Compact crossovers posing serious challenge to sedans in the US

Article by Andrew Christian, on May 27, 2014

Sedans have been the best-selling vehicles in the United States, even in the first quarter of 2014. But their dominance has been greatly challenged by compact crossovers. In fact, compact crossovers – the non-luxury ones—accounted for 15.9 percent of the US market in the first three months of 2014, from 12.9 percent in the same period in 2013, according to the latest Polk registration data.

Analyst Tom Libby at IHS Automotive remarked that it is unusual to see such a major jump in just a year. In the January-March 2014 period, registrations of 25 compact crossovers surged 27 percent, while the overall market just rose 2.9 percent.

The small crossover segment overall grew by 127,095 units to 602,088 in the first quarter of 2014. Of that, the Jeep Cherokee accounted for 37,433 registrations. The Subaru Forester saw its sales jump 74 percent while the Nissan Juke surged 69 percent.

The Mazda CX-5 leaped 49 while and the Nissan Rogue 41 grew percent. The more established nameplates in the US compact crossover segment like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Chevrolet Equinox surged by a combined 6 percent.

Libby remarked that the crossover concept, in the long term, may pose a challenge to the three-box sedans as the most popular vehicle in the US auto industry. He noted that that non-luxury carmaker needs to compete in the compact crossover segment with a competitive product, or risk losing market share.

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