By on March 12, 2014

TTAC_luxury-crossover-sales-chart-February-2014

A strong start to 2014 has the BMW X3 leading its segment even as it’s challenged more closely in BMW showrooms by the slightly smaller and less expensive X1.

X1 sales in February jumped 57% to 2329 units, only 318 units shy of what BMW USA managed in January and February of 2013 combined. More direct competition for the X1 is set to arrive soon in the form of the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3.

At this time, however, potential X1 buyers look across the BMW showroom floor and wonder why they wouldn’t pay a bit more for the X3. Over the last two months, 62% of the X1/X3 juggernaut’s sales have been X3-derived, up just a hair from last year’s 61%.

The X3 outsold Acura’s much less costly RDX by 390 units in February. The RDX is wildly popular, but like the X3, it’s not among the quartet of top-selling premium utility vehicle nameplates in America.

That group begins with the Lexus RX, a viable alternative to these entry-level crossovers, particularly as Lexus doesn’t yet offer a production version of the LF-NX Concept. Likewise, the Cadillac SRX would be seen by many to be Detroit’s rival for the X3, RDX, Q5, and GLK, at least until Lincoln’s MKC arrives. The third-ranked premium SUV/CUV nameplate in America is the Acura MDX; it’s followed by the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Although they don’t lead the way for premium automakers, for many buyers these entry points to the brands’ crossover lineups form the entry point to the brand, full stop. Forget the CLA, A3, and 2-Series; passenger cars with trunks that they are. Growth from these luxury crossovers is significant, especially when one considers that America’s new vehicle market hasn’t grown at all in 2014. The RDX, Q5, X1, X3, QX50, LR2, and GLK have all sold more often over the last two months than during the first two months of 2013.

The Audi Q5’s slight February decline was the first such decrease for the Q5 since October 2012. Q5 volume has improved each year since the model arrived in 2009. Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque is certainly small enough to be displayed here, although its base price might place it out of reach for a typical Acura RDX customer. Evoque sales are down 5% this year; February volume slid by 54 units. (The Range Rover Sport generated two-thirds of Land Rover’s U.S. February volume.)

Volvo’s XC60 is, not unlike the Volvo brand which it helps to lead, struggling in the United States. Like the Q5, XC60 sales have improved each year since it arrived in 2009, but 2014’s inauspicious start is not terribly surprising given the brand’s recent struggles to attract large numbers of American buyers.

Nevertheless, the story of small luxury crossovers is not told with an emphasis on irregular year-over-year decreases. The RDX, X1, X3, QX50, LR2, and GLK jointly rose 26% in February 2014. Those were not at all the sorts of figures commonly achieved by automakers last month.

Auto
Feb.
2014
Feb.
2013
%
Change
2 mos.
2014
2 mos.
2013
%
Change
Acura RDX
2911 2795 + 4.2% 5641 5284 + 6.8%
Audi Q5
2643 2753 - 4.0% 5417 5097 + 6.3%
BMW X1
2329 1482 + 57.2% 3661 2647 + 38.3%
BMW X3
3301 2175 + 51.8% 6000 4180 + 43.5%
Infiniti QX50/EX
220 150 + 46.7% 417 318 + 31.1%
Land Rover LR2
358 273 + 31.1% 721 573 + 25.8%
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
927 981 - 5.5% 1806 1910 - 5.4%
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
2624 2420 + 8.4% 4926 4816 + 2.3%
Volvo XC60
1146 1496 - 23.4% 2088 3062 - 31.8%
Total
16,459
14,525 + 13.3% 30,677 27,887 + 10.0%
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31 Comments on “Cain’s Segments: Luxury Crossovers...”


  • avatar

    #1 FORBES repeatedly lists the E350 and Rx at the top of the “best selling luxury cars”.

    #2 Glad to see Cadillac up there.

    #3 I guess TESLA doesn’t sell in high enough numbers to make this list despite their consumer ratings.

    #4 The Lincoln MKX??? Really? I guess a lot of people are retiring.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      I don’t think Tesla gives out monthly sales figures and even if they do calling the Model S a luxury “Crossover” is stretching it despite the availability of the two seats in the trunk.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        bigtrucks just wanted to vent his so called righteous infliction of retribution manifested upon an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      A certain type of luxury buyer wants value and the ES and RX offer a (FWD-based) midsize sedan and CUV for the price of a compact luxury sedan and CUV.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Funny I see a fair amount of Volvo SUVs around Houston, but few Audis Just the opposite of the statistics.

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      Me too and I live in Germantown TN. But a lot of the ones i see are older models and i know Volvo sold a lot of XC90s and XC60s in the past. I have an XC90 so i’m pretty observant of other Luxury SUVs.

  • avatar
    qest

    I would say Buick is as luxury as Acura is, no?

    Plus, I hear they have unbelievable fuel economy when modified. ;P

    • 0 avatar

      Acura charges $60,000 for an underpowered car that has a vegetarian “Star Trek” insignia on it…

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      If there are Acuras and an MKX on the list, there should also be a Buicks – all three are direct competitors in the “entry-level luxury” segment.

      Not including it here is arbitrary and capricious, and I say that as a die-hard Honda/Acura fan.

      For those interested: the Buick Enclave would be fourth on this list, as it’s JUST outselling the brand-new MDX, 8,828 to 8,804.

      The Buick Encore is the first combatant in the upcoming “minilux” CUV battle, and regardless of its humble roots, no conversation of luxury CUVs is complete without it. Its 5,444 YTD sales would slot between the RDX and Q5.

      That’s right: BUICKS are going toe-to-toe with Acura and Audi’s hottest models, at least in sales numbers. Not bad for a brand that was ostensibly only saved because of China.

      • 0 avatar
        mjz

        Agreed, Buick should be included. The little Encore is definitely a chick mobile. Have NEVER seen a male behind the wheel of one.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I would say that the Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, Buick Enclave, Lincoln MKT and Dodge Durango Citadel are all direct competitors.

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        I have been seeing a TON of the new 2014 Enclaves and the 2014 MDXs where i live, Lexus RX as well.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Same here, although while the MDX is all-new for MY2014, the Enclave had what could be considered an extensive-refresh for MY2013. For some reason, GM did not choose to update the Lambda vehicles with the new Global-A electronics architecture (which practically every other GM car has). All of this is just to say that the 2014 Enclave isn’t really new at all. But it’s still competitive.

          • 0 avatar
            Carfan94

            Yeah, i meant to say the facelifted MY2013 Enclave not 2014. I forgot it was refreshed 2013 not 2014.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      If you’re just going by price, then Buick has a model or two in the same price range as the others. OTOH, Buick hasn’t been a luxury or prestige make since the ’50s.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I know that this would take a bit more work, but I would be interested in seeing 12-month running totals, in addition to the monthly and YTD figures.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Running 12-mo totals are far better than YTD. Since the YTD time keeps changing, it doesn’t give you a consistent, meaningful figure. (If something is in the YTD lead after two months is a very different thing due to small sample size compared to leading after 10 mo.)

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Had no idea the SRX sold this well. I would have thought a lot further down the ranks.

    It seems the MDX, SRX, and RX carry their respective brands. If you moved the sales to zero on any of them – it wouldn’t be pretty for their brands.

    A bit surprised Lincoln sells as many MKX as they do.

    Oh, and if anyone from product marketing is reading this from any of these companies. There is a word, it’s called differentiation. You’re all obsessed with the letter X and it makes this whole thing flippin’ confusing.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      This shows how regional car sales are. RXs are ubiquitous here. I don’t know when the last time is that I saw a current SRX, although there are plenty of Yukon Denalis and Escalades.

      • 0 avatar
        sckid213

        I’m in Los Angeles and see TONS of SRXs here, from the beach cities to Hollywood to the Valley. There are two on my small block alone. They are usually accompanied by a German midsize sedan. My parents live in Carlsbad, in north San Diego, and I see tons of SRXs there as well. RX still rules the roads, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        My next door Neighbors just bought an SRX, But i don’t see a whole lot of them where i live. RXs are ubiquitous here, and i want want one so i can understand why its at the top of the sales chart and has been for a long time.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I thought about whether to write this for a day, but here goes: I’m shocked that the SRX sells as well as it does.

          It has three things going for it. 1st, it is fairly reliable. 2nd, the interior is well finished. 3rd, it’s fairly quite inside te vehicle at speed.

          As for just about everything else, well, it’s either a pig or lacking.

          It sucks fuel down for such a small (if portly) vehicle. It rides like shit, especially over anything less than ideal roads. It is ridiculously expensive, especially since it’s a heavier, better finished Equinox. It literally leans when turning. And it doesn’t have very good traction on poor road surfaces (at least on stock rubber).

          Now, many of these same things could be claimed of the Audi Q5, and some others up there on that list, but the SRX is expensive and sells in relatively large quantities.

          Did I mention that it’s ugly?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      There is a market for FWD-based luxury CUVs as you essentially get a mid-sized CUV for the price of a compact RWD CUVs.

      That’s the reason why Acura does so well with its CUVs and why Acura, Lincoln and Lexus see their major growth coming from sales of FWD-based CUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      I think one reason the RX is SOOOO ubiquitous is that it’s been a top seller for so long and they seem to stay on the road a long time. I see lots of new ones, but also see lots of the RX300′s looking to be well kept.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    No way Buick belongs on this list, its models have names. Everything else has letters, or letters and numbers, except the Land Rover model, but that’s British, or Indian, or whatever. If Buick wants to get on the list, it has to put an ‘X’ in the name, like ten of the models listed. OTOH, if a Land Rover model is on the list, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT should be on too. It’s got letters, a V8, and a premium price to match the others.

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    The main reason for the decline of Q5 sales in February was availability. Our dealership had none to sell and neither did most Audi dealers in Florida. We have since recieved two truckloads which are already half sold. A quick check of the Audi locator shows that most incoming Q5′s are pre-sold. Not a bad problem to have.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Yeah, the Enclave belongs in this chart, but I don’t think the Encore really does. I keep saying that the Encore is the perfect car for my mother in law (she drives an 04 LeSabre now) although I don’t think we’ll get her away from the “bigger is better” idea on cars. Her father drove nothing but large GM wagons or Chrysler products.


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