Cain's Segments: Full-Size SUV Sales In America – February 2015 YTD

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
cains segments full size suv sales in america 8211 february 2015 ytd

Sales 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.

Nevertheless, 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.

AutoFeb. 2015Feb. 2014% Change2 mos. 20152 mos. 2014% ChangeChevrolet Suburban 4,4362,035118%8,5663,740129%Chevrolet Tahoe7,4104,96149.4%14,0178,47565.4%Ford Expedition3,2772,83015.8%5,7374,96915.5%GMC Yukon2,7961,94943.5%5,4453,23668.3%GMC Yukon XL2,0481,11084.5%4,0131,975103%Nissan Armada9901,099-9.9%2,0192,128-5.1%Toyota Sequoia856980-12.7%1,7601,767-0.4%—— —————Total 21,813 14,96445.8% 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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  • MrGreenMan MrGreenMan on Mar 19, 2015

    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.

  • FordMan_48126 FordMan_48126 on Mar 19, 2015

    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.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Mar 19, 2015

      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.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Auto insurance renewal every six months. Ten year old car, good driving record, own my own home, excellent credit score, no teenagers on the policy, etc, etc, etc.Yet, I pay thru the nose!!!!!Adds on the morning news brag about $500k settlements.I paid less when I lived in New York State.
  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
  • ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.
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