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

Second MERS case reported in Qatar
Doha, Oct 23 (IANS) A 43-year-old man in Qatar has tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the second confirmed case of the deadly virus in 10 days, media reported Thursday. The patient had...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Two people die in Pakistan bomb blast
Islamabad, Oct 23 (IANS) At least two people were killed and 12 others injured in an explosion that took place in Pakistan's Balochistan province Thursday, media reported. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle, Dawn...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Trott extends contract with Warwickshire till 2017
London, Oct 23 (IANS) England batsman Jonathan Trott, whose mental issues led to his abrupt departure from last winter's Ashes tour, has confirmed his successful comeback to competitive cricket by signing a new three-...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap big movers in BWF rankings
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings released Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Alvin Stardust dead
London, Oct 23 (IANS) English singer Alvin Stardust died after a short illness. He was 72. Stardust's manager confirmed the news about his demise Thursday, reports mirror.co.uk. He was recently diagnosed with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian man reunited with family after 40 years
Dubai, Oct 23 (IANS) An Indian man, who had disappeared from his hometown in Kerala nearly 40 years ago, has been found by his family at a hospital in Dubai in the UAE, a newspaper report said. Now in his 60s, Abdulla...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap, Saina rise in world rankings
Kala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest released Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Flintoff signs for Big Bash side Brisbane Heat
Brisbane, Oct 23 (IANS) Former England captain and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who retired from international cricket in 2009, Wednesday confirmed that he will play for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL) this...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
OPEC daily basket price falls again
Vienna, Oct 23 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $81.94 a barrel Wednesday compared to $82.09 Tuesday, the OPEC Secretariat said. The new OPEC...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lopez to sign multi-million dollar deal?
Los Angeles, Oct 23 (IANS) Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the final stages of securing a multi-million dollar deal to perform in Las Vegas. The 45-year-old is being offered $350,000 per show at The...
Read more on Celebrity Balla