We may have spoken too soon. Despite earlier auto show debuts to the contrary, it turns out the U.S. vehicle market in 2017 is still dominated by consumer interest in SUVs.
Sales of cars and light trucks in the U.S. slipped 1.8 percent in January. The reason reportedly has something to do with whom automakers are choosing to sell to. Namely, automakers decreased bulk sales to rental, government and business fleet buyers and focused more on the individual consumer vehicle market.
And it turns out that fleet sales are skewed toward passenger cars. January numbers show that consumers still want SUVs, trucks and crossover vehicles over compact cars, according to Reuters.
Judy Wheeler, head of U.S. sales for Nissan, was quoted as saying, “It is the year for trucks and crossovers. That’s what it’s all about.”
Nissan reported that its Rogue SUV remained its top seller, seeing sales rise 45.5 percent this past January. Numbers from Autodata Corp. reportedly show that 62.6 percent U.S. vehicle sales in January were of SUVs and trucks, up from 58.2 percent a year ago.
All told, January sales fell 1.8 percent to 1.14 million vehicles, according to Autodata. Sales of Ford’s high-margin F-Series pickup truck rose 12.5 percent, while passenger cars sales dropped 17.5 percent. Honda and Nissan both reportedly saw sales gains sales gains of 6 percent in January, said Reuters, while Toyota Motor Corp. reported an 11 percent drop. And three different brands of compact SUV, the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Toyota’s RAV 4, outsold last year’s bestselling car, the Toyota Camry.
SUVs made up a majority of new vehicle models in 2016, meaning they made the most money and got the most advertising and prime showroom spots. While half of the 20 new models unveiled at this year’s Detroit Auto Show were sedans, station wagons and coupes, it seems that consumers weren’t convinced.