There are so many automakers chasing the segment, perceived to be red hot, that one is tempted to set up a keyboard macro to type out “compact crossover”. The next step in Ford’s attempt to revive the Lincoln brand is exactly one of those, the 2015 MKC.
Tag: Compact Crossovers
If you want to know why Jaguar and Lexus are introducing compact crossover concepts at the Frankfurt Auto Show this week, all you have to do is check the sales data. Crossover sales are soaring, particularly compacts. Last month, Toyota’s RAV4 was up 50% year to year, and the CR-V at Honda had its best sales month yet. Car sales in general are good in the United States right now, with overall August sales up 17%, but sales of smaller crossovers have doubled that and then some at 36%. Crossovers have gained market share for 10 straight months and now take just over a quarter of the total market, on a pace to sell about 4 million units this year. Overall crossover sales are up about 2% from last year, with compacts making most of that difference. As recently as 2007, crossovers only made up 15% of U.S. light vehicle sales. Pickup trucks are usually seen as America’s favorite vehicles, but in August crossovers outsold pickups by almost a 2 to 1 margin. (Read More…)
Ford’s outgoing Escape is neither the newest, nor the nicest compact crossover on the market, but man does it sell well. How something so relatively old and uncompetitive maintained such strong volume in the market has long been a bit of a mystery, but my theory is that the Escape offered two basic attributes that the market desires: low price and SUV looks (without SUV efficiency). And by combining Escape with Europe’s Kuga to create one global compact crossover, Ford has been forced away from those two basic attributes: Escape likely won’t be cheap with its turbocharged engines and upscale interior (though pricing hasn’t been released), and it definitely doesn’t look like an old-school SUV anymore. Will a new approach to the compact crossover segment pay off for Ford, or is this Escape too “global,” or too similar to other “cute utes” to succeed in the US market? Is this the point at which the “One Ford” ethos crashes against the rocks of America’s appreciation for boxy, rugged utilities?
Domestics rule the compact crossover segment this month, with the ageless Escape standing above the crowd (albeit without weighting for fleet sales). Again, Honda and Toyota show bigger drops than Nissan’s Rogue, reinforcing the perception that Nissan has done a remarkable job recovering from the tsunami. Intriguingly, Jeep’s Patriot is essentially flat year-over-year, while the Compass has bounced back on the strength of its redesign… but only to about the Patriot’s rate. Meanwhile, Hyundai has yet to find the disruptive success in this segment that it’s enjoying in the C- and D-sedan segments.