By on August 24, 2014

2014 Audi SQ5 blueFor the most part, their bigger and more expensive brethren sell more often. But this group of small luxury crossovers is gaining a smaller subset as we speak, one which will see the declining BMW X1 move over to its own category.

Meanwhile, the remaining contestants will be joined by the Lexus NX, a smaller, four-cylinder-only alternative to the Lexus RX. The RX is, by far and away, America’s top-selling premium brand utility vehicle. 9658 RXs were sold during the month of July 2014, or more than the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, BMW X3, and BMW X1 combined.

Like Lexus, Cadillac could make use of a smaller SRX alternative. Like the RX, the SRX is a viable competitor for these entry-level premium crossovers. SRX sales totalled 4599 units in July, a slight decrease in the midst of steady growth for the Cadillac’s most popular model.

 

Small Luxury Crossover
July
2014
July
2013
%
Change
7 mos.
2014
7 mos.
2013
%
Change
Acura RDX
 3,532 3,936 -10.3% 25,881 26,136 -1.0%
Audi Q5
3,189 3,176 0.4% 23,117 21,486 7.6%
BMW X1
1,003 2,157 -53.5% 12,314 14,226 -13.4%
BMW X3
1,565 2,099 -25.4% 23,367 16,339 43.0%
BMW X4
262 262
Infiniti QX50/EX
226 128 76.6% 1,653 953 73.5%
Land Rover LR2
335 303 10.6% 2,393 1,723 38.9%
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
888 953 -6.8% 7164 6,393 12.1%
Lincoln MKC
1,534 2,895
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
3,870 2,780 39.2% 22,508 18,526 21.5%
Porsche Macan
952 2,978
Volvo XC60
1,732 1,740 -0.5% 10,516 12,293 -14.5%
Total
 19,088
17,272  10.5%  135,048  118,075  14.4%

Added to the 3532 RDXs sold by Acura in July 2014 were 6283 MDXs. (The MDX’s base price requires a 22% jump beyond the RDX.) Although the Mercedes-Benz GLK outsold the M-Class in July, it has never done so on annual basis and is not likely to do so this year – the ML leads the GLK by 2708 units heading into August. BMW’s X5 sells slightly more often than the X3; far more often in the X3’s declining July. Infiniti’s QX50 is mostly ignored by Infiniti customers and the overall market. Land Rover sells more Range Rover Sports than Evoques and LR2s combined.

We won’t make any judgements on the Lincoln MKC as it stands now: MKC sales have only just begun, and the larger MKX is about to be replaced. But at this moment, the aging MKX is selling more often than the brand spankin’ new MKC. Similarly, the Volvo XC90 has been around for eons and will soon be replaced; the XC60 is thus far more popular. Porsche’s Macan sold once in July for every 1.6 Cayennes.

The Audi Q5 stands in contrast, as it has routinely outsold the larger (and now old) Q7 since the Q5 arrived in 2009. In July, specifically, the Q5 was more than twice as common a sale as the Q7.

This is nevertheless a growth segment within a growth sector. If crossovers are the future, particularly in the premium arena, then smaller, more affordable “luxury” crossovers will bring the future forward. The Macan won’t always be as expensive as the Cayenne; the Q5 will be joined by a Q3; the GLK will be joined by the GLA. Infiniti will maybe, perhaps, possibly, some day replace the QX50. The MKC will become a more common sight.

Even as it stands at this moment, this group of vehicles has generated a 14% year-over-year sales increase in 2014 in an industry that’s grown 5%. Subtract the trio of newcomers and the 9% rate of growth still exceeds the industry’s average.

 

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57 Comments on “Cain’s Segments, Small Luxury Crossovers: July 2014...”


  • avatar
    Truckducken

    FCA, get in the game.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      ‘Aspen’-ize the Cherokee?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @VoGo
        The new Cherokee didn’t even rate better than either the Hyundai iX35 or the Santa Fe.

        Granted both Hyundai’s are only just in front. But the Jeep is a newer and touted product.

        Is the Jeep Cherokee that good? The Grand is only good because of it’s heritage, which is German.

        http://www.drive.com.au/new-car-reviews/jeep-cherokee-sport-v-hyundai-ix35-elite-20140821-10691n.html

        Even in this shootout of 10 of the small CUVs the Jeep Cherokee comes in third place, and again is beaten by older vehicles.

        This article gives a good spread of the cheap small CUVs we have and how they are rated here.

        Twice the Jeep didn’t reach top spot. If it is to have any chance in the prestige CUV market the Cherokee will need more than just bling to attract the market.

        Maybe the Cherokee will have more luck next time as a prestige CUV.

        http://www.caradvice.com.au/295571/medium-suv-comparison-jeep-cherokee-v-mazda-cx-5-v-toyota-rav4-v-nissan-x-trail-v-ford-kuga-v-subaru-forester-v-hyundai-ix35-v-honda-cr-v-v-mitsubishi-outlander-v-kia-sportage/

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Jeep has the Compass/Patriot twins. Real 4wd and the dealers are stacking them deep and selling them cheap. The Grand Cherokee seems to work nicely with the country club/horsey/fly fishing set.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      There are rumors that FCA will bring out a NEW Grand Cherokee for model year 2016, presumably in early 2015, like they did the 2014 models in March of 2013.

      It is also rumored that uber-luxury trims above and beyond the current level of trims will be offered in both the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee 4X4.

      If this turns out to be true, then Jeep wants to play in Land Rover territory.

      • 0 avatar
        cargogh

        Good for Jeep. I hadn’t considered luxing the new Cherokee, but why not?

      • 0 avatar
        turboprius

        I wouldn’t pay 45 grand for a Jeep that’s the size of my mother’s RAV4.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          For 45K the Grand Cherokee will have a V-8 and twice the load and towing capacity. Or in language a native Georgian will understand: “It’ll haul a bass boat real fine”.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            el scotto, our 2012 Overland Summit Trail Rated 4X4 has the V6 and listed for just a shade under $50K. It is rated at 5000 pounds with the factory towing package and hitch.

            The same unit with the 5.7 listed for $56K at that time and is rated at 7500 pounds. If it had been available, I would have bought it, but it was not available.

            And my son’s SRT8, same year, went out the door for a little less than $70K at that time. It is rated at 3500 pounds.

            Jeep pricing ranges from <$30K to well over $70K these days, and they sell each and every one of them.

            I bet if they could pump out more, they would sell them too!

  • avatar
    colin42

    Wow the X4 sold 262 examples. That’s 263 more than should have every been built.

    If BMW was a food it would be the ‘Ultimate Driving Pizza’ – pick you size then add the toppings of your choice.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Almost. If your choice is “wagon,” in the US you pretty much have a choice of gluten-free crust and soy cheese (328i xDrive) or gluten-free crust and soy cheese with kale (328d xDrive).

  • avatar
    Fred

    MB must be pretty happy considering they sell the GLK for an extra $10,000 on the RDX. Then again Acura shares a lot of costs with Honda.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Yay CUVs. Even snooty ones.

  • avatar
    Turbo-4

    No mention of Buick Encore occupying 25% of this segment at around 4,000 units a month?

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Politeness suggests we wait for Norm to mention this.

      He’s killed a lot of keyboards carving his niche.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      The Buick might be a nice alternative to a Fiat 500L, but I don’t see too many people picking it over any of the vehicles listed in the article above.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        The name Buick attracts a certain clientèle and it is an image they desperately want to change.

        The Buick Enclave sells very well in my area but people driving them tend to be more financially secure and mature. Can’t say I have seen any Encores here.

  • avatar

    I think the MKC and Macan are doing quite well for being brand-new products. And I quite like the Q5 and XC60.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I think I can explain the downturn in July sales for the X3 while the YTD figures indicate a nice increase. While shopping in this category during July the heavily discounted 2014 X3’s were thin on the ground and while the modestly discounted 2015 models were already more common at the two BMW dealers I visited. Thus I suspect a supply constraint explains the July downturn. 2014 Q5’s were also thin, but the selection of 2014 MB of all models was heaviest of the 3 major Germans.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      That makes sense. I couldn’t figure out how they went from selling 5.5K in May to 1.5K in July. It’s most likely supply issues due to the model year change.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    With Subaru Outback Limiteds being offered for $37K and Foresters for $34K, I wonder where the luxury segment begins and ends.

    I test drove an X5 diesel the other day with a sticker price of $69K.

    Methinks this compact luxury SUV segment exists mostly to cushion customers with sticker shock falling from the mid-size segment.

    I just started shopping for an SUV and have sticker shock no matter what segment I look at. Even used. 2011 Toyota 4Runners for $32K. Sheesh.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Wait 37K for a Subaru and 69K for a BMW? Who is buying these?

      • 0 avatar
        alsorl

        Generic sedans sells for that cost. Why not a vehicle that offers more and a lot of people enjoy not sitting so low in a vehicle. This is not necessarily my opinion. Drive a Forester XT. That openness is what people want and the sales are showing.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Mid tier Subaru Legacy MSRPs for 24 and change and from what I understand there is some wiggled room in that price. Base Malibu, Camry, and Fusion can all be had for a little less.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Agree with you that sticker prices have gone insane across the board. But a $30,000 used 4Runner is one of the few pieces of good news out there, consider where that leaves you when you get tired of your $40,000 new 4Runner.

      It’s the $40,000 Pathfinders, Santa Fes, Explorers that boggle the mind. 5 years later that’ll be $18,000. Awful lot of money to spend to drive a rental car.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree with your thinking, but that’s a fair amount of capital one has to be able to swing (between downpayment, payments, and fuel). Still if one must have a vehicle of that type and size, its good to know there are decent models still available (unlike the tall car junk). Exceptionally poor resale says two things about a model en masse: people don’t know what they have, or people didn’t realize what they bought till later.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Logically, a $40,000 hold no longer costs enough to get terribly excited about when loan rates (and safe yields) are so low.

          Intuitively it’s an awful lot to tie up in a car, I’ve only just got done wrapping my mind around $40,000 being a Toyota instead of a Lexus and now you’re telling me it isn’t even the big Toyota?

          “Exceptionally poor resale says two things about a model en masse: people don’t know what they have, or people didn’t realize what they bought till later.”

          I like that a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I know this strategy doesn’t fit into everyone’s lifestyle, but at those prices I would just buy an I6 Jeep GC or Envoy or V8 Explorer along their respective shop manual.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        That’s my logic. For the cost of a new Buick, how many parts could I buy?

        Heck, for the new LeSabre equivalent, I could probably have mine professionally restored (mechanically, at least).

        ——————-

        But, this only works if you keep your cars a long time. I enjoy my Buick, and hope to have it for many years. Most people don’t do this, though. After 3-5 years, throw it out and get something else.

        What a shame…

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      I do agree that 34 grand is insane for a compact SUV, but think about it. The Forester has navigation, a turbocharged engine, advanced safety systems, a giant sunroof, and so on.

      Meanwhile, there’s my mom’s RAV4 Limited. FWD, four-cylinder, no bodily accessories, no Entune, no third row, no premium audio, and none of these advanced safety systems that are in the Subie. What was the sticker price for practically a base model RAV4 with a sunroof, leather seats, automatic AC, and heated seats?

      29 something. Add the Subaru’s amount of equipment, and the price isn’t pretty.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Growth in those high markup options are where record ATPs and profits are coming from, and where consumers are burying themselves.

        Sticker on the base model is up just 1500 bucks in the past 5 years. I don’t know about the Forester in particular but industry wide average incentives are down about a thousand bucks in that time. Even tacking that thousand on too you haven’t come anywhere near the rate of inflation.

        But while the base model maintained, the highest trim today stickers $5,000 more than it did then and the model mix is much more heavily loaded than it used to be.

        It’s the same at every manufacturer. The Accord LX is still $23,000. But the Touring, which didn’t exist, is $35,000. Even shitbox compacts now come in $25,000 editions with nav and LEDs and a strip of cow leather in the vinyl seat. Because awash in low interest lenders, people paying for it a month at a time, and 12 or better yet 24 extra months besides, don’t know any better.

        They’ll find out.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Prices for new “luxury cuvs” are insane. A few years ago, we got a new ex35 for 32k OTD, including an 8 year warranty. For 32k, you couldn’t beat 300hp, RWD-based AWD, leather, etc.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    A ton of people here will inevitably attempt to besmirch me for stating the following, but vehicle prices are pretty much insane across the board, and this is especially true given the trend of real wage growth (as in none to negative for many).

    At 35k purchase point a vehicle is going to suck $800 per month out of a prospective owners pocket, once depreciation, insurance, gasoline, maintenance, taxes/licensing/registration fees are factored in.

    That’s roughly 10k a year for what’s close to the average ATP for an ‘average’ CUV.

    Put another way, most people in the U.S., unlike Europe, need a vehicle, and they drive longer distances than their European (or Asian cohorts), and that 10k in post-tax income they spend yearly on their average CUV is equal to 13k to 14k is pre-tax income (federal + state + sales + other taxes = 30% to 40% of gross income in the U.S.).

    And we wonder why the majority of Americans are drowning in debt, with an overwhelming majority of even 50 something Americans having little to no savings.

    The blowback of what’s taking place now in the U.S. Is going the be extreme.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Completely agreed on your points.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        …and return my smirch gun to its holster unfired.

        The question for me isn’t whether the Soylent Green solution for old people was horrific, it’s how long could and would America continue to do it.

        I want in early before they start using Chinese drugs.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      But you’re only talking about the ATP for new cars… The average person making an average income shouldn’t be buying a brand new luxury CUV!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        At 35k, one is speaking of well optioned Hyundai Santa Fes, Kia Sorrentos, Ford Escapes, etc.

        It’s literally insane (how much price distortion has been created by a now 5 year ultra low interest rate environment).

        I, like Steve Lang, “hit ’em where they ain’t,” and as a result, source much better vehicles based in my criteria at much lower prices, which can literally be driven for 10 to 15 years with responsible maintenance.

        By the time I’ve been done with my last three vehicles, all purchased for cash and at 17% to 25% off MSRP (including my forecast for my current one, which is 9 years old and has at least 5 years left before I am likely to sell it), I pay something along the lines of $120 per month rather than $350 to $550 per month (not including gas, insurance, etc.), and the best part is that my 9 year old cars are more solid and clean than most peoples’ 4 year old vehicles.p (the ones they’re paying 3x to 4x as much as I am to drive).

        Most people are just indebted to the point that they are on the “la la la la just tell me my monthly payment because So handle my finances like I am in a Rent-A-Center” plan, and they’ve given up.

        And they pay a very heavy financial price as a result.

        • 0 avatar
          turboprius

          Because you mention him, what happened to Steve? Activity is still normal at his dealership, which I pass on a regular basis. The last time I e-mailed him was around the time he wrote his last post here.

          I really like reading his older posts especially, not only because they’re good in general, but because he basically writes about my area. Most of the pictures he takes are of locations near me, his lot is close by, and I’ve actually talked to him about stuff near here.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          DW, Santa Fes and Sorrentos are very popular in the West and downright numerous on California highways and byways.

          My former son-in-law in California had a Santa Fe and traded it for a new Sorrento not too long ago.

          He picked up my 16-yo grand daughter with the new Sorrento and took her to California for vacation earlier this summer.

          The new Sorrento is very nice! I was impressed! Reasonably priced, too, I understand.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          It’s a car, people. I went to the nearest city (Billings, MT) a couple of weeks ago. We took my 1995 Buick. On the way back, I passed a CLA with new dealer tags. The driver was a 20 something woman.

          I thought for the next few minutes: “What benefit is she getting? I am doing 75 as is she, I have Air Conditioning, a nice sound system, and comfortable seats. I don’t have infotainment through a smart phone, but I could buy one heck of a car stereo system for less than $30,000.”

          I don’t get it. She’s probably just leased a car for $300-400 per month at least. After a few years, she’ll have nothing.

          Or, she is making $700/month payments on it. My Buick was $700 cash. I could buy my car once a month with her budget. She’d have one Mercedes at the end. I would own 60 Buick LeSabres. Which would last longer?

          I think I’ll keep my Buick. If I need to blow a big sum of money, I’ll go and buy 59 more LeSabres. And build a really, really big parking lot.

          • 0 avatar
            mikedt

            Not to be insulting or anything, but if you can’t figure out why someone would want a Mercedes over a $700 20 year old Buick, I have to wonder why you even bother reading a car enthusiast website.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            To each his own. I went through a stage, where I bought, and traded, four cars, and a truck, spread over a five year period.

            Up here in Canada 35K doesn’t buy you that much. I’m still reeling over the deprecation money, I ate.

            I come out of it with two cars, and zero debt.

            At my age, and stage in life, zero debt, means a lot more to me than any vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            @mikedt That’s hyperbole to make a point.

            I drive two cars mostly- that Buick and an Audi A6 Avant. I could have five of my Audi’s for the cost of the CLA. Or enough money for parts ;-)

            ————————-

            If you want a luxury car, wait a year or two. We had a family friend who bought a Chrysler that was one year old, with 11,000 miles. She saved a bunch.

            40k may get you a decent new car. It could get you a much, much, much nicer used or CPO car.

            If you have to show off your money or credit, I wouldn’t go for the CLA. A two year old BMW 3-series or 5-series would be my choice.

            Or 53 LeSabres. Or 5 Audis.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I don’t understand the willingness of consumers to convert a purchase they can’t afford into payments they can just barely afford spread out over many years. Seems to me that living month-to-month locks you in for a lot of unnecessary stress each month.

      Taking on extra debt to buy something as perishable as luxury CUV seems foolish. Either buy a utilitarian non-luxury CUV or buy a luxury car with some some inherent performance and prestige unavailable in lesser brands. For example, I get paying extra to get a BMW sedan with RWD performance and styling proportions because non-luxury RWD sedans are no longer available except for the Charger. I don’t get paying luxury car money for a poorly proportioned minivan equipped with the plausible deniability of hinged doors and a sloping rear hatch.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    No Cadillac SRX?

    The Lincoln MKC makes the list but the small Acura and the Caddy doesn’t?

  • avatar
    bd2

    The RX has benefited from being the only CUV in the Lexus lineup and being a “midsize” (due tot styling, more of a tweener) for the price of a compact.

    The addition of the NX and a larger 3-row CUV should cut down on RX sales some, but with a growth in overall Lexus CUV sales.

    Cadillac really needs to get on expanding its CUV lineup.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    So little credit to Acura for winning the segment.

    I guess that would interfere with the typical “Acura sux ever since they eliminated the Integra” and “The beak is so ugly” memes.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The Q5 just turns me off. It takes the dated styling from the Q7 (which was lookin good back in 08) and shrinks it, which depletes any visual presence.

    And I can’t believe how many RDX’s they’re selling – good job Acura. Seems like I don’t see them much on the road. And I NEVER see the original version, with the messed up inefficient turbo engine.

    I was up close and personal with a Macan at an auto concours a couple months ago, and it didn’t look impressive at all. The door chrome trim was misaligned, and it was very small inside.

    Just yesterday I was up close and personal with a new QX50. There’s no way that thing has any more ground clearance than my M, and it looked cramped and sorta dated overall (which I guess it is pretty old now). The interior didn’t appear very luxurious, especially the texture on the leather. Since it was a showroom model they were offering a special deal, $42,000 black/black.

    EDIT: QX50 has .2″ more ground clearance

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