After the latest Great Recession, sport utility vehicles were rapidly discarded as gas-guzzling relics. But the vehicles have just as fast metamorphosed from the dealer’s pariah to the people’s choice.
How is that possible in the span of less than a decade? Sedans, which have dominated sales for many decades, have lost the leadership to SUVs – according to automotive researcher IHS, as this year’s sales through May showed the first commended 35.4 % of new auto deliveries, while the latter made up 36.5%.
“The SUV was once seen as a premium vehicle by most consumers, but they’re a lot cheaper now than they used to be,” said Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds.com auto analyst. “There’s still the high-end, luxury SUV, but there’s an extremely diverse range of prices since they come in all sizes and styles now.”
“These SUVs have an inherent appeal to consumers since they combine benefits you can get from having a truck or a car,” adds IHS Automotive analyst Tom Libby. “The manufacturers have had to bring out more models. So now, you have these crossovers of all sizes from all brands.”
The well-known – with less than stellar mileage – big SUVs, such as the GMC Yukon or the Chevrolet Tahoe, with their full-size, truck-style, body-on-frame platforms continue to exist and sell quite well. But the real drivers of growth are the nimble, small and compact SUVs. From high-end offers like the Porsche Macan to popular choices like Honda’s CR-V, the automakers have something for everybody.