America's Best-Selling SUVs and Crossovers Through 2017 Q3: Toyota RAV4 Primed to Break Honda CR-V Streak

For five consecutive years between 2012 and 2016, the Honda CR-V has been America’s most popular utility vehicle.

In fact, the CR-V has topped America’s SUV/crossover sales charts in nine of the last 10 years, a streak of dominance that began in 2007.

It appears increasingly likely in 2017, however, that the Honda CR-V’s streak will be broken by the Toyota RAV4. Thanks to 20-percent year-over-year growth through the first three-quarters of 2017, the RAV4 leads the CR-V by more than 31,000 sales and the Nissan Rogue/Rogue Sport by more than 15,000 sales with scant time remaining for the RAV4’s rivals to make up the gap.

The difference maker? Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid.

Read more
Why Did General Motors Report Such a Significant August 2017 Sales Gain as the Industry Slowdown Continued?

Crossovers.

New crossovers.

New crossovers in the biggest crossover segments.

General Motors reported a 7-percent year-over-year U.S. sales improvement in August 2017 — in stark contrast to GM’s declines in four preceding months — as the U.S. auto industry reported its eighth consecutive sales decline.

Don’t thank GM’s cars, sales of which tumbled by more than a tenth. Pickup-truck sales edged up only slightly, rising less than 3 percent compared with August 2016. But crossovers — especially newly launched crossovers, especially newly launched crossovers in America’s largest utility vehicle segments — produced massive U.S. sales improvements for GM in August 2017.

How massive? Apart from the Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Terrain, and GMC Acadia, General Motors’ U.S. sales were down 2 percent last month.

Read more
Do It for the Children: Honda and Toyota Sticking With Small Cars for the Sake of Our Children, and Our Childrens' Children

The Dodge Dart is dead. The Ford Fiesta is likely on its last legs in the United States. Ford Focus production is moving to China, off the North American continent where demand for Ford small cars is rapidly declining. General Motors is scaling back production at the Chevrolet Sonic’s Orion Township, Michigan, assembly plant.

That’s the Detroit small car picture, or at least part of it. From Japan’s perspective, however, small cars are entirely worth it, not just because of the sales success enjoyed by the Honda Civic (currently America’s best-selling car through 2017’s first seven months) and Toyota Corolla, but because of the demographic small cars target.

Read more
The Tucson Is Hyundai's Current U.S. Success Story, but Inventory Problems Are Restricting That Success

Hyundai’s U.S. sales volume is down 13 percent through the first seven months of 2017, a year-over-year drop valued at 60,203 lost sales. Hyundai has fallen so quickly that its corporate partner, Kia, has managed to outsell Hyundai in America in each of the last three months.

But even with Hyundai sales falling nearly five times faster than the industry at large, and even with the two most popular products in the lineup — Elantra and Sonata — causing a 23-percent downturn in Hyundai passenger car sales, there’s good news to be heard out of Hyundai’s (shrinking) corner of the market.

The third-generation Tucson launched two years ago is a verifiable hit. Sales are perpetually rising. July 2017, in fact, was its best month ever.

But there’s bad news. Hyundai can’t get nearly enough Tucsons shipped across the Pacific from the compact crossover’s Ulsan, South Korea, assembly plant.

Read more
One Consequence of America's Increasing Fondness for Crossovers? Automakers Laughing All the Way to the Bank

Perhaps we oversimplify it. Perhaps we don’t.

Take one Honda Fit or Chevrolet Sonic or Mazda 2, alter the exterior body panels, clad the wheel arches or bumpers in a modest amount of black plastic, periodically route power to the rear wheels without any fancy AWD systems, elevate the roofline, and increase ride height just a bit. Use a typical small car engine, the same transmissions, and many of the same interior bits.

The result: HR-V, Trax, CX-3. Call it a crossover. Dare even to call it an SUV.

And then, according to Kelley Blue Book, charge customers $7,700 more for the privilege.

Read more
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.

Read more
Remember That CX-8 Mazda USA Can't Have? It Won't Remain Exclusively in Japan After All

The Mazda CX-4 is essentially a more style-centric variant of the Mazda CX-5.

But you can’t have it. The Mazda CX-4 is for China alone.

The upcoming Mazda CX-8, meanwhile, straddles the middle ground between the CX-5 and CX-9: smaller than a CX-9, but still roomy enough to squeeze in a third row of seats, unlike the CX-5.

Our interest in the CX-8 was piqued when the right-hand-drive Mazda was seen parked on Chicago streets two months ago. But Mazda wouldn’t budge: this was no sign that the CX-8 was bound for America. Instead, the CX-8 is intended only to serve a purpose as Mazda’s large vehicle in Japan, where the CX-9 is too big.

It seems, however, that the Mazda CX-8 is destined for the export market after all.

Read more
Was the Nissan Rogue Truly America's Best-Selling SUV/Crossover* in June 2017? We'll Never Know

Nissan reported 34,349 U.S. sales of the Rogue in June 2017, a 17-percent year-over-year increase that drove the Rogue to its third monthly victory in America’s SUV/crossover sales race this year.

But June was the first time since March in which the Rogue — sales of which have now increased in eight consecutive months — topped the utility vehicle segment.

What propelled the Nissan back into the top spot after a two-month hiatus?

Another Rogue. Mysteriously missing from Nissan’s June sales report, despite six weeks of sales activity, was the Nissan Rogue Sport, known in other markets as the Nissan Qashqai.

Disappointingly, for the purposes of U.S. sales reports, Nissan is combining sales of the Rogue and new Rogue Sport. Thus, we’re left to wonder whether the Rogue, on its own, was America’s best-selling SUV/crossover in June or if the Rogue requires an asterisk alongside its position in the victor’s column.

Read more
The 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure Is No Niche Market Special Edition - It'll Be More Popular Than Most SUVs

In late 2015, Toyota revealed that the automaker’s increasingly popular RAV4 would be increasingly leaned upon for major U.S. sales volume.

As of five years ago, Toyota USA had never sold more than 200,000 RAV4s on an annual basis. Toyota didn’t touch the 300,000 marker until 2015.

But the goal set in 2015 was loftier: 400,000 U.S. sales of the RAV4 in 2018. An SE trim level helped. Then the RAV4 Hybrid became a real success. Toyota sold 352,154 RAV4s in 2016 and is on track for 380,000 sales in 2017.

What will put the Toyota RAV4 over the hump?

If all goes according to plan, the 2018 Toyota RAV4 Adventure that goes on sale in September won’t be a mere oddball offshoot.

Read more
Nissan Rogue Sales Are Exploding, And Nissan Doesn't Think The Rogue Sport Will Slow It Down

In January 2017, the best-selling SUV/crossover in America was the Honda CR-V.

In calendar year 2016, the best-selling SUV/crossover in America was the Honda CR-V.

But in December 2016 and the preceding three months, the best-selling SUV/crossover in America was the Nissan Rogue, sales of which rose to record November levels in 2016, record January levels last month, and all-time record levels of 40,477 units in December 2016.

Not the most powerful, refined, reliable, or dynamically competent, the Rogue is nevertheless Nissan’s most popular vehicle in America and a hugely consequential member of the SUV sector.

Yet the sheriff in town is wearing a new uniform, the Rogue is about to be joined by a new sibling, and 2017 is the second-generation Rogue’s fourth model year. Can Nissan continue to grow U.S. Rogue sales by more than 17 percent per month, and can Nissan make the Rogue America’s top-selling utility vehicle on a consistent basis?

Read more
Does Honda Already Know The New CR-V Won't Be America's Best-Selling Crossover In 2017?

Only once in the last nine years, and not once since the Ford Escape scored a victory in 2011, has the Honda CR-V failed to top America’s SUV/crossover sales leaderboard.

At its current pace, 2016 will be the Honda CR-V’s fifth consecutive year as America’s best-selling utility vehicle. Better yet, there’s an all-new Honda CR-V arriving for the 2017 model year. (We’ll post a First Drive Review of that CR-V on November 30th. –Ed.)

But Honda has little intention of ramping up CR-V production growth in 2017 simply to match the Toyota RAV4’s rapid ascent.

Read more
Mainstream Religion: Subaru Of America Smashes All-Time Monthly Outback Sales Record In October

Is it still a cult following if only six, undeniably mainstream utility vehicles are more popular?

Honda, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford…

Subaru? While the U.S. auto industry dropped 6 percent in October 2016, losing nearly 90,000 sales compared with October 2015, the Subaru Outback soared to new heights.

If the Subaru Outback is the leader of a cult, as Dan Neil wrote in the Wall Street Journal earlier this fall, the cult is now big enough that we ought to call it a mainstream religion.

Read more
America's 10 Top SUV Sellers In 2016's First Three-Quarters

After 35 consecutive months of year-over-year sales improvements, including an all-time monthly record of 90,545 reported sales in May 2016, Jeep’s streak came to an end in September 2016. Last month, U.S. Jeep volume slid 3 percent because of declines across much of the brand’s lineup.

Yet Jeep continues to sell more SUVs and crossovers than any other automotive brand in America, topping second-ranked Ford by 118,328 sales through the first three-quarters of 2016.

Together, Jeep, Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, and Honda — the five highest-volume purveyors of SUVs/crossovers in the United States — own 52 percent of America’s utility vehicle market. That leaves less than half the available utility vehicle sales for more than 25 brands to divvy up.

Read more
TTAC Subcompact Crossover Equation: Can You Find Good Deal in a Fleet of Bad Deals?

There’s a problem with subcompacts. All sorts of subcompacts.

Subcompact hamburgers. Subcompact basketball players. Subcompact beds. And especially subcompact crossovers.

After years of examining subcompact cars before purchasing a compact, you know the drill. With a subcompact, you save a little bit of money, realize negligible benefits at the fuel pump, and suffer sharp reductions in useable space, not to mention typical losses of power and refinement.

The burgeoning subcompact crossover market is no different. Sure, the base price of a typical all-wheel-drive subcompact crossover is roughly 15-percent lower than the base price of its all-wheel-drive compact sibling, but a handful of subcompacts are just as thirsty as their big brethren and some see catastrophic reductions in cargo capacity.

As a result, and as a general rule, TTAC is no fan of the subcompact crossover genre.

The value simply isn’t there — and we have some math to prove it.

Read more
Even Mazda Is Now Selling More Crossovers Than Cars, But Overall Mazda Sales Are Still Down

Over the last two months, Mazda, that great tiny bastion of four-cylinder engines and SkyActiv and adding lightness, has sold more crossovers than cars in the United States.

Yes, that Mazda. The Mazda that had to rebadge Fords to bring its first two SUVs to market. The Mazda that, only four years ago, produced two-thirds of its U.S. sales with passenger cars.

Unfortunately, the gains now produced by Mazda’s CX crossover division aren’t enough to counteract the plunging sales of Mazda’s three remaining cars. As a result, Mazda’s U.S. market share is down to just 1.7 percent through 2016’s first eight months.

The good news for Mazda? Company bosses saw this coming. As part of a long-term strategy, Mazda is sticking to its guns, unwilling to overreact to disappointing short-term results with short-term fixes.

Read more
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy does not negotiate with terrorists. This partially explains the ancient cars in my driveway LOL.
  • ChristianWimmer “10-80% charge in 26 minutes…”Well I read an article today on Welt.de that they are expanding the charging network for EVs in Germany by building a ton of chargers - except that there isn’t enough electricity around to supply them with power. That’s because the idiot, totally moronic dumbass eco Greenies, the SPD (Socialists) and the pathetic CDU (Christian Democratic Union) worked to shut down all nuclear and coal (and some gas power plants) while wanting to rely solely on wind and solar power. Germany is poor in both wind and solar power. This country is a joke.
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh Can not be worse than the last ford Taurus SHO i had. Simultaneously the most fun and most broken car i have ever owned. never buying domestic again.
  • Darren Mertz I took my dryer in for repair in my 1992 SAAB 900 S and blew away the guy with the hand truck that helped me get the dryer into the store. 3 days later when I went to pick up my dryer - in said SAAB, another helper followed me out to the parking lot and couldn't believe I didn't have some romper-mobile to schlep my appliance back home. He said it would never fit. Ha. My SAAB was also the best for impromptu picnics as you could sit right on the bumper (yes, a real bumper) and even be sheltered from a passing shower under the enormous hatch. No new Stupid Ugly Vehicle for me.
  • Safeblonde You mean Reagan-era in story?