AutoPacific, 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.
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.