By on August 18, 2015

TTAC COTD GM full-size SUV sales chart July 2015

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.

15Expedition_02_MR

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 GoodCarBadCar.net, 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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34 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: 2014’s U.S. Full-Size SUV Sales Pace Wasn’t Sustainable...”


  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Crew cab pickups are definitely a factor, and I’d imagine the popularity of large-ish, three-row crossovers plays a role in these flagging sales, as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Well when a comfortably equipped crew cab is $35k, and an equally equipped suburban is $60k… Well the sales are to be expected. I prefer my cargo covered, I prefer to be able to crawl into the back, but at a $25k premium I can just as easily buy used, or if I do finally give in to a crew cab, Im certainly going to consider my money going elsewhere than GM due to the numbskull thinking going on at GM.

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        Exactly.

        And if a buyer wants their cargo to be covered, it’s probably no surprise they’ll notice that the GM Lambdas are in the $40k range – and easier to fit in a garage, to park, and to lift children into and out of.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          The Suburban can be a pain to park but the Tahoe is within an inch or two of the Traverse and has a shorter turning radius. Take off that idiotic snow plow of an air dam that the EPA made them put up front and you can swing the end of the trucks over curbs, too.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Nobody “made” GM put the air dam on. Loosen your tinfoil hat. GM put it on because 90% of owners would appreciate the MPG gains more than they would lament the loss in off-road ability.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Snow/ice mounds… ’round here it’s coming off regardless of owners’ intentions.

      • 0 avatar
        Andy

        Word. The damn things are SO EXPENSIVE! We had a 2005 Yukon XL SLT. The sky was falling at GM that year, so we got it brand new for about $33K. Went to replace it in 2014 and nearly choked on the prices of Suburbans et al. Our new Pathfinder SL is plenty of SUV for us, as it turns out…

        Few families really need three rows any more. The back seat of an F150 Supercrew is incredibly spacious. Throw a tonneau cover on the bed and you’ve got a really nice and practical family vehicle, according to a lot of people in this part of the country, anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          Reino

          Whats the price difference between an equal-spec’d crew cab pickup and the SUV counterpart? I’m generally curious because a pickup doesn’t work for someone with multiple kids and dogs.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            XLT to XLT, the Expedition will cost you another 12 or 13 grand out the door. The trucks are 8 years newer and they really drive like it.

            The Tahoe is positioned a couple grand over the Expedition, the SUV premium there is likely closer to $15,000.

            Makes a $2000 Leer seem like a steal.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          Exactly, people are buying crew cab trucks. We haven’t had a full-size SUV at work for 2+ months. Not one 2015 Expedition. My customer wanted a test drive and could t find one to try in all of Ottawa, Ont. (population 1 mill.) I just lucky I noticed we had one Ford of Canada press vehicle that they stored at our dealership one weekend so I called him in. It’s not easy to buy one here

          The customers who wanted one bought the new generation last year and it has slowed the pace.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Not hard to see the sales slow down coming, especially for GM.

    How many of those refreshed units were sold to limo companies, who were nursing their TC’s along until the latest and greatest Yukon hit the streets?

    The other issue, as I see it, the price. Call it 70k after sales tax for a reasonably equipped suburban/Yukon. Truly, how many families with three or more kids can realistically afford that? GM should make Heretz, Avis and the like sweet deals on these to ensure the factory line keeps humming and let the general public pick them up used with 50k on the odo for 45k or so with tax.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Is GM’s SUV sales capacity limited? I see that the factory is going from 5 to 6 days per week.

      http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2015/08/gm-increasing-suv-pickup-truck-production.html

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I don’t know what GM charges the rental companies but their government fleet prices would make you do a double take. A RWD police Tahoe is for all intents and purposes the $45K retail LS without a third row and it sells in the 27-28K range.

      If GM put those in the retail showrooms at that price they wouldn’t sell anything else.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Wife’s Vibe was in the shop a few years back (roughly 2010 time frame) and the dealer let us take a GMC Yukon (standard length) as a loaner. It was a stripped model with cloth seats, no third row, and an un-carpeted cargo area that instead had rubber on the floor. It still stickered at $35,000+.

        Such profit margins…

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          “..cloth seats, no third row, and an un-carpeted cargo area that instead had rubber on the floor”

          *joy*

          • 0 avatar
            Reino

            My Malamute takes a dump in our SUV on nearly every winding road. What I would give for a rubber-floor cargo area.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “My Malamute takes a dump in our SUV on nearly every winding road. What I would give for a rubber-floor cargo area.”

            If that doesn’t explain the motivation to get a crewcab instead(with Lear, if need be), I don’t now what does…

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I’m not sure how to break this to you, but the extended/super cab trucks aren’t any shorter than the crew cabs. Same wheelbase, shorter bed

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Maybe he don’t want no truck with a wussy little purse-sized bed.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I thought bed length was optional. At least it seems to be, when building an F-Series on Ford’s website.

        Plus, I park in a garage everyday, weaving around crew-cab full-bed pickup trucks that are half a car length too long to fit into the parking spaces.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          “Plus, I park in a garage everyday..”

          He said *his* garage… at home. Too little for big truck… how well I know.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Sorry for the confusion – I wasn’t referring to his garage. Just trying to note that there are some very long trucks out there. The length really sticks out in a parking garage situation. Even full-size sedans fit length-wise, but these trucks are so long they jut out into the driving lanes.

            In the parking lots, they’re just taking up two spaces, length-wise.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            “Sorry for the confusion – I wasn’t referring to his garage. Just trying to note that there are some very long trucks out there. The length really sticks out in a parking garage situation. Even full-size sedans fit length-wise, but these trucks are so long they jut out into the driving lanes.

            In the parking lots, they’re just taking up two spaces, length-wise.”

            God, that is really the worst, especially in a fairly tight garage. One of the garages I park in semi-frequently also has an F250 that almost always parks in a spot by the corner which blocks entry to the spot around the corner at 90 degrees because the bed sticks about 2 feet into the width of the entry to that space.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Don’t want the 5 1/2 foot bed. It looks stupid and doesn’t fit anything. If I’m buying a truck, it’s a non starter.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Every crew cab/5.5′ bed pickup is the exact same WB and OAL as that respective manufacturer’s extended cab/6.5′ bed pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        5 1/2 foot bed is too small. I want a 6 1/2 foot bed. A 231″ truck BARELY fits in my garage. A 243″ truck does not.

        I really want a SuperCab with an 8 foot bed, but there is no chance a 21 foot truck is fitting in my garage.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I guess I’m fascinated by the less than 22 ft deep garage. That’s the ‘minimum’ in most places. I understand they exist, but I’ve never seen one. Or one that wasn’t modified. Like washer/dryer setups the weren’t part of the original floor plan. Or kitchens, living areas remodeled partly into the garage.

          It would be such a deal breaker, that it’s ridiculous. Like say a chick looking to buy a house, but finds out it has no closet in the master bedroom? She’d run out of there screaming.. I’m the same way with garages.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My (detached) garage was built in the late 50s. I’m lucky it’s a 2 car garage.

          • 0 avatar
            BuzzDog

            Depends on whether you’re talking about older houses, of the McMansions you see in the newer suburbs.

            Three of my former houses were built prior to the mid-1950s, when a “standard car” (in other words, one of the “low priced three”) was right at or below 200 inches in length. Thus, a 20-foot-deep garage would give you a few feet of wiggle room.

            Then Plymouths and Fords got longer, followed by Chevrolets in 1958. It seems that, in many parts of the South, carports seemed to be popular into the 1970s, as they allowed the tail end of the car to hang out (and caused the rear deck and bumper of full-sized cars to fade, and eventually rust).

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          It’s funny every F-150 customer sticks to their choice of boxsize and its like the least flexible “must have” specification or option. The other sizes are always useless or a waste in their eyes compared to whatever one they need. I was just asked last week, “why can’t I get a supercab, 8ft.”.
          That configuration is probably the most useful (dad had a 92′ f-150 like this) but they look awkward and haven’t sold well since the late 90’s. Manufacturers have styled and changed the proportions so that all other models other than crew and supercab look awkward now. It use to be the other way around. Example. 90’s crew cab were awkward before

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            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.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      “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.


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