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“Trucks” to Continue to Outsell Cars – XSUV Segment

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500 wide Car Truck Sales 1987-2021500 wide Car Truck Mix 1987-2021AutoPacific, an automotive specialist research and product planning consultancy, forecasts that trucks, including XSUVs will be about 60% of the market for the foreseeable future.  In fact, reading the crystal ball for the next five years, this percentage of the mix may be low.  The charts above detail how cars and truck sales and market penetration have evolved since 1987 and the forecast for the future.

The hottest product segment in the American light vehicle market is the crossover SUV (XSUV).  A crossover SUV can be as large as a Chevrolet Traverse or as small as a Chevrolet Trax.  There are dozens of XSUVs in between.  And there will be more.

The XSUV segment has become so hot because this type of vehicle corrects the criticisms buyers had of traditional SUVs which sold very well, but were not optimal.  Buyers wanted products that were not hard-core off-roaders, but more civilized and city friendly.  The SUV market exploded in the early 1990s with the introduction of the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee.  It wasn’t until 1996 that the crossover SUV began slipping into the marketplace.  First the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V appeared.  They were followed by the luxury crossover RX300.  Clearly the manufacturers were listening and reacting.

Here are just a few of the things we know about the evolution of the SUV market over the next five years…

Cadillac  Cadillac states that it has too few XSUVs (one, the upcoming XT5) and wants to add two or three more to its lineup while adding one more car as a range topper between now and 2020.

Buick  Buick is adding the small Envision XSUV to its lineup this Spring.  Envision is assembled in China.

FCA Drops Cars to Add XSUV and Pickup Capacity  Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is dropping its Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart in favor of more capacity for XSUVs and pickups.  The Ram pickup will take over the FCA Sterling Heights, Michigan Plant when the Chrysler 200 is dropped.  FCA’s huge Belvidere, Ilinois plant will be populated by XSUVs when the Jeep Compass and Patriot plus the Dodge Dart fade away.

Toyota Pushing RAV4  Toyota Motor Sales has stated that they would not be surprised if the RAV4 XSUV overtook the Camry mid-size car as its best selling product.  Camry was the best selling car in the USA in 2015.

Lexus will add a 3-row XSUV above the RX350 in the next few years.500 wide SUV XSUV Sales 1987-2021500 wide SUV XSUV Mix of SUV 1987-2021

 

The charts above show the impact of crossover SUVs on the light truck market.  Huge volume increase and market share increase.

Hyundai Aggressively Adding XSUV Capacity  Hyundai is replacing 50,000 units of car capacity in its Montgomery, Alabama assembly plant with the Santa Fe Sport.  That drops capacity for the Hyundai Sonata and Elantra from 400,000 to 350,000 units per year.  Hyundai admits that they underestimated the demand for XSUVs years ago.  This capacity move reacts to market demand and dealer pressure to get Hyundai dealers more XSUVs that are easier to sell and require less incentives and discounting.

Hyundai will add 45,000 units to its Tucson compact XSUV volume this year.  Built in South Korea, Tucson has been limited because it is popular around the world and the vehicle was capacity constrained.

Hyundai also recognizes there is a hole at the bottom of their XSUV lineup and are adding a sub-compact B-Segment XSUV to fill that hole.  There is a possibility that a smaller A-Segment XSUV will replace the Hyundai Accent hatchback.


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2012 Chevrolet Traverse Most Satisfying Large Crossover SUV

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Best in Class 2012 Large Crossover SUV:  Chevrolet Traverse

2012 Chevrolet Traverse Winner of AutoPacific's 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Owners of the 2012 Chevrolet Traverse give the Large SUV a photo-finish win over the Ford Flex while giving the Traverse top ratings in eighteen of forty-eight categories in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  The Traverse gets top marks for Cargo Space, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Interior Storage, Braking, Fuel Economy, Easy to Use Controls, Cupholders, Tire Brand/Size/Appearance, Wheel Size and Style, Environmental Friendliness, Infotainment Technology, Dealership Experience, Recyclability, Advanced Powertrain Technology, Collision Avoidance Technology, Range and Warranty.  With a possible high score of 5.0 satisfaction rating points, 4.5 or higher can be considered very good.  Traverse owners rated the Large SUV above 4.5 rating points in:  Overall Satisfaction, Seating Capacity, Exterior Color, Reliable/Dependable,  and Feeling Safe While Driving.  Traverse owners, while the highest rated Large SUV for Fuel Economy, are least satisfied with their Traverse’s gas mileage.  Traverse owners rate five characteristics below 4.0 satisfaction rating points:  Fuel Economy, Range, Environmental Friendliness, Recyclability and Price.


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2009 Chevrolet Traverse: Motorist Choice Award Winner

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“The 2009 Motorist Choice winner in the Large Crossover SUV segment, Chevrolet Traverse, also took segment honors in AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle awards. The attractively styled Traverse has much to recommend it, including high ratings for overall seating capacity, ease of loading and unloading cargo, and safety features.” — AutoPacific
Chv_09_Traverse_11 copy.jpg“A strong retained value and lowest maintenance costs in the segment were the primary reasons for the Traverse win.” — IntelliChoice
Owner Satisfaction Highlights
* Seating Capacity
* Ease of Loading/Unloading Cargo
* Safety Features
* Overall Quality
* Driver’s Seat Comfort
* Reliable/Dependable
Cost-of-Ownership Strengths
* Strong Retained Value
* Lowest Maintenance Costs


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2009 Chevrolet Traverse Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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ChvTraverse_IVA.jpg“The all-new Chevrolet Traverse delivers what its owners want, evidenced by the Large Crossover SUV winning AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award for its class,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “Owners rate the Traverse best in class in five of fifteen rating categories and very competitively in the others. Clearly Chevrolet understands what the Crossover SUV buyer wants and has designed the Traverse to hit that target.” Leading Traverse attributes include:
* Power and acceleration
* Interior storage
* Safety features and
* Appropriate level of technology


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2009 Ford Flex vs. 2008 Buick Enclave – On the Road Comparison

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We have now driven all three General Motors Lambda Crossover SUVs on the market and the all-new Ford Flex Crossover SUV. While we have had a week apiece in the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, we’ll use the Enclave as the comparison vehicle because it is most recent.

Ford Flex F34 VehicleVoice.jpg

Buick Enclave F34 VehicleVoice.jpg


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Chevrolet Traverse: A Modern Large SUV For America's Family Brand

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Editor’s Note: Traverse may be the most significant new vehicle at the Chicago Auto Show. The highest volume of the four General Motors Lambda Large Crossover SUVs, Traverse pickups the positive styling cues of the Enclave’s haunches and adds Chevrolet’s front end styling. GM design definitely did not dumb down the styling of the Traverse. With the Buick so fully-featured and having loads of special enhancements to handle noise vibration and harshness, hopefully Traverse gets more than its fair share.

Chv_09_Traverse_bl_13.jpg

Chevrolet‘s 2008 Chicago auto show star, the Traverse, is the brand’s answer to changing consumer demands, as buyers gravitate toward car-based SUVs and more and more prioritize fuel efficiency over SUV image. If you need the towing or off-road capability of a traditional truck-based SUV, Chevy will still offer Tahoe, Suburban, and Avalanche. If you need a comfortable, stylish, and relatively efficient non-minivan family car, Chevy will offer the Traverse late in 2008. The Traverse Vehicle Line Executive enlisted the help of her four kids and husband in introducing the vehicle, proving the people and stuff-hauling benefits of Traverse. Chevrolet will eventually give up on the mid-size, truck-based TrailBlazer, as buyers are already doing.
Chv_09_Traverse_bl_12.jpg

Based on the same platform as the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook, the Traverse is quite large. It offers a longer wheelbase than the latest Tahoe and is wider and nearly as long. The size pays off in plenty of space, but it feels small on the road, offers more in terms of family comfort, and is cheaper to fuel than TrailBlazer or Tahoe. Though GM never quite got competitive with minivans, Traverse will be a satisfying family product. The Traverse and its siblings are the right products at the right time. Still, while giving up the TrailBlazer for the Traverse was a bold move when the decision was taken, by time the Traverse arrives on market, Chevy doesn’t look so much brave as keeping up.
Chv_09_Traverse_bl_8.jpg

No matter how it got here, Chevrolet is adding a good-looking product. The Traverse sports a clearly Chevrolet face and a profile more like the Enclave than Acadia and Outlook, to Chevrolet’s benefit. As a follow-up to the latest Malibu, Chevrolet is proving they are going to provide us with more stylish, as well as affordable and practical, family transportation going forward. With recent introductions of the Tahoe and Silverado hybrids, Corvette ZR1, and upcoming Camaro, there’s also no doubt Chevrolet will remain a full-line make and more dedicated to getting products right than ever before.


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