GM's Big Crossovers Vs. GM's Big SUVs

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

General Motors has sold 189,354 copies of its big Lambda-platform crossovers in the United States this year. Combined sales of the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia have risen by a scant 137 units through the first nine months of 2014.

GM’s six full-size, body-on-frame, pickup-based SUVs, on the other hand, have collectively increased their U.S. volume by 22%, a gain of 32,652 sales, to 183,080 units in total.

These nine nameplates have generated 17% of GM’s 2.2 million year-to-date sales.

Examining each nameplate individually reveals multiple storylines wrapped inside the hefty numbers.

Enclave sales reached record highs in 2013, and 2014’s 1% decrease, if it holds, should still translate to the nameplate’s second-best year in the model’s eight-year history.

The Traverse hasn’t been around as long – 2014 will be its sixth full year on the market – but it’s the highest-volume Lambda product, accounting for 42% of the trio’s sales. Traverse volume has risen 6% this year to 79,560 units through nine months. Year end volume should reach a three-year high but it’s unlikely the Traverse will match its 2011 record-high levels.

Like the Enclave, the Acadia also produced best-ever sales in 2013, but 2014 sales are down 5.3%. Year end volume should top 80,000 units for the just the second time since the Acadia went on sale in late 2006.

Among the fresh-faced, truck-based SUVs in GM’s portfolio, long-wheelbase variants account for 37% of the sextuplet’s year-to-date volume. The Tahoe and Suburban are the two volume leaders, with 70,528 and 38,588 sales in 2014’s first nine months. These big SUVs aren’t quite as readily available as the big crossovers, which all possess abundant inventory. The Escalade and Escalade ESV, in particular, are rather rare, with just 25 days of supply as of the beginning of October.

So, Lambda wins the family fight? Not so fast. While through nine months the crossover trio has outsold the GMT900/K2XX family, that wasn’t the case in July and August, and they outsold the big SUVs by only 225 units in September. Third-quarter sales of the Escalade, Escalade ESV, Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, and Yukon XL shot up to 72,216 units. The Acadia, Enclave, and Traverse managed 65,989 third-quarter sales.

Timothy Cain
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  • Plee Plee on Oct 30, 2014

    The driver's seat and the steering column do not line up in all GM large pickup trucks and Suv's. This has been true for many years. The gauges also do not line up with the center of the seat but are offset so that they appear to be in the middle of the steering wheel. The right side of the steering wheel is further away from the dashboard than the left side. Weird. Doesn't this bother any of you owners? It makes for a strange driving position. Sure enough the 14 models suffer from the same poor design. Hard to imagine why this could not have been addressed with the redesign.

    • Kyree Kyree on Oct 30, 2014

      Yes, this is a complaint that I've seen several times and...after driving a new Tahoe recently, I concur. The steering wheel is pushed noticeably toward the center of the car, probably to create a more car-like cabin and give people that insulated, driving-a-tank feeling that they seem to love. I, OTOH, think it's stupid...

  • Carilloskis Carilloskis on Oct 30, 2014

    Hummer they still offered the z71 through 2014 as an option pkg iinstead of its own trim a guy i work with has a 2013 Tahoe z71 the 15s are coming but without fender flares for some wierd reason and the rubber isnt as good as what came on my GMT 800 z71, and the first few years of the 800 you could get a trim level called Base that had painted bumpers ( they where a dark grey) and vinal seats crank up windows and no AC i think they stoped those around the 2003 refresh for the most part except of large fleets, where i work has a GMT 900 3/4 suburban in a simlar configuration as a fleet only option its got lower cloth than the LS suburbans do. and no window tint with steel wheels and a rubber floor. I see that many fleets never upgraded past the 800s especially the federal ones, i still see the feds driving around in black 3/4 ton 800s i guess since they no longer make a 3/4 ton the feds will just keep those ones around for a while, I also see the rail roads using the 800s a cre vehicles some have the ability to drive on the tracks but those have to be getting up there in age as well. The boarder patrol lifted their 900s and put diffrent bumpers on them when they replaced their stock 400s so yes their is alot of lost capability, which is why DHS swithced to buying the cheaper Ford Raptor.

  • Duke Woolworth Weight 4800# as I recall.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X '19 Nissan Frontier @78000 miles has been oil changes ( eng/ diffs/ tranny/ transfer). Still on original brakes and second set of tires.
  • ChristianWimmer I have a 2018 Mercedes A250 with almost 80,000 km on the clock and a vintage ‘89 Mercedes 500SL R129 with almost 300,000 km.The A250 has had zero issues but the yearly servicing costs are typically expensive from this brand - as expected. Basic yearly service costs around 400 Euros whereas a more comprehensive servicing with new brake pads, spark plugs plus TÜV etc. is in the 1000+ Euro region.The 500SL servicing costs were expensive when it was serviced at a Benz dealer, but they won’t touch this classic anymore. I have it serviced by a mechanic from another Benz dealership who also owns an R129 300SL-24 and he’ll do basic maintenance on it for a mere 150 Euros. I only drive the 500SL about 2000 km a year so running costs are low although the fuel costs are insane here. The 500SL has had two previous owners with full service history. It’s been a reliable car according to the records. The roof folding mechanism needs so adjusting and oiling from time to time but that’s normal.
  • Theflyersfan I wonder how many people recalled these after watching EuroCrash. There's someone one street over that has a similar yellow one of these, and you can tell he loves that car. It was just a tough sell - too expensive, way too heavy, zero passenger space, limited cargo bed, but for a chunk of the population, looked awesome. This was always meant to be a one and done car. Hopefully some are still running 20 years from now so we have a "remember when?" moment with them.
  • Lorenzo A friend bought one of these new. Six months later he traded it in for a Chrysler PT Cruiser. He already had a 1998 Corvette, so I thought he just wanted more passenger space. It turned out someone broke into the SSR and stole $1500 of tools, without even breaking the lock. He figured nobody breaks into a PT Cruiser, but he had a custom trunk lock installed.