We knew the growing popularity of SUV and crossover-type vehicles amongst consumers combined with the increasing number of new arrivals would eventually steer them to the top of the U.S. sales charts, knocking down the traditional four-door sedan from its throne, and it finally happened this year.
According to industry analyst IHS Automotive, in the first five months of 2014, combined retail registrations of new SUVs and crossovers (CUV) accounted for 36.5 percent of the U.S. market, versus 35.4 percent for sedans. Back in 2009, SUVs and CUVs held a 31.4 percent market share compared to 36.5 percent for sedans.
The auto analyst said it’s not only sedans that are affected by the popularity of SUVs and crossovers, as hatchbacks, pickup trucks, coupes, minivans and convertibles have all lost share over the past five years.
“In fact, hatchbacks and pickups have lost more share in the past year than any other category, declining one half a percentage point each in the past year based on new vehicle registrations,” said HIS in a statement.
While some may disagree, IHS Automotive analyst Tom Libby says there are plenty of good reasons why consumers are choosing these types of automobiles over more traditional cars.
“These vehicles offer the combination of appealing features associated with both cars and light trucks, including a higher seating position, higher ground clearance, softer ride, more interior space, optional four-wheel or all-wheel drive, and towing capacity, among others,” he said. “Combined with the successful launches of all-new models and the introduction of redesigned existing products, these body styles offer a compelling option for the market.”
What do you think – are consumers turning to SUVs and CUVs for their practicality and capabilities; as a fashion or lifestyle statement; a lack of interesting / fresh proposals in other segments, a combination of those reasons, or something else? Tell us in the comments below.
By John Halas