U.S. sales of SUVs and crossovers jumped 14 percent in July 2015, a year-over-year improvement equal to more than 67,000 extra sales compared with July 2014.
As a result, just under 36 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s volume was produced by utility vehicles in July 2015, a three-percentage-point increase over the same period one year ago.
Passenger car volume, meanwhile, slid 3 percent last month, a drop of around 18,000 sales as the overall market grew by more than 5 percent, or 75,000 units.
Strengthened by new nameplates which only barely fit the already loose definition of an SUV/crossover/CUV – vehicles like the Honda HR-V and Fiat 500X – the utility vehicle sector’s share of the market has increased, on a month-to-month basis, in six of the last twelve months. While this suggests that the upward trend is gradual, recent gains are clearly more rapid.
As recently as March, for example, “only” 33 percent of the new vehicles sold in the United States were SUVs and crossovers, on par with figures from last summer and below the level of last November, January, and February.
July’s quick rise to 36 percent didn’t occur simply as a result of new nameplates, of course. 16 of the 20 most popular utility vehicles in America in July posted year-over-year improvements, including ab0ve-average increases from the Nissan Rogue, Ford Explorer, Jeep Wrangler, Chevrolet Traverse, Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Acadia, Ford Edge, and Jeep Patriot.