The Bigger, The Better: Large SUVs Paced Industry Gains In April

May 3 2014, 12:48am CDT | by

Sales of large SUVs are coming back in a big way: Hulking utility vehicles — including the GMC Yukon, Toyota Land Cruiser and Ford Expedition — accounted for some of the very top percentage gains for major automakers in April compared with year-ago sales.

At least four factors could account for what seems to be a gathering boom in sales of some of the industry’s most expensive and highest-profit vehicles at this late stage of the U.S. auto-sales recovery, in a segment long given up for moribund.

First, rebounding confidence in the economy may be creating significant lift under sales of the heaviest SUVs. Second, gasoline prices have continued their recent stabilization between about $3.50 and $3.90 a gallon, sidelining the segment’s subpar gas mileage as a concern for many.

Third, more consumers are realizing that America’s new long-term security in domestic hydrocarbon-energy supplies provides some protection against their roomy new SUV becoming a dinosaur in a year or two.

And, fourth, there are some great new vehicles in this segment. General Motors completely recast its Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon this year, and the Toyota Highlander has been totally redesigned.

Interestingly, a mini-renaissance in this segment had the leaders achieving even higher-percentage year-on-year gains than pickup trucks, the industry’s other massive-profit category. And while small-business purchases of pickup trucks are a huge determinant of the trend in that segment, sales of SUVs are much more directly a reflection of consumer attitudes and financial capabilities.

Consider:

  • GMC Yukon sales rose by 137 percent in April over a year earlier, to 3,733 units, as GM filled the pipeline with units of the vastly redesigned new model. That percentage gain ranked No. 2 in the company’s entire model range. And for the year to date, Yukon sales were up 21 percent. Meanwhile, sales of the also-new Chevrolet Suburban rose by 32 percent in the month (although they were down by 12 percent for the year).
  • Sales of Toyota Land Cruiser were up by 25 percent for April and by 9 percent for the year to date, though at the low overall volume of 1,043 units. Meanwhile, sales of the high-volume 4Runner, about 1,400 pounds lighter than Land Cruiser, rose by 64 percent for the month and 30 percent for the year to date. And sales of Highlander, just 300 pounds lighter than 4Runner — backed by the model’s appealing redesign — surged by 28 percent for the month and 23 percent for the year, to 48,254 vehicles.
  • Even one of the oldest and heaviest SUVs in business, Ford Expedition, which hasn’t had a significant makeover in several years, found 35 percent more buyers in April than a year earlier, making it the No. 2-gaining nameplate across the Ford brand in percentage terms last month. For the year, Expedition sold 16 percent more.
 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
Our sister site I4U News is giving away a brand new iPad Air or if you can wait an iPad Air 2. This is an $499 value.
 
 
Your Parent Or Kid Moved In: Are You Covered?
A record 57 million Americans now live in multigenerational family households — double the number in 1980, according to a new Pew Research Center study. And I bet many of them have the wrong homeowner’s or renters...
 
 
Pandora Looks to Challenge Terrestrial Radio's Dominance in Cars
Pandora Media is one of the largest Internet radio providers in the U.S. with more than 75 million active users. While the company’s active user count has increased at a robust pace historically, it is likely to slow...
 
 
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
It’s January 2026. New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner gets out of his driverless car and triumphantly marches before the gathered press to introduce his prized new free agent. It’s a record-breaking contract—over...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Jewel doing good post split
Los Angeles, Sep 17 (IANS) Singer Jewel, who separated from Ty Murray, her husband of over six years, is not letting the split affect her. "I'm doing good!" the singer was quoted by people.com as saying. The 40-year-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
UN announces Israeli-Palestinian pact on rebuilding Gaza
United Nations, Sep 17 (IANS/EFE) The United Nations Tuesday announced an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip, devastated in the recent Israeli military offensive...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Canada announces further sanctions against Russia
Toronto, Sep 17 (IANS) Canada has imposed further economic sanctions and travel bans against Russia in support of Ukraine, Canadia's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Tuesday. Since the start of the Ukraine...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
US hails ratification of Ukraine-EU association agreement
Washington, Sep 17 (IANS) The US Tuesday congratulated the people of Ukraine on the ratification of the country's Association Agreement with the European Union(EU). "By forging ahead with this agreement in the face of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
One million newborns die within 24 hours of birth: UN
United Nations, Sep 17 (IANS) One million babies each year died within 24 hours of birth from mostly preventable causes, a UN report said Tuesday. The 2014 Committing to Child Survival, a Promise Renewed progress...
Read more on Business Balla
 
UN chief calls for unity at General Assembly session
United Nations, Sep 17 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday said the 69th session of the UN General Assembly (GA) opened as the world was confronted with an " unprecedented level of crisis" and called for...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Ebola epidemic spiraling out of control: Obama
Washington, Sep 17 (IANS) The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is "spiraling out of control" and posing a potential threat to global security, US President Barack Obama warned Tuesday. "If the outbreak is not stopped now...
Read more on Business Balla
 
My son has taught me about patience: Hilary Duff
Los Angeles, Sep 17 (IANS) Actress Hilary Duff can't really remember life without her two-year-old son Luca and says he has changed her completely. The "Chasing the sun" singer credits Luca, her son with estranged...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Scottish minister insists of using pound even if gets independence
Edinburg, Sep 17 (IANS) Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond Tuesday insisted that an independent Scotland could not be prevented from using the pound. In an interview with Sky TV news, Salmond reiterated his desire...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Portman 'honoured' to be face of Dior
Los Angeles, Sep 17 (IANS) Actress Natalie Portman says it is an "honour" to front campaigns for Dior and is constantly excited about working on new projects with the Parisian label. The "Black Swan" star, who has...
Read more on Celebrity Balla