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-V, Chevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-5, Jeep Compass, Kia 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:
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 Escape, Jeep 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
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