By on March 19, 2015

2015 GMC Yukon XL SLTSales of full-size, body-on-frame, pickup truck-based SUVs from volume brands are up 58% through the first two months of 2015.

The Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia produced 41,557 sales in January and February, or about the same number as the Toyota RAV4, America’s second-best-selling SUV/CUV. RAV4 sales are up 25%, year-over-year.

Part of the reason for the large SUV segment’s impressive uptick relates to early 2014’s severe downturn. With GM’s new quartet still in the on-deck circle, sales of these same seven SUVs tumbled 17% in the first two months of last year.

GM SUV/truck sales chartNevertheless, the category is on track to easily top the 300,000-unit mark in 2015 for the first time since 2008, when 13% of the segment’s sales were generated by discontinued (Aspen, Borrego) or totally altered (unibody Durango) participants.

But even with vastly improved volume, these big brutes continue to operate in a far-flung corner of the industry. From a market share perspective, they combined to bring in only 1.7% of all new vehicle sales in the first two months of 2015. That’s way up from the 1.2% they achieved at this time last year, but it’s down slightly from the 1.8% mustered in calendar year 2014. It’s on par with 2013 year-end results, up from the 1.6% share they collected in 2012, and less than half the market share they collected a decade ago, in 2005.

Auto
Feb. 2015
Feb. 2014
% Change
2 mos. 2015
2 mos. 2014
% Change
Chevrolet Suburban
4,436 2,035 118% 8,566 3,740 129%
Chevrolet Tahoe
7,410 4,961 49.4% 14,017 8,475 65.4%
Ford Expedition
3,277 2,830 15.8% 5,737 4,969 15.5%
GMC Yukon
2,796 1,949 43.5% 5,445 3,236 68.3%
GMC Yukon XL
2,048 1,110 84.5% 4,013 1,975 103%
Nissan Armada
990 1,099 -9.9% 2,019 2,128 -5.1%
Toyota Sequoia
856 980 -12.7% 1,760 1,767 -0.4%
Total
21,813
14,964 45.8% 41,557 26,290 58.1%

Moreover, 2005’s 4.1% share marked a sharp drop from the 5.1% achieved one year earlier and the 5.3% figure from 2003.

Times have most definitely changed. There is a huge amount of competition from luxury-branded three-row crossovers with similar price tags, an image that contains a certain degree of wastefulness (regardless of whether the owners are poseurs or RV haulers), and a greater tendency to view crew cab pickup trucks as the more appropriate all-around vehicle.

Does that mean GM is unhappy with adding 32,041 Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, and Yukon XL sales (and another 5141 Escalade and Escalade ESV sales) to the 109,279 Silverado and Sierra sales they managed in the first two months of 2015? Most definitely not.

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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124 Comments on “Cain’s Segments: Full-Size SUV Sales In America – February 2015 YTD...”


  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I still can’t believe the price of these things new. I wonder how many of these fall into to 72-84 month or longer financing cohort? I see a lot of trucks around here driven by people I know and I wonder how they can afford to pay for them. This is a free country and people are free to chose what they want to drive, and I don’t care either way. But I don’t think I could sleep at night pulling the trigger on $45-55K truck, especially knowing some of these people are making less than $50k a year. Maybe it is different with these full size SUVs, perhaps a totally different demographic.

    • 0 avatar
      johnhowington

      if only the minivan had that drug dealer sparkle, because it is certainly infinitely more practical.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        @johnhowington – Minivans are great if you never need to tow more than 3K.

        • 0 avatar
          johnhowington

          cant think that i’ve ever seen a Tahoe or Suburban that wasnt already 10+ years old towing ANYTHING.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Do you live in NYC? Never been to a boat ramp? Horse race? Youth racing league? State fair?

            One of the first 2015 Tahoe’s I saw was at a small backwoods gas/LP/petro repair/sales shop with a rusty hitch in the back. Parked right beside the GMT900 Tahoe and various trucks aging as far back as the 80s.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            @johnhowington – You really must not get out much. Go to any boat landing, campground or hotel parking lot in the UP of Michigan during the winter. Or an event where there are acres of enclosed racing trailers parked. Noticed what all those trailers are hooked to. Not minivans, I’ll tell you that.

            You can’t even buy one of the these things without a factory receiver hitch. In fact when we bought our ’07 Tahoe I’m not sure there was single one on the lot that didn’t have the towing package. What does that tell you?

            Our ‘Hoe handles close to 8K pounds of SeaRay cruiser pretty respectfully. Let’s see you do that with a minivan.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Like your choice in boats – and tow rig.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          And never need to go where ground clearance can be an issue….

          Aside from the Sienna, there are no awd vans, either, which can be limiting for many.

          From what I’ve been told, the tall grill of half ton pickups (and presumably the full size SUVs based on them), handle deerstrikes much better than lower nosed vans and passenger cars.

    • 0 avatar

      At least for the GM BOF SUVs, $44-48K is the price of entry. Any decently-equipped model is going to be at least $54K or so. If you can forego the beefy BOF construction, $48K gets you a very nice Highlander, Durango or Explorer…or even a luxury crossover like an MDX or QX60.

      Of course, lots of people buy the big SUVs for their tax-break benefits, which can make them much cheaper in the long run than their less-capable brethren.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I don’t think the current line-up of GM BoF SUVs have any tax break?
        They did just reinstate one tax break but that only affects vehicles with a GVWR over 8500lbs which I don’t believe GM any longer sells now that the 2500 suburban is out.

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          Any vehicle with a gvwr over 600 poundsdelivered to your business you can immediately deduct $25,000 and then as long as the miles are for business.. Standard deduction and depreciation schedule sooo… That $92,000 Cadillac escalade platinum ESV is now a $52,000 vehicle after the deduction and the customary $15,000 for walking in the door.

          • 0 avatar

            That’s the gist of it. If the vehicle has a gross weight rating of over 6000 lbs—meaning that it can carry its own weight plus the weight of its occupants/cargo even if that combined weight is over 6000 lbs—and is used for business at least 50% of the time, you can deduct up to $25,000 times the percentage of business use. So if you bought a $60,000 Tahoe LTZ, and used it for business 90% of the time, you could write off $22,500, or 90% of that $25,000 allowance. And up until this year, there was 50% bonus depreciation for new vehicles, which you could also write off. But it’s not just large BOF vehicles that qualify. The Audi Q7, BMW X5/X6 and Porsche Cayenne all qualify…and I think that even GM’s own Lambda crossovers might meet the requirements.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Hmm, didn’t realize the credit went with vehicles that light now, it’s unfortunate none of them appeal to me…

          • 0 avatar

            Ironically, the tax break is known as the “Hummer Loophole”, because that’s what people started using it for.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            That’s actually why I thought it was 8500 GVWR, my deuces have a 8,600 GVWR.

            And that is the tax credit they had when introduced, I don’t believe the 6k credit existed at that time.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            We shouldn’t be subsidizing vehicles like this in any way. If you need it for your business that should be your expense, not mine as a taxpayer.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            We no longer have a business so we wouldn’t be able to write it off anyhow, but regardless the same can be said about Hybrids. It makes more sense to incentivize these trucks and SUVs since its government regulations that have hurt them anyhow. Not to mention these actually have uses in the field, and can perform in conditions that would destroy other vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            ….We shouldn’t be subsidizing vehicles like this in any way. If you need it for your business that should be your expense, not mine as a taxpayer….

            I agree…mostly. The idea was to help businesses buy bucket trucks and the like and for that purpose I’m good with it. However, far too many times this break is used to buy a passenger vehicle and said vehicle is often driven by the drywall contractor’s wife and kids….that’s where I object. Maybe the rule needs to be rewritten to expressly exclude vehicles that have more than front seats….

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Let’s get rid of the mortgage interest deduction while we’re at it. No more government subsidized housing for the middle and upper classes

          • 0 avatar
            baggins

            Its a deduction, not a credit. So the savings is 25K times the buyers marginal tax rate.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            baggins, every little bit helps.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I like how you describe “decently-equipped” as something you have to pay up for, when in reality even a “base mode” Tahoe LS has enough bells and whistles to make the average Cadillac owner c. 1975 green with envy.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The price is designed to suppress demand. Fullsize BoF SUV’s will not be CAFE compliant for long. Even the Suburban and Yukon XL will struggle to meet the regulations. Maybe CAFE will change, but the damage will already be done. The manufacturers and the market will be conditioned to extraordinary transaction prices.

      Personally, I like the idea of SUV’s being status symbols for the landed gentry.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        TW5, what makes you think they won’t be CAFE compliant? Or what makes you think people won’t pay for them anyway.

        • 0 avatar

          Exactly. I think it’s just a case of GM literally being able to get away with charging luxury-car prices for a basic large SUV. Even the lowliest Tahoe LS probably carries a five-figure profit margin for GM when it’s all said and done, let alone what they earn on a $72K Yukon Denali. It’s not like they’re any less populous than they were when they were more-reasonably priced.

          • 0 avatar
            FordMan_48126

            Well said, sir. You are correct; regardless of manufacture, profit margin for these vehicles for popular brands is in the 15 to 20k range. For luxury brands, cab be double that amount. So even at 1.5 to 1.8 % total new vehicle market share, making these types of vehicles is like printing money.

            However, not a rats deal for the people whom buy them. Even if they are not business owners, the resale and longevity of them make it a fair deal for the consumers.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          @Poncho

          Calculate vehicle footprint and look at the regulations. A Tahoe isn’t going to achieve 26mpg combined. Suburban and Yukon could probably hit their marks, but unlike fullsize pickups, the manufacturers can’t spread development costs over 5M vehicles per model-run.

          So fullsize BoF SUVs become decadent luxury goods for the inauspicious estate-owning class.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Or they could just jack the GVWR over 8,500 lbs and the problems would be solved. The H2 was shorter than a tahoe, but add a bit over 1 ton payload capacity and the Tahoe is good.

            Without looking now I’m pretty sure the Tahoe already has a combined over 20MPG a couple more MPGs while hard isn’t impossible.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            CAFE can’t kill any vehicle the public demands (lots of). If they don’t meet the CAFE schedule, they pay fines in the millions. But unless that changes to billions, no one cares. You’re talking about 120 bucks penalty for each highly profitable, mega dollar truck.

          • 0 avatar
            FordMan_48126

            @ tws – yes, yes they do exactly that. A Tahoe/suburban uses so much of the same parts (or lightly modified versions of them, like slight differences in the frames between the pickup and SUV) . You name it – same engines, transmissions, IP’s, HVAC systems, electrical…. I could go on and on. That is the secret to their success….massive profits for little incremental effort or cost. Money in the bank.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        There’s no CAFE problem. #CylinderDeactivation #WeightReduction #StartStopSystems

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        TW5 – CAFE is footprint based. A Suburban has the same footprint as a Silverado and IIRC are in the same MPG/Emissions class.

  • avatar
    ATLOffroad

    A family member of mine purchased a 2015 Suburban. She traded in a 2010 GMC Acadia yet 99% of the time she drives by herself and never leaves the road. I just don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar

      They’re comfortable, well-equipped and behave nicely on the road. I bought an older Tahoe 2 months ago and TOTALLY get it.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        Budda-Boom. I’m with you.
        I had never driven anything newer/bigger than a 96 Yukon GT until I drove a friends rental Escalade. I TOTALLY got it after that.

        If GM built attractive 4 door sedans and coupes with the same comfort/size and general roadability of the newest Escalade, well, I think they’d have some nice sales from them. Bring back the B-bodys, 70’s A-body, and 80’s G body update them appropriately and print money.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        That’s old GM, they always built the best balanced full sized monster vehicles on the road, with an options list and pricing that trumped their nearest competitor, Chrysler. That’s part of what has befallen GM: their specialty fell out of favor and they were forced to look for profits in the smaller offerings they always built to cover all the niches, but never mastered.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “I just don’t get it.”

      She used her money to purchase what she wanted.

      That’s all that needs to be said but I’ll add that this is something we all do unless you’re one of those rare birds who only purchases exactly what they need.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      I’ll bet you “get” the Hellcat even though nobody really needs one. Some people like big, versatile vehicles even though they don’t need them.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I could just as easily say I know a guy who just bought a 911, but he never drives above 65mph. Point is, just because one likes/buys a vehicle does not mean one needs to use 100% of it’s capability at all times.

        A Suburban is spacious, comfortable, refined, capable has a big V8, low range 4×4, and a commanding view of the road. Fuel economy is no worse than a sports car or large luxury sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Buy what you like. A Tahoe is a remarkably versatile vehicle. Ironically the hybrid version made a real improvement in mileage yet the bigger is better crowd rejected it. More of a mentality thing than anything else.

  • avatar
    mictdxxx

    My theory on this is that some people simply figure they will have a car payment the rest of their lives that every two, three or four years they will trade in their vehicle. So having that 7-8 year loan isn’t that big of a deal as long as they can afford the monthly payment.

  • avatar

    Around here you see lots of older ones in the school parking lot, not so much in the hood any more. The depreciation on these beasts has to be criminal

  • avatar

    I’m curious why the Lincoln Navigator isn’t on this list. It definitely counts as one.

    I suspect many of the sales are to limo/car services. The Suburban and Escalade seem to have taken over for the Town Car as the new “black car” car.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    All I ever wonder about these beasts is what the break even sales points are for them. How many must be sold per model year to pay for product development and (for most of them) minimal marketing?

    In the back of my head I nearly always expect them to be killed with each new model cycle.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      Since they’re fundamentally based on the volume kings Silverado/Sierra, I’d assume it’s rather minimal compared to its non-pickup-based competition.

      Plus, without the Escalade, would Cadillac make any sense at all?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        It has been my understanding that because of wheelbase the frames were unique… but I’m sure someone here can either confirm or deny that.

        I would also hope that the suspensions are not exactly the same as the trucks because there is a difference between hauling landscaping materials and hauling 49% of the 19 Kids and Counting clan.

        • 0 avatar

          Not exclusively due to differing wheelbases, the frames are different between the SUVs and the pickups. They do share enough parts that they save GM money and of course are on the same platform. Suspension is also different between the pickups and the SUVs. The pickups use leaf springs in the rear versus the independent rear suspension on the SUVs. That’s one reason the Avalanche was a nice compromise for some people. You got the Suburban’s frame and suspension (and body panels and interior), but with a pickup bed.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Leaf springs on the truck, coil springs on the SUVs. They still have a live axle in the back, while Ford went to a true IRS for the Navigator/Expedition way back in 2003.

          • 0 avatar

            Oh, I thought the new ones had IRS. Too bad…

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            When the original Avalanche came out, its interior, and that of the Suburban/Tahoe, were pretty much identical.

            This was 1 year after Ford came out with the SuperCrew F-150. I really don’t know why Chevy thought they had to spend more money on all that plastic cladding when they could have just taken an existing crew cab and put it on an extended cab frame, shortening the bed to compensate (especially since that’s what they ended up doing in 2004 anyway).

          • 0 avatar

            So you’re saying that at the time the Avalanche came out, it actually served as the “Crew Cab” Silverado, since there wasn’t one? I didn’t know that either. I do remember those original SuperCrew F-150s because you actually got a “SuperCrew” badge on the tailgate.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Kyree, the Suburban was the basis for the Avalanche. But the Suburban shares many parts and components with the Silverado trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            @Kyree: Exactly. Here’s a timeline, because I just like making timelines:

            2000: Nissan Frontier crew cab, the first less-than-3/4-ton crew cab pickup sold in the US (except for a few 1/2-ton IH Travelettes back in the ’60s, but we don’t need to talk about those). Makes some waves among lifestyle truck buyers, but anyone over 5′ complains about the legroom. Ford engineers, having snuck into the release party, hurriedly scribble some figures on cocktail napkins and introduce…

            2001: The Ford F-150 SuperCrew, the first 1/2-ton crew cab pickup. Same WB and OAL as the popular SuperCab, but with 1′ more cab, 1′ less box and tailgate off a Flareside. Instant success.

            2002: Scrambling to come up with something competitive, Chevy’s engineers decide not to convert an extended cab Silverado, but instead bestow upon an unwitting public a plastic-clad Suburban with the back windows cut out they call the Avalanche. Nobody’s sure exactly why, especially since they end up making the conventional Silverado crew cab anyway 2 years later. But it’s a truck from GM in the early 2000s and there’s nothing really *wrong* with it aside from awful rear visibility, so it’s also a success. The 2500 version (8100 FTW) has the dubious distinction of having the shortest bed of any 3/4-ton truck ever.

            Also 2002: Dodge introduces their brand-new Ram 1500s with rear-opening doors on the Quad Cab, hoping no one will notice that the cab only has about 3″ more length than a Ford or Chevy extended cab, and they took those 3″ out of the bed. Everybody does, but says nothing. Dodge wouldn’t have a real crew cab until 2009 (Mega Cab notwithstanding).

          • 0 avatar
            That guy

            Call me crazy, but I was a huge fan of the second generation Sport Trac. It drove nicer than any other truck out there. It had just enough bed for some random crap that I haul and V 8 versions were capable tow rigs. I secretly wish I would have bought a nice CPO in 2011 instead of my Grand Cherokee (which has been a fantastic vehicle in its own right).

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            You’re not crazy. The second-gen Sport Trac rode better than any other midsize truck because it had IRS. The first-gen had a live axle because underneath all the Explorer sheet metal it was pretty much the crew cab Ranger we never got in the US. Same 126″ WB as a SuperCab Ranger and everything.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Glad to see the kneejerk upswing in sales (driven by cheap gas one has to assume). In a few years when gas picks back up, the opposite kneejerk reaction of dumping these BOF beasts on trade will hopefully flood the market with reasonably priced, capable vehicles. I’d love to get a basic SR5 Sequoia down the line, I’m confident I’ll have a trailer full of dual sports/atvs to haul (along with children and dogs).

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I like the Sequoia the best of all these, as well. Can’t see why it doesn’t sell better.

      Seriously consider getting one of the new Eurovans for hauling toys, though. They’re just better suited for it, unless your toys wight more than 4000 combined. Everywhere I turn, these days, there are speed limits, lane limits etc., etc., targeted at vehicles that are towing. As well as for “proper truck sized” GVWR vehicles. Both of which the Sprinter et all skirts around.

      In addition, while none/(soon almost none) of the vans have 4wd; with 4000lb of toys over the rear axle, they still go anywhere a 4wd tow vehicle with a passive axle 2500lb trailer+4000lb toy load can go.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “I like the Sequoia the best of all these, as well. Can’t see why it doesn’t sell better.”

        The price of the Tundra and the Buy American campaign and bowel-movement.

        I am compelled to add my two cents here because my Tundra ownership experience has been excellent. Much better than my Silverado and my F150 ownership experience, combined!!!

        I like my 2011 Tundra 5.7 well enough to be trading it for a 2016 Tundra Limited 5.7 4-door 4×4 at the end of this year, and it will most likely be the last pickup truck I’ll buy during my lifetime.

        I like the Toyota brand well enough that I also own a 2008 Highlander, a 2015 Sequoia, and my little 1989 Camry V6 hot-rod sedan I bought for $1 from my best bud.

        Still waiting for my first bad experience with a Toyota product.

        I had the rest. Now I only drive the best.

        Oh! What a feelin’. Toyota!

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Unfortunately, I think half of the current volume is being sold in the Detroit Metro area. They are rather common vehicles in the land of the family and friend discount. I recently had the displeasure of driving a brand new GMC Sierra. If the ride and experience is anything like the GM full sized SUV’s, I have a difficult time understanding how anyone would willfully drive these if they did not have a “regular” “need” to own one. i.e. hauling, towing, etc.

    Notice the quotation marks, hauling a 2×4 from Home Depot once a year does not count in my book. I cant wait for regulations to phase them out of existence.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “I cant wait for regulations to phase them out of existence.”

      This makes me sad. Can you not wait for autonomous vehicles either or the ban on private ownership of automobiles altogether?

      I personally don’t care particularly for the newest GM BOF SUVs, (the rear packaging is awful), nor do I care very much for their stereotypical buyers and their driving habits. But I do appreciate that we have vehicles on the market that can very competently fulfill a niche, however narrow (hold a family+stuff and tow at the same time).

    • 0 avatar
      olivebranch2006

      Regulations should phase out polluters. IF these beasts can be made lighter, with diesels, and other fuel savings techniques… The cost of the fuel efficient tech will price these vehicles higher but I don’t think law makers should outlaw them just because you don’t understand them and like to limit other peoples choices.
      I have to haul around:
      myself
      Wife
      4 kids
      dogs
      hay
      feed
      chickens
      enclosed trailer
      costco
      lumber
      appliances

      And yes, when I’m not hauling any of that I zip around in my smaller Tacoma. Do you understand a family’s needs with this vehicle now after I’ve spelled it out for you?

      To answer your question ride and handling is very different than the truck counterpart: It’s smoother.

      What do you drive? Regulations affect all of us and great caution should be used when imposing your viewpoints on others. What happened to moderation in this country? Compromise? Understanding? Communication?

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @olivebranch

        For each person driving one of these things with a family or stuff to tow, it seems five others PPP up being driven exclusively by a 5’2″ woman, solo.

        This garbage should require a special license and a business need to own and operate.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Who cares how it’s being used, it’s not your money, it doesn’t affect you, though its a good thing your own beliefs only tear you up, while the rest of us enjoy what we want.
          Why can’t a small female drive one, are they incapable of your kind of intelligence? Incapable of driving without their husbands? Incapable of operating a business?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      You gotta keep in mind what the average Sierra owner had before the new one: An old Sierra, and before that, a K1500. Compared to those, it’s a firm car. And no, the SUV ride and experience is nothing like the pickups, AFAICT. It’s even better–more like an old B-body, but not as wallowy.

      And @olivebranch2006: They were all lost when 9/11 happened and “neoconservativism or death” was the common cry.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      “I have a difficult time understanding how anyone would willfully drive these”
      “I cant wait for regulations to phase them out of existence.”

      So basically if you don’t understand something then it is bad. Science called… Guess you burned the phone?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      YES! We really need the government to step in and tell us what we can buy. They should just outlaw every vehicle that isnt what you drive (prius or leaf?). After that, they can go ahead and ban red meat (hell, ALL meat), ice cream and candy. Next, ICE lawnmowers, plastic, desk top computers and carpet. Anything else you can think of that we need to ban to make this country the strict communist utopia you wish for? Better hurry and get your list together before B.O. is Audi 5000.

      Where would all of us idiotic people be without a government overlord to tell us how we are supposed to live, what to buy and what to eat? Oh, yeah, thats right: FREE!

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        Yes, emissions and environmental responsibility = communism.

        Don’t you have an NRA rally to attend, or church service or something?

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I’d give you a +1 but just because someone is religious, conservative and/or supports gun rights doesn’t mean they’re environmentally ignorant or irresponsible. They’re more likely to be, but not guaranteed. So, +.5, I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          What’s wrong with NRA rallies or church services? With modern emissions equipment, one of these new Tahoes is polluting a lot less than some crunchy granola dude’s oil burning Volvo (maintaining your car is giving into materialism), or even whatever cool old classic cars you might enjoy. In fact an old car without a catalytic converter is probably polluting more than a whole fleet of Tahoes, CO2 concerns excepted but the only CO2 I care about is the hot air coming out of politicians.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            This isn’t a question of new Tahoe vs. old Volvo. It’s a question of new Tahoe vs. new minivan.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            New Tahoe gets 18 mpg combined, Grand Caravan gets 20 mpg combined. You lose sleep to the point of wanting to enact regulations on what people can buy, over some insignificant difference in fuel economy, in a small segment of overall US vehicle sales?

            I think the real underlying reason here is plain old jealousy. You see some blonde trophy wife in a new $60k Yukon and you hate her. You see the same woman in a $30k Caravan and you think nothing of it.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            To answer the question, no, I don’t lose sleep over it. Your reasoning that it’s jealousy is also faulty, but I don’t think you’d believe me anyway.

            Just in case anyone thinks I’m on “their” side: I’m not. This whole argument seems to have taken two extremes, and I’m caught in the middle. My politics may be center-right, but I’ll never call myself conservative because every conservative just seems to be angry at everything all the time.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          tuffjuff

          “Yes, emissions and environmental responsibility = communism”

          To point out the obvious………….

          China is communist and has very poor environmental stewardship.

          BTW, since when does the size of one’s vehicle mean environmental irresponsibility?
          That’s like saying a guy with a big dick is less sexually responsible than…….. well……..
          Why not deride everyone for driving any kind of vehicle?

  • avatar
    thelaine

    “I cant wait for regulations to phase them out of existence.”

    And so goes the Nation, under the yoke of those who know better.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Yep.

      If you like the idea of everyone running around in nothing but 1.3L diesel hatchbacks, please move to Europe and leave us and our gas guzzlers alone.

      I’m all for having more of those small and crazy efficient cars here in the US, but there’s nothing contradictory about having access to large vehicles as well. Live and let live!

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    When we do the DC or Manhattan tourist thing a few days each summer, I’m always amazed that GM has enough capacity to build enough of these things to sell anywhere else.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      A very large number of them go to the US government’s various branches, departments and agencies, every year.

      We just sold the 2013 Suburban that my wife’s dad used to drive before he and his wife moved back to Germany. We didn’t even advertise or list it, just word of mouth.

      First caller, sold! And for days after the sale took place, we still kept getting calls from people wanting to buy it.

      The demand for these behemoths is astonishing. And people don’t mind paying full pop.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        Thank god. How else would you pay cash for that Sequoia?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          tuffjuff, I didn’t have to pay for the Sequoia. The business bought it in Sept 2014 for my wife as her daily driver.

          And the 2013 Suburban was also bought by the business for when my wife’s dad still lived and worked in Cloudcroft, NM, and used it as his daily driver.

          Owning a business gives a wide latitude when it comes to buying or leasing vehicles.

          He and his wife moved back to Germany in January 2015, along with one of her sisters and her (Dutch/American) husband.

          He asked us to sell a lot of stuff they left behind here, including Oxygen concentrators, cars, trucks, trailers, the whole kit and kaboodle.

          By the end of 2015, we hope to have dissolved the business and extricated ourselves from the rental portion of it, except for the homes we own.

          A lot of work to do, to get to that point. That’s why I’m home now to wait for the people who are picking up the stuff they bought from us.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    How do the Expedition vs MAX numbers break out?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    People can buy whatever they want, but I just don’t understand the appeal of these things for 98% of buyers.

    They’re bigger outside but smaller inside (the SWB versions are tiny inside!) than dedicated people-carrier vehicles; they have awful packaging. They’re not as comfortable, refined, or nicely constructed as similarly priced unibody vehicles. They’re compromised off-road by their sheer size. It seems to me like they don’t do anything except tow particularly well.

    How many people really carry 6+ people and tow heavy trailers at the same time often enough to make owning a vehicle that can do so well, but is compromised in most other respects, the right decision?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Sometimes the appeal has nothing to do with logic. Sometimes it is all about an individual’s preference for a vehicle of substance, presence, heft, mass and size.

      Regardless of motivation, the demand for these, both new and used, is insatiable.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      It’s simply a lot nicer in many peoples’ opinion to waft around in a tall and boxy Tahoe, small block burbling away serenely, than it is to drive an amoeba-like dedicated people carrier. I agree with the packaging inefficiency 100%, the third row in a Tahoe is simply horrid. I’ve made the point before that my old Mazda MPV (one of the old 4wd ones with longitudinal engines and solid rear axles) sat 7 people much more comfortably, and it was no longer or taller, and actually a good deal narrower. It’s worth mentioning that it lacked a separate frame, instead utilizing XJ Cherokee-style integrated frame rails.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        The Secret Service, Diplomatic Protection Service, Border Patrol, GSA and other Federal, State and Municipal Motor Pools don’t seem to have any problem with the packaging inefficiency of either the Tahoe or the Suburban.

        And most of them pack these babies with a boat-load equipment AND a full load of people and canines when they roll.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          highdesertcat, try spending 2 hours in the third row of a Tahoe then get back to me :) In fact even the second row legroom isn’t really much to write home about, the captains chairs themselves are too firm. These are all impressions from a rental LT I was in with 4 coworkers on a day trip out to a vendor. Your family’s Sequoia and Ford’s Expedition win big time in third row comfort thanks to their IRS setups,

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The Tahoe is 14″ shorter than the Suburban — sacrifices had to be made behind the rear doors.

            And I always thought that the Tahoe/Yukon was considered a mid-size SUV, and that the Suburban/Yukon XL was defined as a full-size SUV.

            But I could be wrong because definitions change constantly. It used to be that a Corolla was a Compact sedan, but now it is a mid-size, and the Camry is a full-size, when you go to rent one at Hertz, Enterprise, etc. Both too cramped for me.

            The 4X4 Tahoe that my son uses for his Border Patrol Supervisor vehicle does not have a third row of seats. It’s all cargo area behind the second row of seats.

            Those could be Special Order for the gov’t though. Just like other vehicles ordered and built for the government.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            No the Suburban and Expedition EL are simply the ‘extended length fullsizers,’ midsize is a 4Runner and what used to be the BOF Pathfinder, Explorer, Trailblazer. Tahoe’s width and weight sets it apart from something like a 4Runner IMO.

            On an unrelated note, I’d just like to say that as time goes on, the old GMT400 generation of Tahoes/Suburbans are looking better and better to me. They look positively utilitarian these days, and have held up well for their now advanced age. Blocky styling, steel bumpers, simple and serviceable drivetrains.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Thanks, learned something today although I’ll never buy another GM product for the rest of my life.

            About the longevity of the Suburban type vehicles, my father-in-law kept his 1973 Suburban 4×4 with the 454 and THM400 all the way up to 2013 when he bought that Suburban 2wd LTZ.

            He though the 2013 was dog! And said so.

            But he (I) had run out of rebuilding options on his 1973. The last time I rebuilt the 454 I went .030 over and they just don’t sell rebuilt 454s any more. People who have them rebuilt them until they hit the water jacket.

            Plus the body of the 1973 was FUBAR and ultimately that was the deciding factor.

            He got his money’s worth out of the 1973.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I love the GMT400 trucks’ styling and dimensions. Unfortunately, both exterior and interior build quality are terrible. But if I had millions part of my dream fleet might be a heavily customized restomod-ish GMT400 pickup (not SUV).

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I’m actually pleasantly surprised how well the Suburbans and Tahoes tend to resist rust on body panels, while the poor GMT400 trucks lost their cab corners a long time ago. I think the one real sore spot on the GMT400 SUVs are the optional ‘barn doors,’ the bottoms of which rot out. Interiors yeah, it’d be quite a shock to the system to get out of my 4Runner and into a mid 1990s GM. But the front seats are wide cushy thrones compared to the too-sporty and too small buckets in my Toyota.

          • 0 avatar
            Carilloskis

            Thats why you get the standard Wheel base Suburban not the shorter Tahoe, just because more people buy the shorter tahoe doesn’t mean it was the origin vehicle the suburban came out in 1935 the Tahoe in 1995 and the Tahoe didn’t have a third row till 2000, when GM started screwing up packaging on their SUVs favoring soccer moms vs families that needed a truck. My parents had a 95 them a 99 until 2013 when my sister hit an elk. I had a 05 from 08-2011 when i got my raptor and the back seat of the 05 suburban i could not fit behind the drivers seat, but I can on my raptor super cab. the 99 gmt 400 all three rows had plenty of leg room for 8 people 4 of witch where over 6′ tall

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The ones full of guys with guns are all Suburbans. The Tahoes usually have perps or dogs in the back seat.

          gtemnykh is right: both second and third rows in SWB GM BOF SUVs are pretty miserable. The LWB ones are quite a bit more comfortable, but then the vehicle becomes Nimitz-sized on the outside. Ford does a much better job of this thanks to its IRS. Even the live-axle Sequoia is better.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Sequoia is IRS now in its supersized second generation, and is king of packaging efficiency in the ‘regular length’ fullsize SUV world, the cargo and passenger numbers don’t lie. Not sure how the Armada stacks up space wise, it too is IRS.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            We’re very happy with our 2015 Sequoia 4X4. It’s still a truck, but so much better than my father-in-law’s 2013 Suburban we sold when he moved back to Germany.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            dal20402 – since Ford killed the Crown Vic 4×2 and 4×4 Tahoe’s and Suburbans have become the preferred vehicle of the RCMP in my region.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “I love the GMT400 trucks’ styling and dimensions. Unfortunately, both exterior and interior build quality are terrible.”

            I owned a ’97 2DR Tahoe so I have to say that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. When I traded it – in 2004 it still looked and drove like a brand new truck. It only had a little over 70K though. It was a lease return when I got it. I drove it for 4 years and put 40K on it. Mostly towing miles as I had another vehicle I used as a daily driver. I never bought a single part for that truck except the factory floor mats. All it ever needed was fluid changes.

            I still see GMT-400 trucks all over in MN and most of them look great.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            Third rows are for kids. Mine love riding back there but they are all pretty young. Our Tahoe has the second row buckets so my crew cab GMC can seat 5 adults in more comfort than the Tahoe. Still when it comes to towing I love that ‘Hoe and will always use it before the 3/4 ton PU if the wife doesn’t need it.

        • 0 avatar
          johnhowington

          “don’t seem to have any problem with the packaging inefficiency of either the Tahoe or the Suburban. ”

          let me know when government cares about such things.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I think it’s less caring about the packaging inefficiency of a BOF LRA vehicle and more about 1.the lower upfront costs when compared to an Expedition EL (after monster rebates), 2. the ease of repairs and maintenance (or at least, percieved ease) on these “traditional” vehicles, and most importantly, 3. the fact that some of these places have been buying nothing but Suburbans for the past, 20+ years.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      For a fair chunk of buyers, emotion, fashion, status, insecurity/fear, and maybe some ego inflation are their reasons for owning one.
      For another fair chunk of buyers, these things do offer unmatched versatility and capacity that they actually utilize.
      To each their own.
      There is way to much extreme contempt for “the other” in our culture right now. A little tolerance and acceptance and mutual respect would go a long way to cure what ails the USA right now.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Same can be said of the purchase of most non-utilitarian vehicles, regardless of category. The same goes for many “unneeded” products, from fashionable clothes to big homes. In a market economy, the examples are endless. For some reason,though, big suvs and pickups really bring out the scolds.

  • avatar
    mikey

    If I had the money, and or the need, for a big SUV, I could buy one of these “bad boys” from the GM staff fleet. I have neither the money, or the need.

    Sometimes I think it would be great, just to drive one of these big babies around. If for nothing more, than to pi$$ off the smug, self rightous “we KNOW what’s best for YOU.. crowd “

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The 2004 vs 2009 vs 2014 chart shows that the meme that GM survives only because of BOF huge SUVs does hold true anymore.

    The dependency on BOF monster SUVs has diminished significantly since the heady days of 2004, before the huge gasoline price spike in 2005, employee pricing for all, cash for clunkers, and bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Although to be fair, a great many of those buyers moved over to the Lambda-based crossovers.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Which I don’t see anything wrong with as they compete with the Pilot, Highlander, Pathfinder, Explorer, Durango, etc. etc. etc.

        Everyone plays in that space because it’s where the bucks are.

        NOF fullsize SUVs have kind of always been the domain of GM.

  • avatar
    plee

    Another perspective on GM large SUV sales. In 2013 over 70% of GMC Yukon XL sales were to rental fleets, over 40% of standard length Yukon sales were to rental fleets. That same year, 40% of Suburban sales were to daily rental fleets. It is possible that the recent increase in reported sales are daily rental fleets being restocked with the new body style. If that is true, the large sales increases will not continue. We shall see. As for me, I still don’t understand why so many buyers overlook the misaligned steering column and the high load floor height with sloping floor.

    • 0 avatar
      Carilloskis

      I agree with you on the maligned steering column mis alignment I did not really notice it when i test drove my 05 having driven my parents 99 of the previous body style, but on road trips it was extremely uncomfortable I don’t care what GMs research says they are to only ones who do that.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    These are the thing General Motors knows how to make. It’s like a taller version of a Detroit steel lead sled. They are amazingly comfortable when driven by a recent immigrant at 25 mph over the speed limit between the airport and a distant conference center.

    Not my cup of tea, but something GM does really well.

  • avatar
    FordMan_48126

    People don’t realize the money makers these vehicles are to their makers. I’ve at Ford the profit for the Expedition is between 15 to 20k due to so much engineering and parts shared between the various trucks. Therefore, each sale is like cake. Do the math – even at 30,000 to 40,000 in sales (which Ford is on track to do in 2015), the profit approaches 3/4 Billion dollars. For the Caddy and Lincoln, the profit on these beast can top 30k. Simply amazing….the exec that dreamed up this idea are surely enjoying retirement due to massive stock options on a job well done.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      All you say is true but there are other positives as well about these vehicles.

      Many of these vehicles that are 50 and 60 years old are still being driven on America’s roads today, especially in the arid regions like the deserts, because these vehicles are easy to maintain due to their shared frames and components with SUVs and pickup trucks, and thus easy to upgrade with drive trains from wrecked later model SUVs and pickup trucks.

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