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Despite Eye-Popping Sticker Prices, Premium SUVs Are Quickest Sellers

Despite Eye-Popping Sticker Prices, Premium SUVs Are Quickest Sellers

By Philly Murtha, May 13, 2015

SUVs and crossover utilities--particularly premium or luxury SUVs--were the hottest models on dealer lots during April, according to retail new-vehicle sales transaction data collected by the Power Information Network(R) (PIN) from J.D. Power. Considering the sticker prices of some current premium SUV models, this is good news for dealers and automakers alike, if not buyers' wallets.

According to PIN, vehicles in the five fastest-selling segments remained on dealer lots an average of 29 to 39 days before being sold--in some cases more than twice as fast as the industry's average turn rate of 64 days. Most of these SUV segments also achieved double-digit sales increases in April and through the first four months of 2015 vs. the same periods in 2014, according to sales data compiled by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

Among the 25 vehicle segments tracked by PIN, four of the five fastest-selling segments in April were SUVs, and three of the top five were luxury or premium SUV segments. Midsize Pickups were the third-fastest movers.

All five of the quickest-moving segments remained on dealer lots fewer than 40 days before being sold. The fastest-selling segments were: Large Premium SUV (29 days); Small Premium SUV (31 days); Midsize Pickup (34 days); Compact Premium SUV (38 days); and Large SUV (39 days).

The top seller in the fastest-moving Large Premium SUV segment through the first four months of 2015 was the 7-passenger Mercedes-Benz GL-Class/GLS, followed by the 8-passenger Cadillac Escalade, redesigned for 2015, and which nearly doubled sales from a year ago. The Land Rover Range Rover, elegantly styled with seating for 5, was third in sales so far this year as sales were up by about one-third from a year ago. Although the segment accounts for less than 1% of industry sales, market share rose and deliveries in the first four months of 2015 were up 44% from a year ago.

The two highest-selling models in each of the next three fastest-moving vehicle segments both during April and year to date were: the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3 (Small Premium SUV); Toyota Tacoma, which is being redesigned for 2016, and newly redesigned Chevrolet Colorado (Midsize Pickup); Cadillac SRX and Acura RDX (Compact Premium SUV); and the iconic Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Suburban (Large SUV), both redesigned for 2015.

Although the Compact SUV segment ranked as the sixth-fastest-moving segment with a turn rate averaging 43 days--two days quicker than April 2014--it was one of the largest-volume segments in the industry in April and year to date. The three best-selling models in this strong segment both in April and through the first four months were: the Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox, and the Ford Escape.

Not Hot Off the Lot: Small Cars, Large Cars
At the other end of the spectrum, the vehicle segments with models that sat on dealer lots an average of 110 days in April were Small Cars and Large Cars. Both segments posted sales declines in April and through the first four months of 2015 vs. 2014.

The next three segments with the slowest average turn rates in April were: Compact Premium Sporty Car (106 days); Compact MPV (86 days); and Compact Sporty Car (83 days). In spite of the tortoise-like pace of deliveries, each of these slower-moving segments managed to post sales gains in the first four months of 2015 vs. 2014.

Year to date, the top-selling models in each of these five slower-moving segments were: Nissan Versa and Hyundai Accent (Small Car); Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Impala (Large Car); Lexus RC and Nissan Z (Compact Premium Sporty Car); Kia Soul and Ford Transit Connect (Compact MPV); and the Mini Cooper and Mitsubishi Lancer (Compact Sporty Car).

Additional Research:

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