By on August 24, 2015

TTAC Volvo XC90 sales chart

We’re finally beginning to see the impact a new SUV can have in Volvo showrooms.

The second-generation XC90 posted a 209% year-over-year increase to 1,176 U.S. sales in July 2015. That equalled 796 more sales this July than last and the highest monthly total for the XC90 since December 2010.

So is Volvo back? Well, not quite. Not yet.

Because the auto market is so seasonal, year-over-year change is a valid figure to consider, but it’s less useful when the previous year in the year-over-year comparison was the 13th year in the model’s lifespan. XC90 sales in July 2014, for instance, were 88% lower than in July 2004.

You know what that means. Even as XC90 sales exploded, on a year-over-year basis, in July 2015, the new SUV’s total was still paltry in comparison with the XC90’s glory days of yore.

Can Volvo return to those glory days of selling 3,000 XC90s per month in America? There are a number of factors working against the new XC90, not the least of which is supply. Automotive News says that Volvo had just a six-day supply of XC90s at the beginning of July. At the moment, shows only 600 XC90s in stock at U.S. dealers.

Pre-production of the all-new Volvo XC90 in Torslanda

If Volvo can ramp up supply, however, the XC90 is still fighting a much more difficult battle now than it was a decade ago.

First, consider the competition. For example, in 2004, there was no Audi Q7. Now, there’s a second-generation Audi Q7, and even the aged outgoing model was selling more often in 2014 than it had in seven years. Infiniti now grabs 3,100 sales per month with their own three-row crossover, the QX60. Other key rivals have been released in all-new form at least twice since the XC90 was initially released and are marketed with far broader model ranges. The latest BMW X5, for instance, is sold with four different engines, including a diesel.

Yet the bigger factor that could inhibit the new XC90 from selling like the old XC90 is Volvo’s own standing in America. No longer is Volvo the only manufacturer which can wow with safety, and more pertinently, Volvo’s non-XC90 vehicles simply aren’t that popular. In July 2004, Volvo sold 9,180 vehicles which weren’t XC90s, 52% more non-XC90 vehicles than Volvo sold last month.

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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18 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: Volvo XC90 Sales Are Way Up, Now Double It...”

  • avatar

    That chart is a perfect illustration of what happens when an automaker lets the same design sit on the market for 10+ years. I’m sure the chart for the Nissan Titan would look the same.

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    Of the Q7, QX60, and X5 mentioned, only the QX60 is really in the same price range. The Q7 and X5 are both $10k more comparably equipped (an XC90 starts at $49k and you can get a nicely equipped one for around $55-57k, an RWD base model X5 with nothing starts about that much, and a comparably equipped one is in the mid to upper $60s). What about what I think is its true competitor, the MDX? Or is there not even any point in comparing?

  • avatar

    While the proportions aren’t quite as extreme as the XC90, other classically well-selling SUVs also have pretty paltry totals compared to the previous decade.

    Take the Ford Explorer: they sold 209,994 of ’em last year, the first year since 2005 they topped 200K mark, and up from a low of just 52,190 in 2009.

    Pretty nice increase, until you look back to 2002: 433,847 Explorers sold. Ford will NEVER sell that many Explorers again. Not because the Explorer isn’t as good, but because there’s so much more competition in the segment, including in Ford’s own stable.

    Ditto the Grand Cherokee. Jeep has/will sell between 150-180K each of the last four years, but sold more than 300K of them way back in 1999.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Since the XC90 only comprised 7% of Volvo’s US sales last year, an increase to 3000/month would help, but not save them.

    The rest of their offering needs to pick up its game as well.

    • 0 avatar

      It was 7% of their sales in a year *when they didn’t build any XC90s.* There was no 2015 model, as they were changing over to the new generation.

      It will probably be something like 40% of their sales from the launch of the new model onward, at least until they redo the XC60.

  • avatar

    The XC90 is a very desirable vehicle. I don’t doubt Volvo could sell 40K/year in the US if they had the supply available. The good news for Volvo is that this architecture will underpin all their future large/midsized vehicles, so there is reason for optimism.

  • avatar

    I’d never EVER buy a first-year of this sort of all new Volvo, especially with the wacky power train options they’re throwing up there.

    • 0 avatar

      Yea, it kind of scared me off the V60, especially considering the premium. So I opted for the rather old and less expensive Acura.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      The power train options aren’t all that new. The engine has been on sale around the world for about 2 years now and the transmission is the same one that Lexus has been using for a few years now. The AWD system is just a straight up Haldex system that’s been around for 3 or 4 years.

      The “wacky” T8 is just a standard FWD setup with an electric motor in the back, just like Toyota and Honda have been doing it.

  • avatar

    +1 to the comment about the market being vastly different today. The number of really solid competitors today is vastly different than the past and Volvo’s brand standing in the US has been crushed. Outside of the “true believers” (cue Pete Delorenzo), with tight supply and no doubt “MSRP or above” on these, the broader market will simply look to any number of competitors: Q7, X5, JGC, Rover, etc.

    While I think that the XC90 is a great, unique product, the market has really changed and consumers have a lot of really good choices out there. In many ways they’re fighting the Touareg battle: yes, it’s a nice SUV, yes it is lightyears better than its original incarnation; But there are so many better buys in the segment, with far better incentives, to make it a non-starter. As an example, my wife had an interest in the T-Reg, but the Grand Cherokee Altitiude was a solid $150/mo less expensive with more standard equipment. Yes, the T-Reg is screwed together better with nicer interior fit-and-finish, but the JGC ain’t no slouch, while not perfect.

    • 0 avatar

      Touareg is about $15K overpriced for what you get. And it looks too similar to the gen1 version (which itself was maintained unchanged for far too long).

      • 0 avatar

        The actual transaction prices for the Touareg aren’t too bad, really. They routinely go for 10k under MSRP from what I have seen. Anyone who buys a Touareg without getting at least 5k under list price just isn’t even trying.

        I suspect the pricing has a luxury car margin built in, and the dealers are happy to just move their allocation off of the lot at a Jetta profit margin.

  • avatar

    Regarding supply, it’s worth noting that U.S. dealers have not yet received their first allotment of XC90s for inventory. Dealers have only received demos so far, which are not distinguished from regular inventory in the report.

    July sales are all pre-orders, except for a few demos that some dealers might have sold. The overwhelming majority of cars are sold from inventory in the U.S., so ~1000 sales from pre-orders indicates very strong demand for the new XC90.

  • avatar

    I helped in that number. I ordered an XC90 T8 that will be built later in the year. I’m willing to be the guinea pig for the somewhat new powertrain.

    For the money, there’s not much else you can buy with the same amount of luxury and efficiency.

  • avatar

    Was Volvo really the only producer to still “wow” the market with safety in 2004? I figured that stopped maybe a decade earlier, but my memory may fail me.

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