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SUVs Fly Off Dealer Lots during First 6 Months of 2015

SUVs Fly Off Dealer Lots during First 6 Months of 2015

By Philly Murtha, July 16, 2015

New SUVs and crossovers dashed off dealer lots during the first half of 2015. Collectively, deliveries of vehicles in the eight SUV segments* surged 12.3%, outpacing the industry's 4.5% year-to-date improvement. More than one in every three new vehicles purchased or leased in the first half was an SUV.

Overall, light trucks--including SUVs and pickups--outsold cars in the first 6 months of 2015, accounting for a 55.68% market share, up 2.36 percentage points from last year's first-half 53.32% share. The car share was 44.32% in the first 6 months of 2015, down from 46.68% a year ago.

Following are a few first-half segment highlights based on data collected by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive:

  • More than 3 million SUVs were sold or leased during the first half of 2015, equal to a 35.7% market share--up 2.5 percentage points from last year's 33.2% share during the same time period.
  • Automakers sold or leased an additional 331,000+ SUVs and crossovers, compared with the same period last year.
  • One in every seven new vehicles sold in the first half of this year was a compact SUV. The Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox, and Ford Escape were segment volume leaders. Sales rose 10.1% and share advanced to 13.5% vs. 12.8% a year ago.
  • Midsize SUVs--including top sellers Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Toyota Highlander--were the second-most popular SUV category, with sales up 10.9% from a year ago and share rising to 11.6% vs. 10.9%.
  • Small SUV sales soared 28.2% in the first half of 2015 from the same time period last year, and market share rose to 3.7% vs. 3% a year ago. Top sellers were the Jeep Patriot, Subaru XV Crosstrek, and Buick Encore.
  • Large SUVs posted a dip (-2.9%)--the only SUV segment to decline in sales. Share fell to 1.5% from 1.7%. The Chevrolet Tahoe was the sales leader in this category.
  • Gains and top sellers in the other four SUV categories were Compact Premium SUV (+25.8%), Cadillac SRX/XT5; Large Premium SUV (+31.0%), Mercedes-Benz GL-Class/GLS; Midsize Premium SUV (+1.7%), Lexus RX Series; and Small Premium SUV (+72.5%), Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

Pickups Continue to Climb, Outpacing the Industry
Large and midsize pickups also were in demand, as total pickup sales rose 10% from a year ago. More than 999,000 pickups were delivered in the first half--nearly 46,000 more units than a year ago.

Ford's F-Series (F-150 and Super Duty) remained the best-selling model in the United States despite a decline, partly due to a ramp-up in production of the new aluminum-body 2015 F-150. The Chevrolet Silverado (1500 and HD) was second in sales, followed by (in rank order) the Ram Pickup (1500 and HD), GMC Sierra (1500 and HD), and Toyota Tundra. Midsize pickup sales, led by the Toyota Tacoma, climbed 51.8%, boosted by the addition of the recently redesigned Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

Seven other vehicle segments that posted gains, along with their top sellers, were Compact Car (+1.2%), Toyota Corolla; Compact MPV (+1.5%), Kia Soul; Compact Premium Car (+3.2%), BMW 3 Series; Compact Premium Sporty Car (+28.5%), Lexus RC; Compact Sporty Car (+32.3%), Mitsubishi Lancer; Large Sporty Car (+31.8), Jaguar XK; and Midsize Sporty Car (+26.2%), Ford Mustang.

In contrast, seven car segments and one light-truck segment posted lower sales: Midsize Car (-4.0%); Midsize Premium Sporty Car (-1.1%); Large Car (-18.1%); Large Premium Car (-7.4%); Midsize Premium Car (-9.4%); Midsize Van (-15.7%); Small Car (-4.4%); and Super Premium (-1.0%).

*J.D. Power and LMC Automotive identify 27 car and light-truck segments in the U.S. market. Eight of them categorize small, midsize, and large Mass Market and Premium SUVs. Large Premium Pickups are not included due to only two unit sales.

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