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  • August 2015 Body-on-Frame SUV Sales: Big Percentages, Small Numbers

August 2015 Body-on-Frame SUV Sales: Big Percentages, Small Numbers

Expedition, Navigator Gain, Escalade Mixed

Sep 1, 2015
The jumbo-sized, old-school haulers of the SUV market are no longer the big-volume movers they used to be. But thanks to average transaction prices often well into the $50,000 realm and above, the models bring home big profits for the manufacturers. However, one look at the numbers makes it clear the money is being made on margin, not volume. The segment’s best-seller, the Chevrolet Tahoe, sold approximately one-third what its baby brother, the Equinox crossover, sold. Looking at the import brands, the gap is even more gaping, with the fullsize Toyota Sequoia selling only 1,048 units, compared to the RAV4’s 30,534.
The redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, now with EcoBoost V-6 power, sold in relatively small numbers in August, but both posted impressive percentage gains at 29.7 and 79.3 percent respectively.
1) Chevrolet Tahoe – 8,221, Up 0.1 Percent
The Tahoe is far and away the best seller in the large SUV market. Sales were down slightly in August, but with record-low fuel prices, the Tahoe could post a strong finish in the second half of 2015. Although fullsize SUVs aren’t particularly known for fuel economy, the Tahoe achieves a respectable 23 mpg highway in 2WD trim.
Photo 2/12   |   2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LT Front Three Quarter Turn
2) Chevrolet Suburban – 4,499, Down 21.7 Percent
Of the truly large fullsize SUVs, (Navigator L, Expedition EL, Escalade ESV) the Suburban is once again the sales leader. However, sales are less than half that of the Traverse crossover. This do-anything big SUV is appropriately built in Texas, coincidentally one of its largest markets.
Photo 3/12   |   2015 Chevrolet Suburban Premium Concept Front Three Quarters
3) GMC Yukon – 4,493, Down 4.7 Percent
See a pattern here? Yep, General Motors pretty much owns this segment. Between Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac, GM is undoubtedly the behemoth of the fullsize SUV market. If sales of all GM fullsize models were combined, it would be a significant 22,468 units, enough to put it comfortably in the Top 10 SUV sales list.
Photo 4/12   |   2015 GMC Yukon SLT Front View 02
4) Ford Expedition – 3,401, Up 29.7 Percent
The Expedition sold less than one-third the combined volume of the Tahoe and Suburban (Ford doesn’t break out Expedition and long-wheelbase EL figures) but posted a nearly 30 percent gain for August. The basic platform carries over, but the Expedition gets a freshened interior, as well as EcoBoost V-6 power for 2015.
Photo 5/12   |   2015 Ford Expedition Front Three Quarters 07
5) Cadillac Escalade/ESV – 3,080, Down 22.3 Percent/Up 4.2 Percent
August was a bit of a mixed bag for the Cadillac Escalade. Sales of the regular-wheelbase Escalade were down 22.3 percent at 1,770 units but were up 4.2 percent for the long-wheelbase ESV model at 1,310. The Escalade remains one of the biggest profit centers for the Cadillac brand.
Photo 6/12   |   2015 Cadillac Escalade Front Three Quarter
6) Lexus GX460 – 2,221, Up 1.0 Percent
Although seemingly somewhat dated with its live rear axle and body-on-frame construction when many of its marketplace rivals have gone to unibody, car-based chassis, the Lexus GX460 nonetheless sold an impressive 2,221 units for the month. However, rumors are that the GX’s successor will transition onto a more car-like platform.
Photo 7/12   |   2015 Lexus GX 460 Front Three Quarter
7) GMC Yukon XL – 2,175, Up 29.2 Percent
The Yukon XL splits the difference between the mass-market Suburban and the high-buck Escalade. You can option one out from fairly basic to lavishly luxurious in the Denali trim. August sales were up a robust 29.2 percent.
Photo 8/12   |   2015 GMC Yukon XL SLT Side View In Motion
8) Infiniti QX80 – 1,086, Up 14.4 Percent
The Infiniti QX80 is often overlooked by fullsize SUV shoppers but deserves serious consideration with its gutsy 400hp 5.6L V-8, comfortable ride, and luxurious accommodations. Built in Japan, the QX80 has a decidedly American personality, likely due to the Tennessee origins of its engine.
Photo 9/12   |   2015 Infiniti QX80 Front Three Quarter 04
9) Lincoln Navigator – 1,054, Up 79.3 Percent
Getting back to the theme of big percentages but small numbers, the Navigator posted just over 1,000 sales for August. While a drop in the bucket for mass-market brands, that nonetheless represented a big 79.3 percent increase over its August 2014 performance, when only 588 units were sold.
Photo 10/12   |   2015 Lincoln Navigator Front Three Quarters 02
10) Toyota Sequoia – 1,048, Up 14.8 Percent
GM may dominate sales for fullsize SUVs, but the Toyota Sequoia is a compelling offering for Toyota loyalists that need the power and size that the Sequoia offers. August sales were up a respectable 14.8 percent year over year.
Photo 11/12   |   2015 Toyota Sequoia Front Three Quarter 01
11) Nissan Armada – 891, Down 11.4 Percent
Unlike the Infiniti QX, which received a refresh in 2011, the Nissan Armada soldiers on essentially unchanged from when it debuted in 2004. It’s unknown if it will be replaced with a model based on the new Nissan Titan or discontinued altogether.
Photo 12/12   |   2015 Nissan Armada Front Side View

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