US sales 2017 first half: Mid-sized SUV segment

US-sales-midsized_SUV-segment-2016-Kia_Sorento-Chevrolet_Traverse-Ford_Explorer-Dodge_Durango-Nissan_Pathfinder-Honda_Pilot-Toyota_HighlanderSales in the Mid-sized SUV segment increased by 9.5% in the first half of 2017, an improvement on the 4.4% gain the segment experienced in 2016. What’s more, the absolute volume of 952,645 put the segment once again within spitting distance of the mid-sized car segment, underlying how the market has shifted in favor of crossovers in the past two decades. That said, 2017 does not seem like the year that mid-sized crossovers overtake the mainstream cars, for while there is plenty of new metal coming to the market (Buick EnclaveChevrolet TraverseGMC Acadia and VW Atlas), none of these models are likely to trouble the segment leaders or add that greatly to the segment total.

Highlights for the first half of 2017:

GMC Acadia
  • Segment leader Ford Explorer recovered in the second quarter of 2017 after a poor showing showing earlier in the year, to keep a sizable lead over its closest pursuers: the evergreen Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Toyota Highlander, which has been thriving following its modest facelift in 2016
  • In fact, the great performance of the aging models in the top 3 puts into perspective the relative underperformance of a few newer models: sales of Ford Edge did not change compared to the first half of 2016, sales of new-for-2015 Nissan Murano and Kia Sorento fell by 12% and 13%, respectively, thought that is still better than the dismal 13% loss in sales for the unloved new Honda Pilot
  • No such worries for the new GMC Acadia, whose sales were up almost 50% compared to 2017, Buick Envision, which despite being a somewhat less-than-fresh import from the Chinese market seems to have been embraced by the American buyers, or Mazda CX-9, which improved hugely, albeit from a low starting spot
  • It’s too early to judge the performance of VW Atlas, as the model keeps gaining sales each month still, but once things settle in the second half of the year we’ll know better whether the brand’s gamble to go super-sized and uber-conservative have delivered it more success in this segment than in the mid-sized car segment

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

  1. My most favourite segment. The SUVs are not too big and not too small, just perfect size for smaller and bigger families. Very comfortable ride and enough luggage space.
    My favourite one is the Highlander and I would be very happy to see this SUV in Europe. I know they are selling it now in Russia and Ukraine, but the rest of Europe deserves it too.
    But after all we should never forget that Ford Explorer was the one, who made US families to think about switching from sedans, station wagons and minivans to family SUVs and its over 7 million sales prove it.
    Plus I believe a very good addition to the US line up of Mid-size SUVs would make Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner and even LC Prado. I know Toyota is offering 4Runner now, but Fortuner is a very different SUV based on Hilux, just like Everest is based on Ranger and few days ago I saw the new facelift of Land Cruiser Prado and it looks awesome. Americans will love it too, don’t you think so?
    PS: I can’t wait for the next generation of Highlander after Toyota just renovated Camry and transferred it from K-Platform to “Toyota New Global Architecture” platform, on which the next gen of Highlander should be based on too!

    1. If fond means fan, yes, I’m a fan of Toyota, Ford, Honda, Lexus, Tesla, Buick, also almost all vintage US models, especially the large ones, plus vintage Mercedeses till early 90’s. Actually the only on company I do not like is VW, but this is my problem of course.
      I don’t see bright future for the whole FCA, except Jeep perhaps, if they do not change their strategy and PSA-Opel are not doing very well in my predictions too, but who am I, just a fan.
      I think in near future the biggest manufacturers of cars will be not current auto-makers, but high-tech IT companies like Tesla, Apple and others.

      1. Lots of info, multiple opinions in just a few paragraphs 😉
        I share your ‘fan-atism’ regarding vintage US models and the Last of the Mohican beasts. Like Tesla too the same way like I DISLIKE VW. Reasons in abundance.

        FCA? Guess Marchionne is hangin’ in there. The FCA line up has several bleeders, it has FIAT (which reached a 3% margin on sales in H1 2017) and FCA has Jeep/RAM. The latter two keep the FCA ship afloat. Plus some Maserati’s.

        As to PSA, I noticed the amazing profit that group made in H1 2017. Almost 2 bn, despite insane losses in China, and a dozen (!!) models that don’t sell at all. So why this 7,3% operational margin? B/c
        1. PSA has a superb CEO & CFO. Carlos Tavares has a strong pricing policy / simply refuses to join the discountgame.
        2. PSA leads the way in efficiency (VW take note!)
        3. PSA customers typically buy top versions. The C3 and in particular the 3008/5008 reel in huge amounts of profit due to customer preference.

        BTW: VW improved its margin from ca 1,5% (H1 2016) to 4% in H1 2017, mainly b/c the Tiguan sells in large quantities.
        But the real star within the highly Toxic and unethical VW Group is Skoda. That’s a true profit generator (like Dacia for Renault). 9% return on sales.

  2. “These SUVs are not too big and not too small, just perfect size for smaller and bigger families. Very comfortable ride and enough luggage space”. Agree wholeheartedly.

    1. Well I wouldn’t call cars that are 5 meters in length or even longer “not too big and not too small”. That’s gas-guzzler territory 😉

    2. Talking about low-cost brands like Skoda and Dacia, why the reborn Datsun brand could not manage to duplicate the succes of Dacia, as both low-cost barnds are part of the same corporation?

      And about PSA-Opel, I didn’t know they had such a high profit in H1, I just look at their global sales and they are not good at all. For the period Jan-May 2017 PSA has sold 1 293 447 vehicles, which -8.0% variation in comparison to the same period of 2016
      Talking about brands for the same period:
      Peugeot is 12th with 839 409 sales and -4.6%
      Citroen is under 25th place out of the chart and the the new addition Opel is 22nd with 492732 sales and -3.1%
      I mean no matter how big profit they have, such bad figures couldn’t be a good sign for their future. :

  3. As to Datsun (Dat-Son) ;): That brand is maybe on offer in 4, 5 countries, isn’t it? (India, Rusland, South-Africa + x? + x?)
    In India it competes with sibling Kwid, Tata and Mahindra’s. Guess Datsun sells hardly 100k annually.

    Then the remarkable resurgence of Peugeot Societé Anonyme: Bizarre what happened in China. Until 2014, 2015 all went crescendo: 700k per year, followed by 750k per year, 3 models almost selling 100k yearly. All of a sudden, coinciding with the Chinese appetite for fresh homecooked cars. not only the PSA sedans suffered, but its few SUV/CO’s too. F.i. the C3-XR, 2008 and 3008 dropped 80%. DS is a failure, up until now.

    Some say the fall of PSA in China is b/c it refuses to adjust its pricing, others the lack of SUV’s. Instead it introduced sedans nobody wanted. Whatever cause, lots of work to do. Tavares has reshuffled management, will pay more attention how the brands are marketed.

    So how PSA could IMPROVE unit sales, earnings and revenue remains a mystery to me. However:
    PSA’s fall in unit sales were stabilized via Iran. Since less than a year hundreds of thousand 206(!) and 405’s (!!!) are consolidated. Even though hardy profitable, they’re inflating the sales volume. Without Iran, PSA sold 10% less, which is an incredible sad fact given all markets increased.
    PSA earnings benefit tremendously from EU customers: they tend to buy fully loaded versions. Further the CEO sold non core assets, and is king in production cost saving measures, such as the platform strategy.
    A silver lining at last: PSA achieved 7.3% operational margin DESPITE mentioned setbacks AND a model cycle climbing up from its lowest point. With a dozens new models due, the stock market rewarded PSA with a 5% increase.

    Why Renault – much better positioned than PSA and with a similar volume and profit level – was PUNISHED with a 5% drop, that’s another (interesting) story….

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