US sales Q3 2017: Compact SUV segment


Sales in the largest of all segments, the compact SUV segment (2,379,590 sales YTD), grew by 4% in the third quarter, a better pace than the 1% registered in the second quarter, but some way off all the other SUV segments. Still, this still means that the segment grew by 4% YTD compared to a 3% decline for the market as a whole, as one would expect given the continued shift towards crossovers among the buying public. And with a ton of new models in the market (Honda CR-VChevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-5Jeep CompassKia NiroGMC Terrain, Subaru XV Crosstrek, VW Tiguan L) it is reasonable to expect the segments dominance will continue for a long time.

Highlights for Q3 2017:

Toyota RAV4
  • Toyota RAV4 is back as the segment leader, demoting Nissan Rogue to second spot, thanks to a remarkable surge in the third quarter (sales up 35%), which is made all the more remarkable that it outsold the new Honda CR-V in the process
  • The Honda, incidentally, seems to be struggling to get its sales going, with Q3 sales down 9% compared to last year, as it lingers in third place in 2017, whereas it was the (narrow) sales leader at this time last year
  • Chevy Equinox is a new car that hit the ground running, with sales up 51% in the third quarter, allowing it to outsell the fourth-placed Ford Escape over this time period, something it only managed once before; it may yet catch the Ford by the time the year is over
  • Beside the Escape, a lot of other models in the segment have been holding station so far this year, with sales only marginally higher or lower than at this time last years: Jeep Wrangler, Subaru Forester, Dodge Journey (remarkable for a car this old), and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
  • The 2% fall in YTD sales of the GMC Terrain masks a 15% rise in sales in Q3’17, as the new model hits the forecourts, much as the 23% YTD fall in the sales of Jeep Compass mask a 26% upturn for the new model in Q3’17 
  • Uniquely, some of the highest growth was recorded in the Top 5 of this segment; outside, only Hyundai Tucson and the low-ranked Mitsubishi Outlander matched the growth rate of the RAV4 and Rogue, while Mazda CX-5 and Subaru XV Crosstrek recorded more moderate 12% growth rates
  • Also somewhat surprisingly for such a quickly-growing segment, quite a few models recorded a big drop in sales: the less-than-two-year-old Kia Sportage is down 12% YTD, a stark contrast with its successful Tucson cousin, sales of Jeep Cherokee keep falling quickly, the still-on-sale VW Tiguan is clearly suffering from the introduction of the new Tiguan L, while the soon-to-be-discontinued Jeep Patriot sees its sales plummet by 61%
  • At the very back we see the new entrants: the only dedicated hybrid that can be classified as a compact SUVKia Niro, and the new VW Tiguan L, whose sales may soon better the heights reached by its predecessor, though it has to be said that model was never a bit-seller in this sector

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