Chart Of The Day: 2014's U.S. Full-Size SUV Sales Pace Wasn't Sustainable

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
chart of the day 2014 s u s full size suv sales pace wasn t sustainable

There were six new full-size SUVs from General Motors. Ford refreshed the Expedition. Lincoln did the same with their upmarket Expedition, the Navigator.

The year was 2014, and U.S. sales of Detroit’s biggest, baddest, full-size SUVs were booming, relative to the recent past.

Twice in the first seven months of the year — and three times over the course of the year — Chevrolet sold more than 10,000 Tahoes. By year’s end, Suburban volume had risen to a seven-year high. The GMC Yukon generated more sales in the final three-quarters of the year than in any of the previous five calendar years. Ford averaged 3,700 monthly Expedition sales over the course of the year, up 43 percent from its monthly average from the previous six years. On four occasions at the end of 2014, Lincoln sold more than one thousand Navigators, something the brand had done just twice since December 2011.

Yet the overarching modern interest in SUVs and crossovers was not going to permit these behemoths to continue their rapid rate of growth on their way back to 2002-like sales levels. This became most obvious at General Motors in the second-quarter of 2015 and into July: sales of their body-on-frame SUV sextuplets plunged 22 percent compared with the same period one year ago.

In July, more specifically, the Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, Yukon XL, Escalade, and Escalade ESV tumbled 24 percent, a loss of 6,597 sales for General Motors compared with July 2014. In fact, the six-nameplate lineup didn’t even sell as often in July 2015 as in July 2013, before the new breed of SUVs were introduced.

This doesn’t mean the vehicles don’t continue to be major profit generators for their respective automakers. But as crew cab pickup trucks become the norm, truck platforms which formerly produced a large chunk of their volume with full-size SUVs now produce a portion of that volume with upmarket Silverados, Sierras, F-150s, and Rams.

Thus, it does mean that these once commonplace SUVs are far less consequential in the broader vehicular landscape of 2015. The six GM BOFs and Ford’s two nameplates owned 4.4 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market in 2002. Through the first seven months of 2015, that figure stands at 1.6 percent.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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  • Bball40dtw Bball40dtw on Aug 18, 2015

    The only think that keeps me from buying a crew cab truck instead of a SUV is that the crew cab truck won't fit in my garage. My choices are Extended/Super Cab trucks and SUVs.

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    • Bball40dtw Bball40dtw on Aug 18, 2015

      @formula m I grew up with regular cab long beds. The SuperCab gives me flexibility for car seats though. I might have to just bite the bullet and get a SuperCrew. Ford throws so much more development dollars at it. It's a better truck than the other versions.

  • DenverMike DenverMike on Aug 18, 2015

    The Tahoe/Escalade and Expedition/Navi were just the next logical step, after Town Cars, Crown Vics, etc. But after that leap, fullsize crew cab pickups are easy to swallow. It's not just that there's up to $20K saving, pound for pound, but the 'resale value' of fullsize SUVs really takes an extreme nose dive. I know harp against giving "resale value" too much credence, but with SUVs, you lose massive amounts on both ends. Now would anyone be too upset if their 'black car' to the airport or opera showed up as a blacked-out luxo platinum pickup? I doubt it. With a tonneau cover, it's a big trunk, lockable and water sealed.

    • Maxb49 Maxb49 on Aug 18, 2015

      "Now would anyone be too upset if their ‘black car’ to the airport or opera showed up as a blacked-out luxo platinum pickup?" Yes, absolutely. That idea is a nonstarter.

  • Analoggrotto By the time any of Hyundai's Japanese competitors were this size and age, they produced iconic vehicles which are now highly desirable and going for good money used. But Hyundai/Kia have nothing to this point that anyone will care about in the future. Those 20k over MSRP Tellurides? Worn out junk sitting at the used car lot, worn beyond their actual age. Hyundai/Kia has not had anything comparable to the significance of CVCC, 240Z, Supra, Celica, AE86, RX-(7), 2000GT, Skyline, GT-R, WRX, Evo, Preludio, CRX, Si, Land Cruiser, NSX etc. All of this in those years where Detroiters and Teutonic prejudiced elitists were openly bashing the Japanese with racist derogatory language. Tiger Woods running off the road in a Genesis didn't open up a moment, and the Genesis Sedan featuring in Inception didn't matter any more than the Lincoln MKS showing up for a moment in Dark Knight. Hyundai/Kia are too busy attempting to re-invent others' history for themselves. But hey, they have to start somewhere and the N74 is very cool looking. Hyundai/Kia's biggest fans are auto Journalists who for almost 2 decades have been hyping them up to deafening volumes contributing further distrust in any media.
  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)