Lexus Tops 2014's U.S. Luxury SUV/Crossover Race With 137,000 Sales
Curious fact: America’s two best-selling premium brands and one of the two fastest-growing premium brands are the three premium brands which rely the least upon SUVs and crossovers in the U.S. market.
We correctly believe that much of the growth in the luxury vehicle sector over the coming half-decade will be in the CUV category, but there’s no denying that the major players established productive, popular, profit-generating passenger car lineups many years ago.
• Most new crossovers introduced in 2014 were “premium”
• Majority of Jaguar-Land Rover, Acura, Lincoln sales come from utilities
• Porsche and Cadillac generate half their U.S. volume with utilities
SUVs and crossovers are assisting these brands – BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi – in finding new avenues for growth, but their car divisions are large volume tools.
The same can’t be said for many of the mid-tier and low-volume luxury brands. Cars accomplish very little for Acura and Jaguar-Land Rover, generate only half of Cadillac’s volume, and produce only 45% of Lincoln sales.
Six of 2014’s seven new utility vehicle nameplates were introduced by luxury auto brands. Lincoln brought us the MKC, Porsche the Macan, Mercedes-Benz the GLA. Audi began selling the Q3 in August. Lexus introduced the NX at the end of the year. BMW’s X4 arrived mid-summer. All six are on the compact side, if not smaller.
But it’s the larger premium utility vehicles which continue to put up the biggest U.S. numbers. The Lexus RX will outsell the NX, the MDX outsells the RDX at Acura, BMW sells more X5s than X3s or X1s, the Mercedes-Benz ML easily outsells the GLK, just as a few examples.
But these newer, smaller crossovers provided a boost to utility vehicle volume that was already rising.
No premium auto brand sells more SUVs and crossovers than Lexus, which saw its SUV/CUV sales rose 14% to 137,154 in 2014. While the NX contributed 2927 extra sales at the end of the year, the RX – America’s best-selling luxury SUV/crossover – generated 78% of Lexus’ utility vehicle volume.
With the GLA throwing in another 6884 sales, Mercedes-Benz’s five-pronged SUV/crossover lineup jumped 11% to 118,297 in 2014. Acura sold 110,468 MDXs and RDXs in 2014 plus 78 copies of the ZDX, enough for a 13% year-over-year improvement. BMW’s new X4 added 2709 sales to BMW’s SAV volume in the latter half of 2014, helping the brand’s utility vehicles rise 8% to 110,268. Rounding out the top five premium SUV sellers in 2014 was Cadillac. A new Escalade lineup powered Cadillac’s utility vehicle family to a 9% gain and 84,047 sales in 2014.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.
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