By on September 14, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Grande sliding doors - Image: Chevrolet, FCA, The Truth About CarsWould a minivan with all-wheel drive, added ground clearance, and wheel arch cladding ever stand a chance of being called an SUV?

It’s not so far-fetched. There was a time when the Subaru Outback was perceived as nothing more than a wagon, but times changed.

What about the other way around: does the Chevrolet Tahoe Grande’s sliding doors necessitate a minivan designation for America’s top-selling full-size SUV? In other words, is a full-size SUV with sliding doors no longer an SUV?  (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2017

2018 Nissan Armada - Image: NissanThe 2018 Nissan Armada will be priced at $46,795, including destination, when it goes on sale Friday, September 1st; a $700 increase compared with 2016.

While that price increase would have been enough for the Nissan Armada to maintain its position as America’s least costly body-on-frame, full-size SUV, the sudden appearance of the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom has altered the playing field.

Competitors, not just Nissan but Toyota and Ford as well, didn’t need to give the class-leading Chevrolet even more capacity to dominate the category. But now the best seller is also the bargain of the bunch, and by a noticeable margin. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom - Image: ChevroletGeneral Motors announced today the September 2017 arrival of the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom, priced from $44,995, including destination fees. That represents a $3,750 price cut for what will now become the base Tahoe, down from the 2018 Tahoe LS’s $48,745 MSRP.

GM says the 2018 Tahoe Custom is a response both to “strong consumer demand for Tahoe,” and to the “full-size SUV segment moving upmarket.”

Therefore, there’ll be no cooled seats here. No adaptive cruise. No head-up display.

No third row of seating. Gasp. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2017

2018 ford expedition fx4, Image: Ford Motor Co.

You’ll have to shell out a fair bit of extra cash to get into a 2018 Ford Expedition, as the completely redesigned full-size SUV now carries an entry price above the $50,000 marker. Ford has to pay for that aluminum body, you know.

Of course, buyers aren’t just receiving a lighter body and long-overdue styling update. More standard features and considerably more power comes as part of the package, as well as the return of an off-road package that disappeared as an option years ago. As buyers move up the trim scale, they’ll soon discover the price gap between 2017 and 2018 Expedition models only grows larger. (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Midnight EditionAmerica’s auto industry has now reported year-over-year sales declines in three consecutive months. The size of the market was 3.5 percent smaller in the August-October period of 2016 than during the same stretch in 2015.

Yet during the same period, U.S. sales of General Motors’ six full-size SUVs jumped 39 percent, a rate of success that throws pie in the face of an industry that’s now fading.

In October, however, the market’s fade became much more apparent. Industry-wide sales slid 6 percent, year-over-year, the worst monthly downturn since the recession. Yet at the same time, General Motors reported a 59-percent surge in full-size SUV volume worth nearly 12,000 additional sales. (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2016

2018 Buick Expansion full-size SUV rendering, Image: © 2016 Matt Posky/The Truth About Cars

11.3 percent of the new vehicles sold by General Motors in the United States in September 2016 were full-size, body-on-frame, truck-based SUVs.

The Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL combined for 28,172 total sales in September 2016, a 45-percent year-over-year increase worth nearly 9,000 more sales.

September marked the second consecutive month — and just the tenth month in the last five years — that GM produced more than one out of every ten of its U.S. sales with full-size SUVs. Not since November 2011 has GM produced such a hefty portion of its sales with large SUVs.

So why can’t Buick have one? (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2016

Plymouth_TrailDusterY_YearUnknown

In October, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne addressed a group of automotive analysts, where he was quoted as follows.

“We have a unique opportunity with renewal of the [Ram] pickup line, with the powertrains we selected, to significantly increase output. We will also be exploring, as a result of that investment, some other segments.”

Speculation related to a full-size Ram 1500-based SUV has been swirling ever since. And there is no denying the allure of $10,000 per unit margins. But what is the business case?

In short, it looks promising.

(Read More…)

By on February 10, 2016

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe silver

U.S. sales of utility vehicles increased 16 percent last year. Amidst the modest decrease in volume reported by the industry in January 2016, U.S. sales of SUVs and crossovers jumped by more than 6 percent.

Yet even with drivers enjoying truly low fuel prices, we have not seen a return to the days of full-size, truck-based, body-on-frame SUV dominance in the modern SUV/crossover sector. In fact, U.S. sales of the 10 full-size SUVs which use full-size pickup truck platforms as a foundation collectively declined 2 percent as America’s auto industry soared to record highs in 2015.

And 2016 begins similarly. Two Chevrolets, two GMC, two Cadillacs, and individual nameplates from Ford, Lincoln, Nissan, and Cadillac tumbled 9 percent in January. (Read More…)

By on August 18, 2015

TTAC COTD GM full-size SUV sales chart July 2015

There were six new full-size SUVs from General Motors. Ford refreshed the Expedition. Lincoln did the same with their upmarket Expedition, the Navigator.

The year was 2014, and U.S. sales of Detroit’s biggest, baddest, full-size SUVs were booming, relative to the recent past. (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2015

2015 GMC Yukon XL SLTSales of full-size, body-on-frame, pickup truck-based SUVs from volume brands are up 58% through the first two months of 2015.

The Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia produced 41,557 sales in January and February, or about the same number as the Toyota RAV4, America’s second-best-selling SUV/CUV. RAV4 sales are up 25%, year-over-year. (Read More…)

By on January 14, 2015

2015 GMC Yukon DenaliOver the last decade, General Motors observed a dramatic reduction in full-size SUV sales. GMC Yukon U.S. sales volume, for instance, fell 52% from 86,571 in 2004 to 41,569 in 2014.

Yet these vehicles remain relevant in the U.S. automotive landscape. GM, the best-selling manufacturer in the U.S., generated 8.7% of its volume with six full-size SUV nameplates in 2014, up from 7.7% in 2013. At this point, they’re not vehicles built exclusively for the rich and famous, the Secret Service, owners of big boats and RVs, and families with five children.


• USD Base Price: $67,965
• Horsepower: 420 @ 5600 rpm
• Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
• Observed Fuel Economy: 12.7 mpg


How well would one version fare when GM Canada sent a CAD $84,695 copy for a one-week stay to a family with one child, no security team, no Jayco, no riches, and no fame? Quite well. But the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali did a better job of making the case for another GM vehicle than it did for itself.

(Read More…)

By on September 11, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe whiteGM’s market share in the full-size, truck-based SUV segment grew to 82.9% in August 2014 as the company’s four candidates grabbed the four top spots in the category. Not unpredictably, Ford Expedition sales declined as we approach the arrival of a revamped 2015 Expedition with EcoBoost V6 power, further enabling GM’s quest for world domination.

Or American domination. Domination in a specific vehicle category. In a category which, while expanding in comparison to the recent past, simply doesn’t amount to what it once did.

That’s not to say GM’s four full-size Chevy and GMC SUVs form a low-volume quartet. The Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, and Yukon XL were responsible for 8.1% of the volume generated by America’s largest seller of new vehicles in August. (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe silverU.S. sales of General Motors passenger cars slid 3.8% in July 2014. This 3348-unit loss was created in large part by the Chevrolet Cruze’s 4521-unit decline and the Impala’s 3279-unit slide, decreases which were not completely offset by smaller gains from the Malibu, Sonic, Camaro, Corvette, and Buick’s LaCrosse.

Despite a 5.5% boost in July volume from the GMC Sierra, GM pickup truck sales slid 1.6% as Silverado volume remained level and the company lost 1907 pickup sales from nameplates which are either defunct or have not yet returned.

Yet overall GM sales grew at pace with the market’s fast 9% clip in July. How?

Commercial vans, that’s how.

Yes, really.

But only in part. (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2014

Senator Bob Corker

Though no word yet has come down from Volkswagen on where the confirmed seven-passenger SUV for the U.S. market will be assembled, U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee says that decision would come “in the very near future.”

(Read More…)

By on April 28, 2014

092112_WEB_a_VW_Sign_t618

After backing out from its appeal over results of the February 2014 organization election at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, the United Auto Workers is considering options to organize the plant, just as Volkswagen itself is considering several options outside of Tennessee for its new SUV.

(Read More…)

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