Nine months ago, BestRide predicted popular crossovers would pass the top-selling cars models, and the August 2016 sales results have proved us right.
When BestRide wrote that cars had jumped the shark, the sales curves were showing that popular crossovers like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue would soon pass their sibling car models in monthly sales. August was the tipping point month with each of these leading sellers going beyond the sales of their midsize and compact cars. In some cases way beyond.
Our aim in this story is not anoint one crossover as the sales leader, since they are all flying off the lots. Instead, we will point to the models that are doing the best job of leaving their own brand’s car models in the dust, and who are best positioned for the future with their lineup.
The Toyota RAV4 passed both the Camry and Corolla individually in August. The RAV4 sold about 33K units in the month, passing Camry by about 300 units. The Corolla trailed by about 2,500 units behind the RAV4.
Both cars have higher year to date sales than the RAV4, but the trend is now very clear. The RAV4 is Toyota’s new top-seller. Kudos to Toyota for making about 15% of those RAV4s green vehicles with hybrid drivetrains. Toyota is the only automaker still making hybrids part of its full portfolio and when gas prices return to their past highs, Toyota will be well positioned to reap the sales benefits.
Honda’s CR-V looks like the top-seller overall among popular crossovers in August, passing the 36,000 unit mark. Only a few truck models outsell the CR-V for all of August. The CR-V was ahead of Accord by a substantial 4,000 cars and about 3,000 ahead of the hot new Civic. Honda may seem like a small company, but subtract out truck sales and it has the most popular vehicles in America right now.
With just under 33,000 Rogues sold in August, Nissan is now neck and neck with Toyota and Honda. Nissan never quite matched the two in cars, but with compact crossovers taking over the hearts and minds of buyers, it may now have a shot at the top sales spot. Nissan’s Altima and Maxima are interesting because both are midsize models. However, even in combination, they total less than 26,000 units, and the Nissan Rogue is way out ahead of any other Nissan model. One in three Nissans sold in August was a Rouge.
Ford’s new Escape is a winner, and its sales show that. At 28,000 units sold in August, nothing in the Ford line except the combined F-series line can top the Escape. The Escape crossover outsold the entire Lincoln brand by three to one in August, and Lincoln has a gussied-up Escape on its showroom floor.
FCA US did well with its Jeep Cherokee in August. Its 24,000 units sold were more than the combined sales of the entire Chrysler brand. Jeep is solidly in this game.
GM’s August sales were absolutely frightening for compact crossovers. Partly because it doesn’t really have any that fit the mold. Rather, it has the GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox. These two vehicles are slightly larger than the compact crossovers that are selling at every other major brand and look nothing like the classic shape defined by the RAV4 and CR-V. Both models dropped by more than 30% in August compared to August 2015 sales, but still total about 30,000 units per month in sales.
With its car sales haven already driven off a cliff, GM is left with trucks and huge crossovers doing well. We wish GM the best of luck when fuel prices jump again. GM does have a new compact crossover coming, but it will be sold as a Buick and is manufactured in China. We wonder how it will be received by the UAW.
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