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Q1 2023 vs. Q1 2024: SUV Sales Performance Analysis


  • SUVs are the biggest part of the market for North America at the moment, taking up over 80% of new vehicles sold
  • With data compiled year-over-year, we can now compare Q1 2023 with Q1 2024 and see who is winning big and losing badly
  • Toyota has a stranglehold on the smaller SUV and CUV market, with their RAV4 seeing 47.4% increase YOY
  • Chevrolet took the biggest hit in the full size SUV market with the Traverse dropping 44.6% YOY
  • We think that the big winners are those that have figured out the two most important results of analysis: Customers want value for money, and the option of a hybrid drive

A couple of months ago, we put out an analysis of SUV sales vs car sales, and how it is affecting the market. While we did cover some of the most popular SUVs and cars in that article, we didn’t dig deep down into which SUVs are the biggest winners and losers year-over-year.

Now that we have a fully compiled database of Q1 2024 sales data, we can analyze which SUVs have had the greatest success, and which ones are struggling.

Small & Midsize SUVS

To say that this segment of the utility vehicle market is packed is an understatement. Every manufacturer from Acura to Volvo have a vehicle in this segment, and it is by far the most competitive portion of the market in 2024.

By far and away the biggest victor in this entire segment is the Toyota RAV4. In Q1 2023 it sold a very respectable 84,704 units, but in Q1 2024, it sold an astounding 124,822 units. That is an increase of 47.4%, the largest year over year increase for an already successful model.

2024 Toyota Rav4

In fact, Toyota was able to increase its sales across almost all of their small and midsize SUV models save for one, the C-HR. The reason for that sales decrease from 750 in Q1 2023 to 0 in Q1 2024 is that they are developing the second generation to come out for the US as a 2025 model.

Another manufacturer that saw significant increases in sales is Kia. Despite being part of Hyundai, Kia outsold its parent company in every measurable way, including in EVs with the EV6 crossover and EV9 SUV. The only vehicle from Kia that decreased in sales was the Niro small SUV, dropping to 7,475 units in Q1 2024 from 9,827 units in Q1 2023, a drop of 24%.

What might be more surprising is that companies that have gone all-in on SUVs, like GMC and Ford, have either maintained sales volumes, increased mildly, or in some important cases, lost significant sales.

Take, for example, the Ford Bronco. After a huge marketing push by the Blue Oval, the Bronco sold 32,430 units in Q1 2023. However, in Q1 2024, the total amount sold was only 24,066, a loss of 25.8%.

2023 Ford Bronco

It might be expected that the slightly more upmarket Bronco Sport model would pick up that slack, however it only increased from 29,871 units to 31,565 units year over year. That equates to an increase of just 5.7%.

The biggest losses, however, came to Chevrolet. Their only truly successful model year over year was the Trax crossover, while the Equinox and Blazer both stayed fairly stable with a variance of under 10% year over year.

Across the rest of their small and midsize SUVs, Chevrolet lost out. The Tahoe, for example, dropped from 27,256 in Q1 2023 to 24,208 in Q1 2024, a drop of 11.2%.

Large & Full Size SUVs

Chevrolet may have been hurting in the midsize segment, but in the large and full size market they took an absolute beating.

The Traverse, their largest SUVs, suffered dramatic losses. The Traverse dropped from 31,534 in Q1 2023 to just 17,474 units in Q1 2024, a loss of 44.6%.

2024 Chevrolet Traverse

A bit of an odd comparison happens in the import portion of the segment, with Acura losing a significant amount of sales on its big SUV, the MDX, while Honda, the parent company, increasing sales of its full sized SUV, the Pilot.

The Acura MDX decreased in sales from 15,223 in Q1 2023 to 11,141 in Q1 2024, a loss of 26.8%. The Honda Pilot, on the other hand, increased from 24,704 in 2023 to 30,051 in Q1 2024, an increase of 21.6%.

From Jeep, holding absolutely steady in sales, the Grand Cherokee, their full size offering, has a variance of under 1%. Q1 2023 saw 54,502 units moved, and Q1 2024 saw 54,455 units moved. This is the most steady model in the entire market, proving that at the very least one American manufacturer sub-brand has an offering that consumers are happy to keep buying en masse.

2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee

For the German imports, VW is the big winner as its Atlas and Atlas Sport full size offerings both have recorded gains year over year. The Atlas gained 42.9% to 16,261 units in Q1 2024, and the Atlas Sport gained 30,8% to 9,066 units in Q1 2024.

The Porsche Cayenne saw a dip from 4,742 to 3,262 units year over year, however that is because there is a mid-generation facelifted Cayenne coming in later 2024.

The Mercedes GLS SUV saw a small increase from 5,621 to 7,457 units year over year, however their SUV offerings are dwindling in trims and models as they move towards a more EV-centric strategy. They are one of the manufacturers that is aiming for 80% or greater EV models across the entire offerings by 2023.

The BMW X7 has stayed fairly stable, with sales in Q1 2023 of 6,770 units, and in Q1 2024 of 6,956 units.

Why So Much Variance?

If you really dig down deep into the numbers, a surprising correlation does appear. For some, the SUV is a status symbol, with the more luxury-oriented brands vying for these customers. However, as evidenced by “normal” brands like Honda, Kia, Toyota, and the like having superb sales growth, the modern customer is looking for two things: Value for money, and the option of a hybrid drive.

Every SUV that has seen increased sales has that second option, and also prices is quite fairly compared to non-hybrid offerings out there. This, specifically, is why we think that the Chevy Traverse has taken the beating it has, as across all four of its trims, there is not even a hint of a hybrid. This isn’t something difficult for GM to make, as evidenced by their smaller SUVs, cars, trucks, and even the Corvette having hybrid on offer.

We think that if an SUV manufacturer wants to win big in the next couple of years and recoup their sales, they will need to touch on those two significant points. Make a feature-packed, hybrid-optional, affordable SUV for the common consumer, and they will sell. All the importers have figured it out, and that’s why they’re winning right now.