By on May 12, 2011

Crossovers, almost by definition, are hell to segment. This month we’ve taken commenter NulloModo‘s suggestion for separating mid- and large CUVs, so please direct all praise and criticism of this month’s segmentation to him. And then, just to piss everyone off (and save time for other, more interesting work) we’ve lumped all the luxury CUVs of every category into one giant, barely-legible chart. Is it perfect? No. But then, neither are crossovers. And like crossovers these charts will get the job done, even if they don’t wow anyone in the process.

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50 Comments on “April Sales: The Crossover Report...”


  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    OK, where are the GMC Terrain & Chevy ‘nox? Aren’t they both midsize (2-row) CUVs?

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Oh, yeah, April ’11 numbers:

      17,067 Chevy Equinox (60k YTD)
      7,205 GMC Terrain (27k YTD)

      GM Theta absolutely *crushes* the 2-row CUV segment, just like the GM Lambda owns the 3-row CUV segment.

      • 0 avatar

        Thetas are in Compact CUVs here. As I said, crossovers are hell to segment.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        I don’t remember the original post where I suggested the breakdown ( I remember making it, just not 100% of what my justification was). IIRC the Thetas are tough because they are larger than small, but smaller than the other midsizers. I’m guessing we’ll see them in the compact CUV roundup.

        As far as these go, while it isn’t really a CUV (but it does probably make more sense here considering the size difference vs the big SUV like the Expedition and Tahoe, and with the Xterra, Pathfinder and 4Runner really being the only other midsize true SUVs, it’s a tiny segment, so might as well throw them in here) the JGC is doing well. I notice the Durango is not on them utter CUV list, is it not selling in numbers yet or is it joining the big SUV chart?

        GM is still doing very well in the large CUV segment with the Lambda triplets still raking up sales for this long without a refresh. The Explorer finally became available in large numbers towards the end of April, so while it might not resist the GM triple threat for total sales dominance I expect it to remain in the #1 single nameplate position for a while.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        OK, I get that it’s a bit of a mess. The “large” 3-row CUVs are easy to break out as a clear segment.

        But what’s the dividing line between a “compact” 2-row CUV and a “midside” 2-row CUV? How do you separate the RAV-4 from the Highlander? And why are the Thetas with the smaller RAV-4?

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        @Ed: When you use the terms “compact”, “mid-size”, & “large”, why not use US Federal EPA definition (110-119 cu ft interior)?

        Or compare with the “mid size” Malibu – Equinox has nearly identical wheelbase.

        Or compare with the RAV-4 – Equinox wheelbase is about a foot longer!

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        SVX –

        I’d support the Equinox as a compact CUV, and here’s why:

        Yes, the wheelbase puts it in line with the midsizers, but it is narrower than pretty much any of them, with width that falls more in line with the compact crowd. Engine options/power and starting price also line up a lot better with the compact CUVs than they do with the midsizers.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Is the Jeep Grand Cherokee a cross-over or a proper SUV?

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      That was my question, everything I’ve seen about it says SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      IIRC, the JGC is unibody CUV, not BOF SUV. Always been that way.

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        The JGC is unibody – but the design utilizes a RWD drive train.

        Part 2 – Which vehicle in the above list would be better suited for some limited off-road driving?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Jeep Grand Cherokee is as SUV as they get. Before the Blazer created the cap on a truck SUV, there were real SUVs like the Scout, Wagoneer, and Bronco. The distinction between SUV and CUV shouldn’t be the frame, it should be the availability of a low range transfer case. Low range means real capability, no matter the body construction. It wasn’t that long ago that GCs had front and rear beam axles, FFS.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        @Old – Unibody = CUV; BOF = SUV

        If I were offroading any CUV, I’d take a Subaru Outback.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      JGC can tow, haul, and has impressive off road capabilities. IMO, these capabilities make it a “Proper SUV”. Unibody vs. BOF is just implementation details.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I’d give you SUV for the JGC, but in my experience it’s cross shopped more against vehicles on these lists than against the large BOF SUVs like the Expedition, Tahoe, Armada and Sequoia.

      When you go to midsize true SUVs you pretty much have the JGC, Durango, Xterra, 4Runner, and maybe the Touraeg (it fits on size, but the pricing puts it up against the fullsize SUVs or the luxury midsize SUVs). The Borrego, Trailblazer/Envoy, BOF Explorer, Montero, etc, are all dead. The midsizish ‘true SUV’ is a niche becoming smaller and smaller, so I’d vote for just throwing them all in with the similar sized and priced crossovers, especially because most people that buy them end up using them like these crossovers.

  • avatar

    Sheesh. First of all, the Honda Crosstour is absolutely not a crossover. It’s a car. A fastback, like the Toronado or the mid-60s Sting Ray, or any one of a number of cars from that era. The VEnza is a wagon. The Highlander is either a classic SUV, or a high station wagon, like the ones from the late ’40s and early ’50s.

    The only one of these that is definitely a crossover is the Murano. The funky D pillars and the super funky rear end, and its general plug-ugliness place it in that marketing speak category.

    The Crosstour isn’t remotely a crossover. To be a crossover, you have to have some SUV genes.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      I agree. Pilot is the real counterpart of Highlander

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Congratulations Dave, you may be the first person ever to compare the Crosstour to a fastback Stingray. But you make a good point, the Crosstour has 6 inches of ground clearance, compared to 5.3 inches for a 2011 Camry. I’d say it fails the CUV test. The Venza is a wagon, sure, but it’s a high wagon (8″ of clearance, more than the Murano), so I’d say it is a CUV. CUV being a very nebulous term anyway, I’d give Ed plenty of leeway.

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        The ’63 Sting Ray had a ground clearance of 7.5″, so you could theoretically go further off road with a ‘Vette than with a Crosstour!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Be careful if you start bringing ground clearance into this. All the ‘too-good-to-be-true fuel economy’ CUVs have something like 5″ of ground clearance thanks to the super low front air dams.

        Jeep GC is definitely an SUV. While it is a unit body vehicle, it has low range and a RWD based drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      What is a crossover if not a tall wagon? The Highlander is unibody FWD and tall, sounds like the definition of a crossover to me, and in fact, I’d consider the Highlander to be one of the pioneers of the crossover segment with the Murano.

      If you go to Honda’s website and click on the Crosstour button it shows an animation of a van, SUV, and car merging into the Crosstour, which again seems to be a defination of CUV – part car, part SUV. If they wanted to claim it as a car, it should be called the Accord Hatch or the Accord Wagon.

      As far as the Pilot vs. Highlander goes, I agree, they seem like natural competitors. The Pilot is a little bit bigger in all dimensions vs. the Highlander, and the Highlander offers a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder, so I guess that’s why I stepped the Highlander down to midsize and bumped the Pilot to large CUV. Also, I’ve had more people cross shopping the Highlander vs. the Edge than vs. the Explorer. If anything, this just shows how blurry the lines are among these types of vehicles.

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    BTW, with the Venza & Crosstour on the list, where’s the Subaru Outback???

  • avatar
    segfault

    I think I’ve asked this before, but is it profitable for a $20-50k car to sell in volumes below 50,000 per year?

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      It can be if you’re only selling a few models and they’re sharing a lot of parts under the skin.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        In the sub-$50k category, for the past 12 months:

        + MINI sells about 50k units annually. They’re doing OK, because MINI basically sells ONE CAR. Also, they get BMW’s 3-series cast-offs for cheap.

        – Saab & Smart sell <10k units per year. They're dead meat, because 10k simply isn't enough volume for 1 Smart or 2 Saab.

        – Volvo & Mitsu also sell about 50k units. They're not doing so well, because they're trying to sell a full range of cars.

        – Lincoln sold <85k units / 6 models = <15k average. Not good, and you can smell the scent of death in the air.

        – Buick & Caddy moved 175k & 160k / 4 or 5 models each. They're priced near the top of the sub-$50k range, and moving near the top of the volume sub-50k unit range. Plus, they have Chevy moving 1.7M units to amortize the basic platform development. Buick & Caddy are doing OK.

        – Subaru sold 275+k units / 5 models = 55+k average. Still chugging along despite the best efforts of SOA.

        Based on the data, I would say that if you can't sell an average of 20k units per model, you're dead sooner or later (Saab, Smart, Lincoln, Volvo, Mitsubishi).

        If you can sell an average of 50k units per model (MINI, Subaru), you do OK as a niche seller.

        If you have a sugar daddy with really deep pockets, you can do OK selling 20k to 50k units per model (Buick, Caddy).

      • 0 avatar
        Bimmer

        How come is that you say that Buick and Caddy share platforms with Chevy, but fail to mention that Lincoln is sharing platforms with Ford? So, even at that volume Lincoln is doing OK.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m surprised the Veracruz is doing so poorly; it’s a very nice car with good styling. Any ideas?

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      Because most Hyundai buyers are after value and the Santa Fe in the same showroom is 95% of the car for 80% of the price. A problem the Azera also had.

      On top of that, a mid sized crossover with 16/21 on the sticker is an exceedingly tough sale these days. Especially when the Santa Fe next to it says 20/26.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      B/c the Veracruz, as well as the Azera, were decent enough vehicles in their respective segments, but nothing compelling (plus, Hyundai did zero advertising for the 2).

      Even when Hyundai dropped the 3rd row in the Santa Fe, sales of the Veracruz continued to dwindle.

      Also didn’t help that the 2 were relatively fuel inefficient for most of their model run.

      Counter that with the Kia Sorento (which can get around $37K for a loaded SX model) – which has left the Santa Fe in the dust with regard to sales.

      Better sheetmetal, better fuel efficiency, Kia actually advertising the model.

      Now, the Kia Sorento – that’s a tough one to categorize, a “tweener” or a large-ish compact CUV/small-ish mid-size CUV with an available 3rd row.

  • avatar
    derek533

    If you make perhaps the best 3-row CUV available (Ford Flex) yet don’t support it, does anyone notice? It’s really sad to see zero advertising for it and Ford pretty much abandoning it in favor of the Explorer.

    Seriously, it’s sad at how bad it is selling considering how capable it really is. Even though we just recently traded ours off for a real minivan, there is no other CUV minivan alternative that does as good as a job as the Flex did for us (and others).

    If it had sliding doors, we’d still have it and run it into the ground. That’s how comfortable and capable it was.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I like the Flex, but I don’t think the problem was Ford’s lack of support, but the public’s lack of love for boxy vehicles. I don’t get it, but hey, I own an Element.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    This is an incredibly difficult area to differentiate.

    To be candid about it, the only way I would look at it is size. None of these vehicles are looked at for their off-road prowess by the overwhelming majority of their customers.

    They are ‘family haulers’ that just happen to not be minivans. Therefore they will now be called…

    Small with weight problems.

    Medium with a bad case of a Big Mac attack.

    Large enough to make Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dance with glee.

    and of course…

    Canyonero

  • avatar

    What’s everyone’s favorite CUV?

  • avatar
    Subifreak

    No sales stats for the Subaru Outback?? You know, the ones who actually invented the segment…

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Sadly, after my defense of the JGC’s bonafides, I decided to see if it still had any business being considered a real SUV now that it is based on the flimsy Mercedes ML crossover. Not much of one, from what I can find. Jeep claims to offer a real low range transfer case, but no combination of options would produce a Grand Cherokee that would actually ship with one.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      In Canada, the Base Laredo offers a $975 “Off Road Adventure” package which includes:
      Hill Descent Control
      Tires: P245/70R17 OWL On/Off Road
      Quadra-Trac II 4WD System ->**Includes Low Range**
      Selec-Terrain System
      Skid Plate Group
      Front Suspension Skid Plate
      Fuel Tank Skid Plate Shield
      Transfer Case Skid Plate Shield
      Underbody Skid Plate
      Steel Spare Wheel
      Tow Hooks
      Trail Rated Badge

      The higher models (Limited, Overland) seem to include the 2 speed transfer case as standard, so the off road package is only $500 for skid plates, tires, etc.

  • avatar
    faygo

    is whatever software TTAC runs on so antiquated that you can’t just include a non-eye chart version of the luxury figures ? it seems completely worthless to force the chart into an arbitrary image size, effectively rendering it useless.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Can anybody give the sales for the Durango and Journey? Isn’t the Journey a “mid-size”, or is it disqualified because it has a third row?

  • avatar
    MLS

    Shouldn’t the Enclave be included in the premium CUV list?

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Dear Honda,

    It is HIGH time you release the hope that was given to the Crosstour. Garbage, I for one expect more from you. This is not hate mail, just a deeply worried Honda “fan-boy”.

  • avatar
    Mr. Spacely

    I get how tough this segment is to categorize, but even this way seems a bit messy.

    What if we just did “RWD/AWD CUV/SUVs” and “FWD/AWD CUV/SUVs”?

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    I’m surprised to see the SRX in second place for the luxury segment. I don’t see any on the road, though they do look good in pictures and the $35k base price is attractive (though I’m guessing that no one is buying them near this amount). The new RX is fugly to my eye, but i guess that it’s still supremely capable (for a luxo-crossover) and Lexus earned enough repeat customers with the previous generation to keep it on top.


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