SUV sales pass sedans in U.S.

DETROIT — Sport utility vehicles have overtaken sedans in U.S. market share, aided by more fuel- efficient, carlike crossover models, IHS Automotive said Wednesday.

SUVs, including crossovers, accounted for 36.5 percent of U.S. new-vehicle registrations this year through May, compared with 35.4 percent for sedans, the IHS Inc. unit said in a statement. Sedans, which held the top spot for decades, had led 36.6 percent to 33.9 percent a year earlier, IHS said.

Compact and mid-sized crossover SUVs such as Ford’s Escape, Toyota’s RAV4 and Nissan’s Rogue have gained in popularity in the past several years. Such models are smaller and use less fuel than traditional truck- based SUVs and are built on car-style unibody underpinnings.

“It’s not that sedans have become unpopular,” Tom Libby, a Southfield, Michigan-based analyst at IHS, said in an interview. “It’s just that CUVs have really grown. They drive like cars, but they have higher positioning, the option for four-wheel drive and better fuel economy. There’s more space for seating. It’s easy to see why they’ve taken off in popularity.”

Crossover models have revived an SUV market that was damped by higher gasoline prices and the recession that began in 2008. Automakers, especially U.S. companies like General Motors and Chrysler, had depended on large, gas-guzzling SUVs such as the Ford Expedition and the Chevrolet Tahoe.

Crossovers, first introduced in the 1990s, won over more buyers, spurring competition, Libby said.

“The companies were all watching the success of their competitors in the crossover market, and they all realized that they had to get in on it,” he said. “Just about all the major brands have a crossover now, and they’re doing well because of that.”

Automakers are slowly phasing out larger SUVs in favor of crossovers, Libby said.

“You have all these mid-sized vehicles that fit the needs of so many different consumers that it makes more sense to focus on them,” he said. “Large, traditional SUVs have plummeted in market share, and meanwhile crossovers are sort of scraping off a little bit of market share from just about every other vehicle type.”

Crossovers also appeal to different age groups, a key for automakers, said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at AutoTrader.com. Younger buyers can move up from a small, entry- level car into something mid-range as they start families, while older drivers can switch to something smaller from their larger SUVs or trucks.

“We’ve seen a huge transformation in the way people view SUVs, in the general sense of the term, because SUVs themselves have changed,” Krebs said.

More in Herald Business Journal

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

Hospital companies merge as insurers encroach on their turf

An anticipated deal between Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension is only the latest.

DaVita to sell off medical groups including The Everett Clinic

Another round of health care consolidation means The Everett Clinic could soon get new ownership.

Engine trouble hits Air New Zealand’s 787 Dreamliners

A Rolls-Royce engine was shut down and was afterward found to be seriously damaged.

Washington, Amazon sue company over seller training programs

Braintree is accused of using deceptive ads promising information on how to make money on Amazon.

Providence said to be in talks for merger with Ascension

The two Catholic health organizations have been exploring joining forces, sources say.

Lockheed-Martin dominates global arms sales, Boeing is 2nd

The combined sales of U.S.-based companies totaled $217 billion.

Most Read