By on March 26, 2015

2014 Volvo XC60, Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Teknikens VärldSales of small luxury crossovers jumped 40% in February 2015 and so far this year are up 40% compared with the first two months of 2014.

Subtract the newcomers from that equation and the continuing nameplates, those which were on sale at this time last year, posted a 3% February improvement but are down 1% through two months.

Those new players – NX, MKC, Macan, X4 – generated 29% of the small lux CUV activity in January and February. Yet their collective arrival, both at the lower end with the NX and MKC and at the higher end with the Macan and X4, aren’t slowing down the Acura RDX, Volvo XC60, and Range Rover Evoque.

The RDX is the class leader at the start of 2015, just as it was in calendar years 2013 and 2014. Interestingly, the Lexus NX has taken off early on in its tenure, generating more sales than the slowing (and aging) Audi Q5 and all other German contenders.

Feb. 2015
Feb. 2014
% Change
2 mos. 2015
2 mos. 2014
% Change
Acura RDX
3,862 2,911 32.7% 7,379 5,641 30.8%
Lexus NX
2,666 5,478
Audi Q5
2,493 2,643 -5.7% 5,420 5,417 0.1%
3,124 3,301 -5.4% 4,465 6,000 -25.6%
Volvo XC60
1,954 1,146 70.5% 3,471 2,088 66.2%
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
1,781 2,624 -32.1% 3,179 4,926 -35.5%
Lincoln MKC
1,558 3,160
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
1,107 927 19.4% 2,510 1,806 39.0%
Porsche Macan
624 1,420
466 862
Infiniti QX50
177 220 -19.5% 365 417 -12.5%
Land Rover LR2
10 358 -97.2% 46 721 -93.6%
14,130 40.3% 37,755 27,016 39.7%

The Q5’s slowdown occurs in conjunction with the Q3’s arrival. Combined Q3/Q5 volume is up 35% through two months; the duo was up 34% in February 2015 compared with February 2014, when the Q3 wasn’t yet on sale.

The situation was similar at Mercedes-Benz, where the sharp downturn in sales of the aging GLK takes place as the GLA begins to roundly and routinely outsell its more costly sibling. Combined sales are up 41% this year compared with the first two months of 2014 when the GLK was on its own to collect Mercedes-Benz small SUV buyers.

2016 Land Rover Discovery SportOther utility vehicles worth mentioning in this group are the entry-level trio from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz (Q3, X1, GLA sales totalled 7073 units in January and February), the Cadillac SRX (which starts below $38,000 and is down 23% to 7294 year-to-date), and the Lexus RX, America’s top-selling premium brand utility vehicle. RX sales are up 16% to 13,059 in early 2015, not slowed in the least by the NX.

We make a large number of crossovers eligible for this grouping, including the especially premium-priced Evoque, Macan, and X4. The next big change in the category? Land Rover’s Discovery Sport will bring seven-seat availability to the mix.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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22 Comments on “Cain’s Segments: Small Luxury Crossover Sales In The United States – February 2015...”

  • avatar

    Isn’t the Discovery Sport gonna be too big to fit in the category, as the replacement for the LR4? Does the Discovery Sport replace the LR2 and LR4? I don’t understand the scale of this model. I need to see it next to something else.

    Also, I’ve seen all of these items on the street except for the NX. Still haven’t seen one.

    • 0 avatar

      Neither have I. Actually, a few times I thought I was looking at an NX, only to realize it was just a Mazda CX-5.

    • 0 avatar

      Keeping in mind that the LR4 is in fact called the Discovery 4 in other markets, a Discovery Sport would be a smaller version of said LR4/Discovery 4—in this case, *much* smaller. The Discovery Sport is definitely compact (although it is available with seven seats). You can basically consider it to be the Range Rover Evoque without the “Range Rover” name and premium styling…and in fact it shares a platform with the Range Rover Evoque. This is the same position the LR2 (aka Freelander 2) was placed in, so the Discovery Sport is a replacement for the LR2/Freelander 2.

      • 0 avatar

        Speaking of which, I still can’t understand why it’s called the “Land Rover Range Rover Evoque” instead of just the “Land Rover Evoque”.

        • 0 avatar

          Maybe it is an odd naming scheme, but Land Rover and Range Rover are two separate vehicle ranges within the the company Land Rover. So Range Rovers are Land Rovers, but not all Land Rovers make the step up to be Range Rovers.

    • 0 avatar

      It is definitely not too big. It is the replacement for the Freelander and LR2, and is similarly sized even if stretched a couple inches. The LR4 is huge by comparison. LR2 and 4 become Discovery Sport and Discovery. Sort of like Range Rover Sport is a smaller vehicle than Range Rover. Sort of like Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe. Outlander Sport and Outlander.

      • 0 avatar

        Wait wait, sorry. I visited the LR-USA site yesterday and didn’t notice the LR4 was still there. The Discovery Sport base price is actually $13k cheaper than the LR4.

        They need an immediate replacement for the LR4 to bring it up to modern snuff. That 04 platform it’s on is not okay.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The Discovery Sport should be only slightly longer than the outgoing LR2. It’s based on an evolution of the Evoque/LR2 platform (transverse engine), not on the Discovery/LR4 platform.

      It’s kind of confusing, but no more so than LR2/LR3/LR4, and it will probably help in the long term. If you call something “Sport” it conveys the notions of “smaller” and “faster”. That’s better than “cheaper” and “lesser.”

  • avatar

    Call me crazy but I love the aesthetic of the X4/X6. It’s a shame I don’t own a home with which to take out a second mortgage, to afford the upkeep on such vehicles.

  • avatar

    Go go go Volvo! The XC60 is competitive and deserves to sell well…I’m glad its doing decently.

    • 0 avatar
      GS 455

      It is nice to see the Volvo XC60 hanging in there. I can’t wait to see the new XC90. The minimalist Scandinavian design of the interior looks just beautiful in photos. Such a refreshing change from the German and Japanese designs. I’d love to see it take a big chunk of RX350 sales.

  • avatar

    Nice gain for the XC60. Any idea how to explain this? In Scandinavia, the XC60 really hit a homerun – they’re everywhere. And in Germany, tech inspection found that three year old examples have 0 – zero – issues related to paint, rust etc. Pretty impressive.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      It’s possible that the near complete unavailability of the XC90 might have helped.

      • 0 avatar

        Valid point. As such, we’re not really looking at “new” customers here?

      • 0 avatar

        Nah, doubt it. There may be a small segment coming in looking to replace their XC90 and find the XC60 to be enough, but I don’t think most people will cross-shop these vehicles, nor will so many be so stuck on the idea of buying a Volvo that they wouldn’t go to other 7 passenger SUV competitors instead. I think the vast majority of people buying XC60s do so because they like the XC60, but I could be underestimating brand loyalty.

  • avatar

    I called off my car shopping to wait for the Discovery Sport. I looks like exactly what I need and want. Perfect size.

    Land Rover is slated to replace the LR4 next year at this time, with a new Discovery. It will undoubtedly look more or less like a larger Discovery Sport. I think the Discovery badge will come to the USA as well this time.

  • avatar

    Now that there is a HR-V and CX3 size CUVs, I wonder how long it will be before these current “small crossovers” morph into something larger? Remember when the Civic and Tercel/Corolla were the small, entry level cars? I’m not sure why automakers continue to outgrow their classes, only to make another smaller model to replace the one that just moved up a size. Glad to see Mazda take the opposite approach with the Miata.

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