US sales 2017 first half: Compact SUV segment


Sales in the Compact SUV segment grew at a leisurely 1.4% pace in the second quarter of 2017, a step down from the rate of growth the segment enjoyed in the first quarter (7.8%). Taken together, the segment grew at an average 4.4% in the first half of the year, a much better performance than the market as a whole (sales fell 2.3% overall), but still a slower rate of growth than the other three non-premium SUV segments, all of which grew at around 10%. Still, the segment is assured in its utter dominance of the market, and its sales of over 1.5 million in the first half of the year are 36% higher than in the next-largest segments: compact car and large pickup. What’s more, with a raft of new models either already on the market (Honda CR-VChevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-5Jeep CompassKia Niro) or hitting the market in the next few months (GMC Terrain, Subaru XV Crosstrek, VW Tiguan) it would take a brave person to bet against the segment continuing to thrive in 2017.

Highlights for the first half of 2017:

Nissan Rogue
  • After opening a big lead over its pursuers in the first quarter of 2017 with almost-50% growth, Nissan Rogue held onto the segment lead with relative ease – while it outsold its closest competitor, the previous segment-leader Honda CR-V, by a mere 1,000 units in the second quarter, its sales growth in 2017 so far still averaged to an impressive 31%. It will be fascinating to see these two cars duke it out for the segment lead in 2017, with the new-for-2017 CR-V taking on the Rogue and its new smaller twin, the Rogue Sport (Qashqai in Europe)
  • The car which held the segment lead by the halfway point in 2016, Toyota RAV4, is down in third, with little prospect of improvement anytime soon, as its new-for-the-recent-facelift Hybrid model seems to only have brought in so much improvement
  • From the cars outside the top 3, there is a group of models that gained good ground so far in 2017, but while some of those were to be expected (the new Chevy Equinox, up 10%; new Mazda CX-5, up 11%, Hyundai Tucson up 21%), the cars that gained most may come as a surprise: the geriatric Dodge Journey gained 20%, while the facelifted Mitsubishi Outlander gained 28% 
  • Among the aging cars in the segment a few models did rather well to hold onto their sales volume so far in 2017 (Ford EscapeJeep Wrangler, the about-to-be-replaced Subaru XV Crosstrek), while others suffered rather more: Jeep Cherokee lost 21%, and fell from 6th to 8th in the rankings, while the less-than-two-year-old Kia Sportage lost 13% in sales
  • Still, this is nothing compared to the close-to-halving of sales of the two older Jeep models, Patriot and Compass – the new Compass, finally available in the US, has a lot of ground to make up
  • The new Kia Niro, the only dedicated hybrid in the segment, is still finding its footing, but should sell well enough to move up a few spots in the rankings by the end of the year

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