Chevrolet Equinox More Popular in June 2017 Than Cruze, Malibu, Impala Combined
In June 2017, General Motors reported 29,182 U.S. sales of its Chevrolet Equinox, the company’s most popular non-truck model in America.
A 49-percent year-over-year improvement made June the best month for the Equinox since May 2015.
Combined with sharp declines from Chevrolet’s three mainline sedans, it also made the Equinox more popular in June than the Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu, and Impala combined.
As if we needed more evidence that Americans want crossovers, not cars.
It helps that General Motors, which supplied retail/fleet and 2017/2018 sales figures to TTAC at our request, was essentially selling two different versions of the Equinox in June. (To be fair, transition phases often bring sales down, not up.) GM reported 19,044 sales of the old, outgoing, second-generation Equinox and 10,138 copies of the new, third-generation Equinox.
33 percent of Equinox sales were of the fleet variety, though only 441 of the 10,138 “new” Equinox sales went to fleets.
GM therefore pointed out to TTAC that the Equinox did not outsell its three sedan siblings on a pure retail basis. (Granted, the Equinox missed out on doing so by only 618 units.)
Nevertheless, a withdrawal from the fleet market, particularly in the second quarter of 2017, explains much of GM’s passenger car downturn. And that downturn is most obvious with the Chevrolet Impala, total sales of which tumbled 45 percent in the first-half of 2017 and plunged a stunning 77 percent (to only 2,808 units) in June. Long gone are the days of 2007, when GM was reporting nearly 6,000 Impala sales per week.
While 74 percent of the Chevrolet Impalas sold in the United States in the first three months of 2017 were fleet sales, sales to fleets in the second-quarter were 75-percent lower than in the first-quarter. However, GM was selling fewer Impalas to retail buyers in Q2 than Q1, albeit only 12-percent fewer.
The Impala competes in a full-size segment that’s down 18 percent this year. The Chevrolet Malibu, sales of which plunged 30 percent in the first-half of 2017 and 33 percent in June specifically, operates in a midsize category that’s likewise down 18 percent. Chevrolet Cruze sales are rising in 2017 after 2016 volume took a dive, but June Cruze sales were down 31 percent, year-over-year. U.S. compact car volume isn’t falling nearly as rapidly as sales in the subcompact, midsize, and large car categories.
Year-to-date, GM has reported 133,454 Equinox sales, a 10-percent improvement on last year. 220,399 Cruzes, Malibus, and Impalas were sold in the U.S. in the first-half of 2017, a 16-percent drop.
General Motors has sold 561,072 utility vehicles in 2017, a 13-percent improvement. General Motors’ car sales are down 17 percent to 369,948 units. The Equinox and its GMC Terrain sibling account for 31 percent of GM’s SUV/crossover tally. The Cruze, Malibu, and Impala produce 60 percent of GM’s U.S. car volume.
June may have been an anomaly, as GM was benefiting from a fleet strategy with the Equinox the automaker seems to be forsaking, while also benefiting from selling value-priced Equinoxes to consumers and generating attention with the first all-new Equinox since 2010. Even if GM can’t replicate this event in the near term, in which the Equinox outsells three key Chevrolet cars, we’re still seeing the American auto industry’s future represented in the Equinox’s June victory.
Maybe the 2018 Equinox can’t routinely outsell the Cruze, Malibu, and Impala. But it’ll likely keep the sales race close.
[Images: General Motors]
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