Sales in the Mid-sized SUV segment increased by 7.3% in the first quarter of 2017, following a 4.4% gain in 2016. Total volume for Q1 was 445,875, which means it’s closing in on the midsized sedan segment. Of the 18 models in this segment, 7 showed double digit growth or better, 8 showed double digit declines, 2 showed single digit declines and only one model increased by less than 10%. This year we’ll see the introduction of the new, super-conservative VW Atlas, as well as the second-generation Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and the smaller (“right-sized”) GMC Acadia and an updated Ford Explorer. Next year Subaru will join the party too with its Ascent.
Highlights for Q1 2017:
Segment leader Ford Explorer showed a slight dip in volume, while the numbers 2 and 3 caught up with each more than 20% improvement. As a result, the Jeep Grand Cherokee took the unofficial segment lead if we substract the almost 8,100 Police Interceptor SUVs that are included in the Explorer’s totals.
The third-placed Toyota Highlander distanced the Ford Edge which saw an 11.2% decline, and as a result has the Toyota 4Runner on its heels thanks to a 23.8% improvement on top of already its best year since 2004. The 4Runner was 9th of the segment in 2015 and is now just 300 sales off 4th place.
Even though the new generation Chevrolet Traverse isn’t in showrooms yet, the outgoing model still manages to improve and stay just ahead of the GMC Acadia, which has already been renewed.
The Hyundai Santa benefits from a facelift to be named fastest growing nameplate in the top-10 as it leapfrogs 5 models compared to Q1 of 2016, including sister model Kia Sorento which loses 15.9%.
Things are going from bad to worse for the Honda Pilot, as its redesign simply hasn’t caught on with buyers. The Pilot has dropped from 4th place in 2015 to a shameful #10 position in Q1 of 2017.
At Nissan, the two models are heading in opposite directions, the freshly updated Pathfinder improves almost 20% while the Murano declines just over 20% as it had been renewed a year earlier. Combined, the two models would still be in 4th place.
Big winner of the segment is the new generation Mazda CX-9 with sales up almost sixfold on the previous version, allowing it to outsell the Ford Flex, but it still remains stuck far outside the segment top-10.
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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