Sales of large SUVs in the US are back into positive territory as volume increased by just 1.2% in Q1 of 2016, after dropping 4.5% in 2015. The dominant brand in this segment is losing share as both of its entries lost volume, with the Chevrolet Tahoe down 3% and the Chevrolet Suburban down 10%. The Tahoe is still firmly in the lead of the segment, selling almost twice as much as its nearest competitor, but the Suburban’s #2 spot is now threatened by the Ford Expedition, helped by a recent facelift to gain 11% on last year. However, Chevy’s losses are offset by increased popularity of the GMC versions, and as a result total GM sales of large SUVs are virtually stable, and the company still controls almost 73% of the segment. That also means General Motors will be making more money on them, as the GMC Yukon (up 11%) and Yukon XL (up 12%) demand higher transaction prices and thus fatter margins than their Chevy twins, especially in the popular top-of-the-line Denali versions.
The Japanese remain niche players in this segment, with the Toyota Sequoia growing 7% despite being more than 8 years old and without any imminent replacement, while the Nissan Armada losing 13% as the new generation has already been revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January. The updated Toyota Land Cruiser adds 12% to its small volume of last year and stays below 1,000 sales in the quarter.