Mid-Size SUV Sales Dead in the Water

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
mid size suv sales dead in the water

Despite the recent arrival of a Tahoe Hybrid (I’m on it), a Chevy Avalanche and whatever the Cadillac version of same is called in my daughters’ PC school parking lot, the death of the full-size SUV has been well-documented and publicized. Less well known: the mid-size SUV is even deaderer (sorry Andrew). Ward’s Dealer Business tells the tale: “SUV sales took a 39.3% plunge, going from 1.91 million units in 2007 to 1.16 million in 2008. Middle SUVs was the biggest segment loser, with sales sinking 45% in 2008. By comparison, midsize cross/utility vehicle sales were off 6.8%. ‘People are moving out of the midsize-SUV market completely and going to CUVs,’ says Matt Traylen, senior director for Automotive Lease Guide. ‘What people don’t want now is anything with ‘SUV’ in the name.'” Thank Got BMW called the honking great X5 and X6 “Sports Activity Vehicles.” And how’s this for a piercing glimpse into the obvious: “They don’t go up mountains or off-roading. They take their kids to school and go to the grocery store,” Matt says. “A lot of people are waking up and asking, ‘Why did I buy this vehicle?’” And then saying “Now what?”

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4 of 24 comments
  • Richard Chen Richard Chen on Jan 09, 2009

    @TEW: If you don't tow jack (like me), why buy more car or truck than you need? A not-so-stripped, 19mpg (real-world) 8 passenger Sienna similar to the one in our garage is $24k. Dual power sliders make loading/discharging the little kids. Bench seat fits 3 kids in the 2nd row, LATCHed if need be. Ours is usually configured as such with the entire cargo bay ready to pile kids stuff into. A smaller minivan is a doable squeeze but then our Mazda5 has little cargo room with 5 on board. And what happened to minivans sized in between? Dead in the US market, except for the SWB Kia Sedona which is just as thirsty as the LWB varaint.

  • Davey49 Davey49 on Jan 09, 2009

    For most people CUV= Crossover= SUV, only car geeks notice a difference. I think the full size SUV will come back before the mid size will.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Jan 09, 2009

    CUVs (which I assume are unibody SUVs) are a good choice for urban cowboys like me, who outnumber real men by at least 3 to 1. Our new Santa Fe pulls our camper like a Kenworth, it plows through 3-foot snow drifts like a Sherman tank, and it burns about as much gas on the highway as our old 4-cylinder Altima did. It is also cheap to insure, and after one year of hard use it has yet to generate a single complaint or warranty claim. How do you argue with that?

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jan 10, 2009

    I suppose the full size SUV's are still being sold to those who need them, while a lot of the Tahoe types were more of a luxury buy? Seems logical enough. People worried about the economy, remember the recent gas prices (they will forget soon though), and likely remember the dive in SUV values. No point in a CUV unless it gets better mileage. In fact, in my opinion, the mileage won't likely cover the increased depreciation that the CUV's will eventually see. SUV's hold their value for several reasons, and on of them is the body on frame construction which lasts as long as you are willing to keep it running.