By on July 28, 2016

2016 BMW X4 M40i

U.S. sales of SUVs and crossovers grew 8 percent in the first-half of 2016, a gain of more than 240,000 units compared with the January-June period of 2015.

Producing a utility vehicle which transfers buyers from the passenger car sector to the SUV/crossover side of the ledger is almost as automatic as increasing ride height, installing body cladding, and inserting an X into the nomenclature.

Or is it?

Despite the clear understanding that small crossovers are stealing sales from the midsize car sector, that baby utilities are quickly crafting a blossoming subcompact crossover sector, and that many traditional body-on-frame SUVs are surging, there are dozens of SUVs and crossovers that are selling less often this year than last. While a wide array of SUVs/crossovers are yet again on track for record-breaking U.S. sales years, there are many utility vehicles that are selling far below their record pace.

You can check GCBC for exhaustive SUV/crossover results, but the lists below highlight the utility vehicles that are plunging fastest and selling the least.

In tabulating the sharpest year-over-year declines, we excluded discontinued models and vehicles in the midst of model changeovers: Mazda CX-9, Nissan Armada, GMC Acadia.

In compiling a list of the least often sold SUVs/crossovers in the first-half of 2016, we excluded discontinued models, vehicles with base prices above $50,000, and vehicles that weren’t on sale throughout the first-half of 2016.

SUV/Crossover YOY % Change 2016 First Half 2015 First Half
Volkswagen Touareg
-33.4% 2,203 3,310
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
-26.2% 4,908 6,646
Volvo XC60
-26.0% 8,809 11,910
Mini Countryman
-24.1% 6,280 8,278
BMW X5
-23.8% 22,204 29,151
BMW X4
-16.9% 2,615 3,146
Chevrolet Equinox
-16.7% 121,320 145,685
Acura MDX
-16.3% 24,615 29,420
Nissan Juke
-14.3% 12,556 14,647
GMC Terrain
-13.8% 46,877 54,410

At the intersection of these two lists sits the Volkswagen Touareg, sales of which tumbled by a third in the first six months of 2016, a vehicle with base prices below $50,000 that attracts fewer than 400 new owners per month. More than 13 years into the company’s efforts, we examined Volkswagen’s disappointing U.S. SUV/crossover sales performance.

Americans are also acquiring far fewer Volvo XC60s, Mini Countrymans (Countrymen?), and Range Rover Evoques, this year than last. Those vehicles debuted in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and — while their categories are flying high — there are numerous newer, better rivals.

SUV/Crossover 2016 First Half 2015 First Half YOY % Change
Lincoln MKT
2,158 2,103 2.6%
Volkswagen Touareg
2,203 3,310 -33.4%
BMW X4
2,615 3,146 -16.9%
Mazda CX-9
3,681 9,257 -60.2%
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
4,908 6,646 -26.2%
Nissan Armada
5,251 7,189 -27.0%
Mini Countryman
6,280 8,278 -24.1%
Toyota Sequoia
6,297 6,092 3.4%
Land Rover Discovery Sport
6,944 899 672%
Fiat 500X
7,464 332 2,148%

Besides a simple drop in demand, there are specific reasons some vehicles appear in this space. The Acura MDX’s 16-percent decline, for example, comes as Acura moves some MDX production from Alabama — where it shares a constrained plant with a Honda trio — to Ohio, which should, with a 2017 refresh, restore MDX health.

As for the strictly uncommon SUVs and crossovers, it’s worth noting that the Mazda CX-9 is on its way out of the basement. CX-9 volume rose 21 percent to 1,904 units in June as the second-generation model begins to take hold. There was no MY2016 Nissan Armada, as the next Nissan Patrol-based Armada debuts for MY2017. The BMW X4’s X3 partner posted a 49-percent jump to 19,828 first-half sales. The Fiat 500X’s fraternal Jeep Renegade twin, meanwhile, is the leader among subcompact crossovers.

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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48 Comments on “SUV Love? These Are the 10 SUVs and Crossovers Americans Don’t Want...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    As much as I like the 500X from a distance, its sales have leveled off quickly to only 1200 units/month. I’d like to try one in 1.4T/6M Pop trim.

    • 0 avatar

      You won’t catch any flack from Bark or me on picking a 500X over a Renegade. It’s one of the very few cars on which we agree.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The Fiat just has badge poison on the front.

      • 0 avatar
        FOG

        Personally chose the Renegade over the 500X. It just seemed to be a nicer ride and sat a little higher. The House Boss has the final say on these things because she is the primary driver.

        • 0 avatar

          One other important part is, if you want to mod it, the underneath is not entirely compatible. So you might be able to lift it using Renegade spring kits, but you’re not guaranteed to have skid plates fit. I have to admit I haven’t investigated the matter well enough to confirm.

        • 0 avatar
          bill h.

          I just picked up a 1.4T/6M CPO Renegade that my son used as his FCA company vehicle for the past year, at a great ’employee’ discount. The manual drivetrain is available on this mid-level AWD Latitude trim model, whereas on the 500X it apparently comes only on the base versions. It had no issues when he was driving it, and the CPO warranty on top of the factory one doesn’t hurt. Right now (summer, a/c on all the time) with my mixed commuting driving cycle I’m getting around 33 mpg as calculated during fillups.

    • 0 avatar
      Paddan

      My 82 year old mother traded her 2006 Mercedes Benz wagon that we gave her – which had almost 150k miles – on a 2016 500X Lounge. She could not be more delighted. No problems whatsoever in 6 months and gets lots of attention from passers by. She absolutely loves it. And its relatively safe too. By contrast, I leased a 2016 Volvo XC90 which has been in the shop to repair a rattle in the rear headliner area and attendant other issues for 2 months. Go figure.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The XC90 is the most luxurious and most prestigious SUV in the world, with an interior superior to Range Rover and Bentley. It has the best engine available, and I’ve ordered one and wrote a glowing review on cars.com before I took delivery. You’re lying.

        /Channeling someone but I forget his name./

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I have never seen an X4 in my life, and did not know it was a thing until just now.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The X4 was launched right around the same time as the current M3/M4, not too long after the 2-series, and not too long before the i8.

      Being the least car enthusiast oriented model of those, it get lost in the shuffle when competing for advertising dollars and space.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      The X4 is somewhat common around here. Still relatively new, but just not advertised by BMW that I see. Although not as common as the X6, which I see almost daily on my commute. Lots of X6M’s also.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The X6M is so contemptibly ridiculous. It’s absolutely at the top of the list of cars I hate. Compromised in every way, good at nothing, and even more expensive -because- it’s so bad.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I saw a X6M during my last trip to Florida and had to fight the urge to vomit.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In case you were not aware by the way, here is the (base) price:

            $102,000

            Look how many digits there are there.

        • 0 avatar

          X6M is awesome and I’d buy one if I had the money. But it’s quite expensive, around $100k. In fact, I don’t I can justify even plain X6.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            I like the X6M also. It is a beast. It has far more track capability that most people realize and they manage their weight far better than you would think. I’ve spent some time in the X5M. These cars don’t make any excuses. They are purpose vehicles designed for performance and would outperform many other cars.

            Hell, this thing is even a couple 1/10’s of a second faster than my car in 0-60 as much as I hate to admit that.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “They are purpose vehicles designed for performance”

            You can get greater performance with an M5 sedan, which will carry the same number of people, be better on the road, use less fuel, and be less ridiculous overall.

            The only purpose of those two is a wallet grab.

        • 0 avatar
          Driver123

          You don’t go skiing in M5 sedan. You do in X5M/X6M. And certainly since you’ve never heard about X4 you are totally ignorant about BMW. Enjoy your Volvo.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      I saw my first here at he office.

      It’s even more awkward and ungainly in person.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      There’s one at my job. From the A-pillar back it looks pretty good, but the boring X3 front end is a let down. Aside from the X40i M Sport or whatever it’s called, if I went with a luxury SUV “coupe” it would have to be the upcoming GLC. Even the regular GLC makes me ache though… closest thing to the C-Class wagon which is pull-your-hair-out gorgeous.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    And the Equinox/Terrain Theta twins are still out selling the CR-V again this year.

  • avatar
    John R

    The MDX is down? Ruh-roh. Isn’t that Acura’s bread & butter?

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Surprised about the XC60.
    I like this ar. Although old and likely pdated really soon, it still is one of my top picks IF I were to buy a car today.

    XC60 with turbo/supercharged.
    RDX.
    CX9.
    Pacifica.
    Jeep ecodiesel…used.
    Edge 2.0

    This is, unless somebody comes out with a nice raised hatch/wagon…maybe the Golf raised wagon???

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Maybe, just maybe, there are too many of these things now available, perhaps Americans are ready to go back to the bread and butter midsize sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Take note of the first sentence.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “go back to the bread and butter midsize sedan”

      That’d be swell if it hadn’t been turned into the flatbread and stick margarine midsize sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Why should they? Sedans do nothing better than CUVs for the average American. It wasn’t long ago enthusiasts were calling cars like the Camry the bane of their existence… now they are being heralded as superior and even “good”.

      I think enthusiasts need to learn to stop hating everything popular and just let people drive what they want without judgment.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        “I think enthusiasts need to learn to stop hating everything popular and just let people drive what they want without judgment.”

        A-men.

        Wagons become unpopular and dropped from automaker’s lineups like flies, suddenly its THE car for the car enthusiast. 30 years ago, you couldn’t give them away to anybody interested in cars, now people act like they’ve always been big fans and seem to wonder why the market rejects them.

        Then its minivans, once tarred and feathered as soccer mom mobiles, now they’re loved and admired by people who hated them during their heyday.

        Now its the sedan’s turn? People are moving away from them and now they are the enthusiast’ last hope of decent motoring in a world gone CUV crazy.

        So, when CUVs become unpopular and decline, I guess we should pretend like we loved them and wonder aloud about why they’re no longer popular?

        Enthusiasts hate for the CUV is bewildering. In the 1990s, they complained that the top selling SUVs were overkill, because nobody uses them like they’re intended, and their handling, mileage, and interior space limitations were repeatedly scorned and made fun of. Now, we have utility vehicles that have more of the ride/handling/look/mpg of a car with more room and a more masculine or tough image. Yet its still all wrong and we long for the days of “real” SUVs which were always so loved. Lol

        Disclaimer, I’m not a big CUV fan myself, but I do get why people buy them.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          It’s the Forbidden Fruit Syndrome, which many are currently displaying with fervor over Skoda. Remember that?

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          A subset of enthusiasts are just great at projecting their priorities on everyone else. Hence why Camry owners are idiots and Mazda6 owners are enlightened and any other example of mainstream vs. niche one can think of. But, the apparent shifting tastes of enthusiasts doesn’t really bother me. The folks nostalgic for body-on-frame real SUVs may not be the ones who pine for an Accord wagon. The same folks griping about wagons 30 years ago probably aren’t the same folks griping about CUVs today because 30 years is a long time and half of them could be dead. The vehicles aren’t the same either; it’s not like a 1984 Celebrity wagon bears any resemblance to the Fusion wagon that Europe gets and we do not, so no one here needs to answer for opinions three decades ago. And why shouldn’t a subset of enthusiasts prefer wagons to CUVs? CUVs don’t offer much to someone who finds the tradeoff in purchase price, dynamics, fuel economy, and interior quality unacceptable for some additional ride height and mainstream trendiness.

  • avatar
    red60r

    The Volvo XC60 may be losing sales due to the absence of the smooth, throaty-sounding inline 6 turbo. No matter how puffed up with super- and turbo-chargers, a 2L 4-banger just isn’t the same. No one else has seats like theirs, either.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Tim, why don’t you break out MINI sales on your site? BMW does release the data by model type.

    Cooper /S Hardtop 2 Door
    850
    1,425
    -40.4%
    6,240
    10,227
    -39.0%
    Cooper /S Hardtop 4 Door
    983
    1,886
    -47.9%
    6,319
    8,261
    -23.5%
    Cooper /S Convertible
    635
    393
    61.6%
    1,830
    1,707
    7.2%
    Cooper /S Clubman
    1,007
    7
    14285.7%
    4,411
    18
    24405.6%
    Coupe
    3
    51
    -94.1%
    6
    258
    -97.7%
    Roadster
    0
    123
    -100.0%
    3
    673
    -99.6%
    Countryman
    1,429
    2,041
    -30.0%
    6,280
    8,278
    -24.1%
    Paceman
    7
    248
    -97.2%
    55
    838
    -93.4%
    MINI brand
    4,914
    6,174
    -20.4%
    25,144
    30,260
    -16.9%

    I’m honestly shocked that Countryman sales are as high as they are. For similar money, the vastly superior Clubman is available. This fall, when the F chassis Countryman is available, I imagine the downward trend on the Countryman will be reversed… especially if it is basically a taller Clubman.

  • avatar
    dwford

    This is a list of the old and the oddball. Not surprised by the sales declines.

  • avatar
    dartman

    The X4 and X6 look like sedans that have been over-inflated or had an allergic reaction causing severe swelling–not pretty.

  • avatar
    Joss

    The Juke’s showing it’s age. No available adaptive cruise or blind spot monitoring. Though 360 camera is available. It did poorly on the new overlap. In a way I’m surprised its not further up the list. A more desirable powertrain than Rogue/ Sentra. I get the impression the Nismo edition are getting harder to move off dealer lots.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    The X6 is hideous (as is it’s new MB cousin); the X4 is more visually aesthetic but by no means pretty.

    That said, there’s a certified X4 in town I’m supposed to sniff out today for a friend who lives out of town and REALLY REALLY wants one.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Personally I wouldn’t mind a little reporting every 6 months or so on the worst selling vehicles in each segment.

    I chuckled a little at Armada and Touareg volume being down. Those two designs have been the same for so many model years its impossible to tell when you actually see a new one on the road. Could be just a well cared for model that is 5 or more years old.

  • avatar
    thattruthguy

    Is it possible that the Equinox and Terrain volume is down a bit because of the many other small utes at the same stores?

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