In the first five months of 2014, the number of U.S. retail registrations of sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossover-utility vehicles (CUVs) surpassed the the number of registrations for sedans. This marks the first time in decades that any vehicle other than a sedan has been the most registered vehicle in the U.S.
Through the end of May, 35.6% of all new vehicle registrations in the U.S. were related to SUVs and CUVs. Sedans posted 35.4% of all registrations followed by pickup trucks with 13.1%. The data was collected and analyzed by IHS Automotive, a division of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).
IHS attributes the increase to both product innovation and newly introduced models of some venerable SUVs. The Jeep Cherokee from Chrysler Group LLC, for example, has sold more than 80,000 units through June and has driven Jeep sales up 45% year-over-year.
General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) revamped its Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon this year and Tahoe sales nearly doubled year-over-year in June and Yukon sales more than doubled. An IHS manager said:
These vehicles offer the combination of appealing features associated with both cars and light trucks, including a higher seating position, higher ground clearance, softer ride, more interior space, optional four-wheel or all-wheel drive, and towing capacity, among others. Combined with the successful launches of all-new models and the introduction of redesigned existing products, these body styles offer a compelling option for the market.
As long as gasoline prices remain relatively moderate (below $4 a gallon on average), U.S. drivers are likely to continue buying SUVs and CUVs in big numbers.