As numbers were being steadily released early on Monday, it became increasingly clear that January 2014 was not the brightest of months for the U.S. auto industry. Compared with the first month in 2010, 2011, and 2012, auto sales were higher. But contrasted with January 2013, new vehicle sales were down 3%.
A closer look at specific vehicles, however, shows that one vehicle category was mostly spared the wrath of winter. Customers looking for utility vehicles – SUVs and CUVs and crossovers and whatever-you-wanna-call-thems – arrived at dealers in larger numbers in January 2014 than they did a year ago.
True, sales of the leading Ford Escape declined 2.4%, but it still outsold 2013’s best-selling utility vehicle, the Honda CR-V. Sales of the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Explorer, Ford Edge, Kia Sorento, GMC Terrain, Honda Pilot, and Dodge Journey also declined, but the majority of the 20 top sellers sold more often this January than last. And in some cases, the increases were significant.
Toyota RAV4 sales shot up by 5270 units, year-over-year. Nissan Rogue sales rose by 4880 units. The Subaru Forester’s 4206-unit gain wasn’t far off the pace set by two of its three better-selling Japanese rivals. Acura MDX volume increased by 1666 units, the biggest volume increase among premium brand utility vehicles.
At the SUV-only brands, Jeep reported improved sales of every continuing model while also adding 10,505 sales via the new Cherokee. 36,291 Cherokees have been sold in the United States since it replaced the Liberty in September. At Land Rover, increases were posted by four out of five models – only Evoque sales dropped – and the brand was up 11%.
In total, SUV and crossover sales grew 5% in January 2014.
There were important improvements introduced in October’s ranking of vehicle sales. Prior year figures now include the actual numbers from last year, not just the percentage increase from last year. As a result, included in this year’s rankings are vehicles like the Suzuki Grand Vitara and Jeep Liberty, nameplates which collected sales last January but not this year. At any time, click the Rank column to return to the original format. If you’re on a mobile device, you may need to choose the full version of the site (at the bottom of the page) in order to use the sortable function.
You can sort SUVs and crossovers by January volume by clicking the January column header, or you can rank SUVs/crossovers by improvements or declines using the % columns. Or, most importantly, you can list automakers together by selecting the SUV/Crossover column header.
As always, you can find historical monthly and yearly sales figures for any of these vehicles by selecting a make and model at GCBC’s Sales Stats page.
* Italicized unranked lines are nothing more than available breakdowns, already included in the model’s total, not in addition to the model’s total.
^ Escalade here does not include sales of the EXT, which is shown with pickup trucks. Rather than listing the 500L with the Mini Paceman and Countryman in these SUV/crossover rankings, it’s with cars in large part because it is not available with all-wheel-drive. The placement of numerous crossovers often prompts disagreement, but consider the vehicle type’s name: crossover. By its very definition, it crosses over from one category into another. The very act of calling, for example, the Toyota Venza a car or a utility vehicle requires ignorance of the fact that the Venza (or Outback, Crosstour, Encore, Countryman, 500L) is a square peg that can’t be squeezed through a round hole.