-past-its-prime Ford Flex
  • Finally, the two new-for-2019 models, Chevrolet Blazer and Honda Passport, were neck-and-neck, the latter coming out ahead, just – interesting, seeing as both models are ideologically very similar, being the more “interesting” versions of their larger seven-seat siblings, the Traverse and Pilot

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