By on January 16, 2015

luxury suv market share by brand 2014Curious 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.

Lexus RX350No 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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30 Comments on “Lexus Tops 2014’s U.S. Luxury SUV/Crossover Race With 137,000 Sales...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Out of all the “premium” CUV/SUVs I like the Lexus RX the least. Maybe because I’ve never seen a guy drive one

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have, they are either sad looking folks or elderly gentlemen who probably stopped caring to what other people thought.

      My dentist’s wife is expecting this week as he told me yesterday and a car will be in the future. The conversation went something as follows:

      “Doc, Lex”
      “What, the hatchback one, R-?”
      “No, no, not the women’s car. The 4-Runner one, GX. Still made in Japan.”
      “Which one is that”
      “The one which can replace your truck and still be used as a family ride”
      “Yeah, but what about mileage? We were looking to downsize.”
      “Any real car or truck is going to suck on mileage.”
      “That’s true”
      “If you had too, trade both your rides for toward the Lex and pickup a used Prius”
      “Prius? Yuck”

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        So, which one is Doc getting? The “Lady-Lex” or the GX?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          All real Lex SUV’s have LX on the back ;).

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You’re starting to wander into “compensating” territory with the LX. GX is fine

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Or the Lexus, LX, four and a half
            Bulletproof glass tints if I want some…”

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “Blast me first, ask questions last. That’s how most of these so-called gangsters passed.”

            I love that song, and the original by Herb Alpert as well.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I haven’t been in a Lexus in almost a decade but I kinda want one so I can blast some Biggy Smalls.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m a huge fan of that 300E Cabrio they were driving in the video. Bright red over white leather. Mmm. Always loved that style.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          No decision. Right now he has a post MY2010 Frontier which he hates as quote “I won’t buy a Nissan again, at least not after 2010. So many problems, so cheaply made” (he had an ’07 Frontier previously). The wife has an Hummer H3 but I am unsure of the model year (which apparently is well liked by both). My thought to him was dump the Nissan for sure, buy the Lex GX for wifey, and either keep the H3 for himself, or then dump it for something “fuel efficient” for himself. This guy is financially prudent though and in debt up to his eyeballs so maybe nothing comes of it, an H3 is sufficient for one child. But I’m sure wifey wants to feel “special” after delivering their child so who knows.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I thought dentists were all well-off and had money to blow! If those are his two current cars, maybe a USED GX is in order – one without the Predator maw.

            @lie

            I prefer the LX because I’ve always liked the Land Cruiser, and feel they continued the original gen1 GX far too long. The interior is very outdated on that thing. The only GX I’d have is the 10-12(?) ones without Predator face. I find them hideous now.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I think he’ll be surprised, the GX is rated 15/20mpg compared to the H3 14/18mpg. Not bad for a big V8 Truck

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            This guy got screwed, his predecessor sold him his forty one year old practice (which physically in an addition to his home) and planned to lease the space in the addition, but the borough *forced* him to buy the whole house for the zoning to not change (which screwed them both up as his predecessor Doc A. didn’t want to move). I figure the practice was at least half a million if not a million, and the four bedroom house in the expensive part of Hampton was probably at least 750K.

            Used GX makes no sense due to high resale, he’d be better just dumping his truck and riding out the wife’s H3.

            @L2M

            That’s a good point, and ironically the some of the I4 CUVs only do six or seven miles better on average in city driving don’t they.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So because the office changed ownership he had to buy the whole thing? There’s no grandfather zoning from whatever time period it was built in?

            I would have cancelled the sale, or negotiated a lower price with the doc. Or move the office anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @CoreyDL I’m going to guess that the office didn’t meet the standards of a legal rental unit. Owners have more leeway than landlords.

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        A relative of mine (a semi-retired dentist) drives a very masculine G37 sedan in black, his first Infiniti after a string of Acuras dating back to the Legend. His wife drives a white RX.

        We discussed his next move at length last time I saw him; he doesn’t want another G, but nor does he want a second crossover. Cadillacs are out too.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Not very fair (IMO) to combine Jaguar and LR into one group. Two small volume brands, one of which ONLY has luxury SUV’s, and the other which has none. Is this just because they have the same owner?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Yeah, they have the same owner, and they see themselves basically as one company. (http://www.jaguarlandrover.com/gl/en/) And telling you that 100% of the Land Rovers sold in America are SUVs/crossovers kind of seems, well, obvious. At least as obvious as, at the moment, telling you 0% of the Jaguars sold are SUVs/crossovers. JLR has seen its U.S. car sales slow and its SUV sales rise. That’s pertinent.

      Also, the pair have a curious sale-swapping history in keeping with the subject of the article. https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-jaguar-vs-land-rover/

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    If Volvo and Acura are on the list, why isn’t Buick?

  • avatar
    ect

    “We correctly believe that much of the growth in the luxury vehicle sector over the coming half-decade will be in the CUV category”

    With all due respect, we do not yet “correctly” believe that. We might “currently” believe it.

  • avatar
    bd2

    The RX sells b/c it has the same recipe as the ES – a larger model at a cheaper price (due to being based on a FWD platform).

    Essentially, why Acura has been so successful and now dependent on CUV sales and why Lincoln sees CUVs as its main driver of growth.

    Also why Buick has been doing well and should continue to do so with the addition of the Envision CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      As for Cadillac, they are basically doing it with one CUV (and one at the end of its lifecycle), the SRX, but helped by booming sales of the new Escalade.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        I can’t decide if this reflects well on Cadillac’s -UV business, or poorly on its cars.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Cadillac does well in the mid-price segment with the CTS and XTS.

          At the moment, they have no flagship(s) sedans or a sub-entry level (tho arguably, they messed up with the ATS by making it too small so it actually competes more with the likes of the CLA and A3 in interior room), much less 4-door coupes.

          But even if Cadillac expands their car lineup, their CUV/SUV sales should also climb as the SRX is replaced and new CUV models are added.

  • avatar
    RHD

    So, if I read the graph correctly, about a week or so ago Porsche became a company that mostly sells SUVs and CUVs, and to a lesser extent, sports cars.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Man that RX stinks. I wish the always correct invisible hand of the marketplace would do something about it…

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Too many upper-middle class soccer-moms.

      Don’t really see the RX in the real pricey neighborhoods (“lowest” CUV/SUV tends to be the X5).

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Stupid broken sarcasm font! I drive my wife’s RX several times a week and especially enjoy it on road trips. It’s pretty excellent over re freezing slush too. And I’m a manly man who has (almost certainly) outgrown seducing your woman just for doubting me.

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