By on December 6, 2013


With what will likely turn out to be a brief decline in utility vehicles at the Ford Motor Company, sales of SUVs and crossovers at the Chrysler Group were stronger in November 2013 than they were at Ford and Lincoln.

How’d they do it? The Dodge Durango’s 36% increase – its lowest year-over-year improvement since May – was basically cancelled out by the Dodge Journey’s 22% slide. But at Jeep, where sales had been down 2% through the first ten months of 2013, the new Cherokee’s long-awaited first full month on the market helped to power a 30% brand-wide jump.

It wasn’t all down to the Cherokee, and it’s not as though every Ford utility vehicle posted decreases. (Flex up 29%!) With 9% and 14% improvements from the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, respectively, Jeep’s two top sellers accounted for 58% of the brand’s November sales. Indeed, compared with the same period one year earlier, sales of every Jeep model except the defunct Liberty increased in November 2013.

The Cherokee’s 10,169 sales created quite a buzz when figures were released on Tuesday, however, as many an observer forgot that Jeep had delayed the model’s showroom debut because of quality issues, thereby enabling a greater stockpile of Cherokees than there normally would be at this stage of a launch. Or perhaps it’s just that desirable: could the Cherokee fly in the face of conventional wisdom and sell in this manner on a routine basis?

It was America’s 11th-best-selling SUV/CUV in November, and in part because of its early success, SUVs and crossovers were responsible for 39% of the Chrysler Group’s volume, up from 37% a year ago.

Five different Detroit brand utility vehicles sold more often than the Cherokee in November, including the two Jeeps already mentioned. The Ford Escape, America’s second-ranked utility vehicle, attracts 40% of Ford/Lincoln SUV buyers. Escape sales rose only slightly in November but are up 13% year-to-date, easily exceeding both the market’s growth and the better-selling Honda CR-V’s rate of ascent.

In the U.S., Ford currently relies on SUVs and crossovers for 29% of its sales, a little less than at this time last year. That’s not because their sales have fallen – utility vehicle sales at FoMoCo are up 9% in 2013. Simply put, sales of Ford MoCo cars are growing at a slightly faster clip than sales of utility vehicles, and the F-Series’ rapid rise shows that Ford really knows how to shake its money maker.

The biggest seller of SUVs in America is General Motors. From 14 nameplates, GM sold 75,999 SUVs and crossovers in November; 855,018 year-to-date. The 16% growth rate (both in November and year-to-date) is virtually twice what the overall auto industry has accomplished this year. Even with the one new Buick Encore introduction excluded, GM utility vehicle sales are up 12% in 2013, as improvement has been seen from every nameplate except the Cadillacs. The SRX continues to be America’s second-best-selling premium brand utility vehicle, although the Acura MDX is surging ever closer and the SRX is some 40,000 sales back of the Lexus RX.

Depending how you define the two terms – SUV and crossover – there are around 90 different nameplates available in the utility vehicle arena going into 2014. They generate 30% of the American auto industry’s volume. And of the 4.3 million SUVs and crossovers sold already this year, 48% come from GM, Ford, and Chrysler, down a percentage point from their market share a year ago.

10 mos.
10 mos.
Buick Enclave
4687 4817 - 2.7% 55,715 50,651 + 10.0%
Buick Encore
2663 29,195
Cadillac Escalade (SWB)
1100 960 + 14.6% 11,122 11,244 - 1.1%
Cadillac Escalade ESV
651 693 - 6.1% 7175 7156 + 0.3%
Cadillac SRX
4823 5340 - 9.7% 50,702 51,085 - 0.7%
Chevrolet Captiva Sport
4476 3672 + 21.9% 44,966 34,228 + 31.4%
Chevrolet Equinox
18,397 16,821 + 9.4% 220,980 199,070 + 11.0%
Chevrolet Suburban
5212 4705 + 10.8% 45,440 42,160 + 7.8%
Chevrolet Tahoe
7272 5895 + 23.4% 74,856 60,302 + 24.1%
Chevrolet Traverse
6889 5697 + 20.9% 88,665 78,176 + 13.4%
Dodge Durango
5581 4091 + 36.4% 55,351 37,373 + 48.1%
Dodge Journey
5155 6569 - 21.5% 76,317 71,875 + 6.2%
Dodge Nitro
3269 - 100%
Ford Edge
8761 10,142 - 13.6% 117,031 115,535 + 1.3%
Ford Escape
20,988 20,970 + 0.1% 271,531 240,877 + 12.7%
Ford Expedition
3492 2831 + 23.3% 34,025 34,001 + 0.1%
Ford Explorer
14,268 14,940 - 4.5% 175,490 146,963 + 19.4%
Ford Flex
2125 1648 + 28.9% 23,575 26,052 - 9.5%
GMC Acadia
7566 3631 + 108% 81,870 73,101 + 12.0%
GMC Terrain
6821 8158 - 16.4% 91,527 86,270 + 6.1%
GMC Yukon
2777 2438 + 13.9% 24,705 23,876 + 3.5%
GMC Yukon XL
2665 2535 + 5.1% 28,100 20,498 + 37.1%
Jeep Cherokee
10,169 10,748
Jeep Compass
3547 2715 + 30.6% 49,459 37,104 + 33.3%
Jeep Grand Cherokee
14,798 13,619 + 8.7% 157,758 137,613 + 14.6%
Jeep Liberty
4202 - 100% 6101 71,975 - 91.5%
Jeep Patriot
5148 4174 + 23.3% 69,639 57,444 + 21.2%
Jeep Wrangler
11,753 10,337 + 13.7% 143,474 130,124 + 10.3%
Lincoln MKT
431 537 - 19.7% 5416 6441 - 15.9%
Lincoln MKX
1946 2108 - 7.7% 21,366 22,490 - 5.0%
Lincoln Navigator
762 675 + 12.9% 7671 7289 + 5.2%
164,920 + 12.1% 2,079,970 1,884,242 + 10.4%
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49 Comments on “Cain’s Segments: Detroit Utility Vehicles...”

  • avatar

    Wow lots of growth in the segment with a few exceptions (Lincoln’s crossover vehicles.) Did such a small dip in gas prices (20 cents or so in my area) really drive that many people into CUV/SUV purchases?

  • avatar

    I have yet to see a single Cherokee on the road which is fine by me since I don’t particularly enjoy throwing up in my mouth.

    • 0 avatar

      Cue billfrombuckhead with his DPRK-like Pentastar Propaganda

    • 0 avatar

      A neighbor across the street has one. It’s a much more attractive vehicle than photos would indicate. I’ve done a 180 and now think it’s very handsome.

      • 0 avatar

        I sought them out in person hoping for the same reaction (better in person). Sadly I did not have the same experience. Luckily for me I haven’t seen any on the road either.

        I wanted to like it because the interior is nice and the drivetrain should be excellent, with the baby Pentastar.

        Luckily looks are subjective.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. I’ve seen one from the adjacent lane during my I-95 commute and wow, for someone who’s never been an SUV fan, I was doing triple-takes of the Cherokee. “Handsome” perfectly describes it.

        • 0 avatar

          I saw my first one the other day. Really was surprised how uncontroversial it’s styling was in the real world. It’s bigger then I thought it would be and actually quite nice looking

          • 0 avatar

            The tiny “squinting” headlights and awkward “fold-over” grille still bother me, but the rest is alright enough.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s getting about time to replace my wife’s Liberty, and we’ve talked about a Grand Cherokee, but they just keep getting more expensive for just a daily driver SUV (what we’d want tops out at $44k). I’d like to consider a Cherokee, as I like the specs and the look except for those (as said) squinting headlights. Seems like someone in the aftermarket world (like AEV) needs to come up with a replacement front end. (lol)

          • 0 avatar

            AJ, my BFF was faced with the same situation when he chose a 2012 Grand Cherokee Laredo E 4X4 V6 for his wife.

            The black cloth trim is easy to take care of and the car retailed out of the door for less that $34K.

            When they travel they use a Garmin for NAV and the Satellite radio for entertainment. When they get out of the car he puts the Garmin in his shirt pocket.

            On the other side of the spectrum are my wife and I when I bought her that tricked-out Auburn Metallic Overland Summit 4X4 V6 with all the bells and whistles. The MSRP was almost $50K but there weren’t any takers so they cut us some slack.

            When my wife travels, she still uses her old Garmin, and puts it in her purse when she gets out of the car. Our GC has a NAV system we haven’t used. Ditto with the Blue Tooth and Garage Opener since we have no garage.

            The leather trim in our GC is hot in summer and cold in winter and not easy to keep clean.

            After two years of ownership the leather of the driver seat is beginning to crease and show wear. This is not Rolls-Royce Leather or the cow that belonged to this hide was suffering from malnutrition.

            We haven’t had any problems with our GC so far and I would recommend it to anyone looking to buy a mid-size SUV/CUV. But I could have saved myself a whole lot of money had I bought a Laredo instead.

            You’ll love the additional room though.

          • 0 avatar
            Roberto Esponja

            highdesertcat, regarding your Grand Cherokee Overland, it comes with air conditioned seats standard. Give them a try on hot days, ’cause they’re fantastic.

            As to the leather, try treating it once a year with Lexol cleaner and conditioner, it’s a terrific product. Be careful using it on the perforated areas of the front seats though, ’cause that’s where the air from the air conditioner comes out of.

            Hope this was useful to you.

          • 0 avatar

            Roberto Esponja, thanks for the advice. It is very useful but I haven’t seen Lexol in my area.

            If you know what Saddlesoap is, that’s what we use on the GC seats because it is the same stuff we use on the saddles for our horses. It works real good and leaves no residue once worked into the leather and wiped off.

            I’ve tried all of the cleaner/conditioners available in my area starting in 2008 when we bought the Highlander Limited that has light-grey leather.

            And as far as the seats being hot in summer, I’m in Southcentral New Mexico where the sun beats mercilessly on man, beast and vehicles alike. It gets so hot here you can fry an egg on the hood of your car.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve concluded that with modern auto design, you need to reserve judgment until you see one in the flesh, so to speak (one being any make and model).

        There is a growing list of vehicles that have looked awful in pictures according to the B&B, to then have many say, “wow, nice in person,” when they see one in the wild.

        Now $70K for a SRT version is another story…

        • 0 avatar

          “$70K for a SRT version is another story…”

          It depends on a person’s priorities in life. And if someone can afford it, why not?

          As my last new vehicle in this life I would like to drive a Tundra 5.7 4-door 4X4 in top trim. Chances of that happening?

          Nil, because I haven’t got the money to make it happen.

          • 0 avatar
            Sam P

            You bought a $50k Grand Cherokee, but you can’t afford a loaded Tundra? OK then.

            FWIW, a loaded 1794 Edition Tundra goes for $53k with the 5.7 liter V8, 4×4, 4 door extended cab, etc.

          • 0 avatar

            Sam P, I’ve looked at them, and I also looked at the lesser trims for when I get ready to trade my 2011 Tundra for a brand new 2015 or 2016 model.

            My next truck, barring unanticipated events or divine intervention like death, will be a Tundra 4dr 4X4 and have a 5.7, but probably not in the top trim. I don’t have $53K that I can use for indiscriminate spending.

            Buying the GC for the wife was an entirely different situation and is because she travels much to lecture for her family’s real estate business. She earned it. She deserves it, just like I worked hard for my current Tundra. I had both a 1988 Silverado and a 2006 F150 at the time I bought my 2011 Tundra.

            A truck for me is a work vehicle and actually used to tow and haul. It would break my heart to dirty up a nice truck. That doesn’t keep me from wishing I could afford one.

            The reason I can’t afford one is because I use up all the disposable money I get in every month on expenses way more important than my truck or me, and whatever “trackable” money I have going in to ‘savings’ is to repay the money I took out when I bought the GC for my wife.

            I don’t believe in financing so I have to save up my “official” income before I can buy that new truck.

            I use up all my chump change money every month and we won’t touch the money my wife’s dad has stashed at our house (until he’s dead).

            We’ve got two high-maintenance grand daughters currently living with us and help them with their HS and College expenses. And after they leave we still have a set of twins to help raise.

            Our philosophy is to pool our resources to give our kids/grandkids the best chance to succeed when they enter the workforce.

            $53K for a truck when you can get a Silverado or F150 for less than $30K, yeah, that’s just out of my reach (for the next several years at least).

    • 0 avatar

      Seen a couple, look alright to me. They will blend in soon enough and you won’t think about them twice.

  • avatar

    Considering that not too long ago Dodge was considering discontinuing the Durango it is remarkable to see that it on track to sell over 60k units this year. Quite a recovery.

  • avatar

    The SRX doing so well surprises me. I hardly see any. It seems like most people go for its big brother The Escalade or get a Lexus RX.

  • avatar

    The most surprising stat to me is the sales of the Chevrolet Captiva sport. November’s sales 4,476, were more than 10 times the sales of the Lincoln MKT. (How’s that livery strategy working out for you, Lincoln?) The fleet-only Captiva Sport almost doubled sales of the “popular” Buick Encore.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      And even better (for GM) is that the Captiva keeps transaction prices & resale values of the Equinox and Terrain from taking a dip…

    • 0 avatar

      Well remember, the Encore and Capitva aren’t in the same segment – and most of those Encores are going to retail (will gladly be corrected by anyone with accurate fleet data).

      The last fleet data I saw for Buick was very encouraging in general.

      and as noted by Kyree – it serves several purposes, mainly not deflating the Equinox and Terrain. I know many in the B&B who have rented the Captiva have said nice things – I had one as a rental and I thought it was simply awful. One of the worst vehicles I’ve had as a rental (4th place on the worst list)

    • 0 avatar

      I guess the car rental business is doing well.

      Imagine how high Equinox sales would be if Chevy didn’t make the Captiva.

  • avatar

    I haven’t seen a Cherokee yet but women drive the sales of CUVs. So the ‘convential wisdom’ is usually the ramblings of men who want to drive Mustangs and pickups..probably doesn’t apply

  • avatar

    The Dodge Durango and JEEP GC are the best looking trucks on the market. I only wish they made an AWD Durango SRT. There’s a market that would love to have it.

  • avatar

    How’d Chrysler do it???


    #2 fill it with technology to match class leading technology.
    #3 Don’t make it cost a ridiculous amount of money.
    #4 Tell the GREENERS AND LIBERALS to go kill themselves…then you put in the most powerful, biggest and most POWERFUL engines you can.
    #5 Then put in an 8-speed transmission or a 9-speed.
    #6 ???
    #7 PROFIT!

    • 0 avatar


      Plus the security and sitting up high. I like the fact that my wife drives a four-wheel drive SUV. It’s great for winter driving. She hit a deer one time and the deer just bounced off and she kept driving. :)

    • 0 avatar

      $70K for the SRT model is insane – to get that most powerful engine you have to pay faaaaaaaaaaar out the arse. The same argument against cars like the SS come into play – you can pay $70K for something that says Jeep – or you could pay that kind of Cheddar for BMW or Porsche.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        I’d actually guess the Jeep would be the most reliable and least expensive to maintain if you kept it. Plus it’s a Jeep…plenty of cache in that name as well…

      • 0 avatar

        Fiasler’s strategy is sound… only provide that it produces not a single unit more of those $70K SRT models than the market can bear to sell at close to MSRP.

        I’d be curious to know what the actual transaction prices are; my guess is no where close to sticker, never mind Porsche levels.

        • 0 avatar

          Edmunds TrueMarket pricing puts the price of a 2013 SRT with no options at $58,159 for a vehicle with an MSRP of $61,290 and an invoice of $58,224.

          Given that it’s the previous model year, that actually doesn’t seem like a huge discount. I think the SRT is more of a “halo car” than something that’s expected to sell in big numbers.

    • 0 avatar

      4) That’s a suicide pact I haven’t heard of! The CTC’s at least 60% Democratic. While we don’t build underpowered machinery, we’re also not designing and building awful gas guzzlers. 19 MPG isn’t bad for a 4WD 8-seater (Durango).

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      “Tell the GREENERS AND LIBERALS to go kill themselves…”

      I never saw this Chrysler ad, but I bet it’s worth seeing ;)

    • 0 avatar

      God you make some idiot statements, well a lot of the time. How about the fact that they lease them for cheap as hell all the time? Ignore the high MSRPs of any Chrysler or GM product, look at the leases, dirt ass cheap. You have to be a raging moron to actually buy an American vehicle, especially without an employee discount seeing as the leases are so cheap. I swore before I left to go out of town Chrysler has a 300 C John Varvatos for under $300/month in the papers with very little down.

      • 0 avatar

        “You have to be a raging moron to actually buy an American vehicle”

        At this point right there I stopped taking you seriously and will now ignore anything else you have to say from this moment on. You can choose to do the same to me, but unlike me, you’re not “net famous” So I could care less!!!

        Have a Nice day…and don’t let me catch you on MY ROADS.

        • 0 avatar

          Aren’t you being a little harsh here? That person is expressing his/her sentiment. Opinions are like @ssholes – everybody’s got one.

          Judging from the market share of American brand vehicles, it seems to me the majority of new car buyers favor anything but the American brand vehicles.

          Up to now I thought you put out rational comments. But as far as being ‘net famous’ I have no idea who you are and have never been to any of your reviews.

          I guess that’s my loss; but your comment doesn’t do anything to endear you with the people who were part of the Mass Exodus and Great Migration away from American vehicles.

          If you want to win these people back for the American brands you should highlight the great advances the American brands have made since the collapse of 2009.

          That’s what I do. I tell everyone about the great ownership experience we are enjoying with our 2012 Grand Cherokee Overland Summit. Every bit as good as our 2008 Highlander continues to be.

      • 0 avatar

        If you look at the fine print of those lease deals, they aren’t really that great unless you are an employee and drive less than 10,000 miles a year.

  • avatar

    Wow, looking at this list, there really are a lot of SUV models. America has created so much consumer choice in this segment.

  • avatar

    I guess people really want SUV/CUVs despite all the “meh” from the car sites. Car makers must be making vehicles based on what people want to drive and buy, not what they fantasize about on the internet

  • avatar
    Sgt Beavis

    BEHOLD the power of Ron Burgundy.

    • 0 avatar

      :-) Agreed.

      No mention in the article of Ron Burgundy? I bet he is in large part to be credited with the resurgence of the Durango. Most people didn’t even know Dodge had an SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy Cain

        Oh it’s been mentioned:

      • 0 avatar

        Umm, because it is not true. Look at the sales of the Durango for every month this year, they are about the same. In fact if you are going to use numbers, Dodge sold 6200 Durangos in August and sold 5100 in October, so I could throw out the argument that Ron Burgundy drove down Durango sales. We are in the dead of winter and they still can’t match the August numbers in November which are about 5500.

  • avatar

    It would be interesting to see the breakdown between retail and fleet for these. Obviously all of the Captivas went into fleet/rental use but I’m curious how many of the 10,000 Cherokees were fleet/rental. I haven’t been to the rental car counter for a few weeks but earlier this month I hadn’t seen any yet.

  • avatar

    there are a bunch at Seattles airport rental counters

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