September 2013 SUV Sales: Ford Escape Back on Top, Subaru Forester Surges
Overall Sales Pace Cools, Toyota RAV4 Takes Third
Last month’s SUV sales numbers showed that the Honda CR-V surged ahead of the Ford Escape to grab the brass ring as the country’s best-seller. The Toyota RAV4 bumped off the Chevy Equinox again by a little more than 400 units, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee maintained its position as the best-selling midsize SUV, out-selling the Ford Explorer by more than 1200 units.
Further down the list, the Toyota Highlander fell out of the top 10, with the Subaru Forester taking ninth place for the month, and the Honda Pilot taking tenth for the month. However, overall volume and gains cooled considerably from a hot August, with only the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Subaru Forester showing double-digit gains. Six out of the 10 models showed a slight year-over-year decline.
1) Ford Escape – 22,607, Down 2.3 Percent
The Escape may have been hit hard by the CR-V in August, with a huge 45.1-percent surge for that month, but it came back out on top for September. Sales volume is down about 4000 units from August, but the CR-V is down even more. Even for year-to-date cumulative sales, the Escape and CR-V are less than 1000 units apart. It will be a close and hard-fought contest to see which one takes the overall sales crown for 2013.
2) Honda CR-V – 21,439, Down 3.7 Percent
Compared to its sizzling August performance, the CR-Vs pace and volume has cooled off by a big margin. But its numbers are still nothing to sneeze at, and as noted above, it still maintains a slim cumulative sales edge over the Escape for the year so far. The fact that it has fared as well as it has against a brand-new Escape is a testament to its popularity among buyers.
3) Toyota RAV4 – 15,928, Up 15.5 Percent
The RAV4 bumped the Equinox out of its traditional third-place spot once before in July, and takes third place again this month by a slim 485 units. Toyota has been pedal-to-the-metal with marketing and advertising for the compact SUV, with ample airtime. Zombies and kids seem to have replaced Kaley as the featured characters in the spots, but either way, consumers seem to be paying attention.
4) Chevrolet Equinox, 15,443, Down 2.5 Percent
The Equinox may have been shouldered out of its traditional third-place spot for September, but it continues to be Chevrolet's best-selling SUV model by a long shot, out-selling the Traverse and Tahoe by a nearly three-to-one margin. With the RAV4 Dropping its V-6 option for 2013, it remains one of the few compact crossovers still offering a V-6.
5) Jeep Grand Cherokee – 14,906, Up 19 Percent
Although not selling quite as hot as it has in the past few months, the Grand Cherokee still had a strong double-digit showing for September, with consumers responding favorably to the updates on the 2014 model, including a standard eight-speed automatic across the board, with the improved fuel economy that comes with it. The addition of the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel will likely help it in the months ahead, as those models start appearing in dealer showrooms.
6) Ford Explorer – 13,655, Up 1.5 Percent
With the overall SUV market down for September, the Explorer's 1.5-percent year-over-year gain is still a win, although not as resounding as in months past. The Explorer's variety of trims, features, and powertrains has kept it popular with shoppers. It holds a slight year-to-date sales advantage over the Grand Cherokee, but there are still three months to go for the year, so who ends up taking the midsize sales crown is anyone's guess.
7) Jeep Wrangler – 11,984, Down 1 Percent
The Wrangler is down slightly for September, but still remains a solid five-figure-a-month seller. It remains one of the brand's "dual pillars," but with the new Cherokee about to roll into showrooms (finally!) it may have to be satisfied with being the third leg.
8) Nissan Rogue – 11,353, Down 6.2 Percent
With an all-new model around the corner, and arriving in showrooms any week now, the Rogue continues to be a star player for Nissan. So much so, that the current Rogue will continue to sell into 2014 as the Rogue Select alongside the new 2014 model.
9) Subaru Forester – 10,620, Up 75.1 Percent
The Forester was Subaru's best-selling model for September, and posting a whopping 75.1-percent year-over-year gain. Packing and impressive amount of safety technology, as well as earning the IIHS's coveted Top Safety Pick+, consumers are noticing Subaru's compact crossover player more than ever.
10) Honda Pilot – 9659, Down 3.8 Percent
Despite a design that's showing its age somewhat, the Pilot still attracts a lot of customers with its no-nonsense practicality and proven track record. We're looking forward to the next-generation model coming in the next year or two, incorporating many of the refinements seen on the 2014 Acura MDX. But if you still place a higher priority on practicality and function than dynamic performance, the Pilot remains a solid choice.