Sales of SUVs continued their upward march in February, growing 24 per cent compared to the same month in 2014.
This figure was well ahead of the total market growth over the month of 4.2 per cent, which was pegged back by a 6.6 per cent reduction in passenger car sales.
All told, 35.4 per cent of total new car, commercial and truck sales in February were SUVs.
Unsurprisingly, more and more potential passenger car sales are turning into SUV sales instead, especially at the small end of that market, which grew a staggering 50 per cent alone.
The fact that SUVs are in vogue isn’t really news, but here is a more detailed segment-by-segment breakdown of the high-riding market.
Note: segments here are as defined by industry sales tally VFACTS, and serve as a guide.
There were 9233 small SUVs sold last month, up 52 per cent. Sales grew 49 per cent in the under $40K section of the market to 8382, but an even more impressive 84 per cent in the above $40K area to 851 units.
The top-seller, as usual, was the Hyundai ix35 with 1856 sales in the same month as its Tucson successor was named. But we also saw strong months from the Mitsubishi ASX (1451) and Nissan Qashqai (1126).
Behind them, and marking a very impressive first showing, was the new Honda HR-V over its first month on sale. It registered 825 sales to give Honda a welcome boost. It also beat out the Subaru XV (756), Volkswagen Tiguan (617), Holden Trax (337), Nissan Juke (241) Jeep Compass (220) and the newly launched Renault Captur, with an impressive 176 sales.
What about at the top end of town? The Audi Q3 topped the charts with 278 sales, edging out the Mercedes-Benz GLA (246) and the Lexus NX (208). We’re not entirely sure the Lexus ought to be classified here, but hey. The BMW X1 had 81 sales, and the Mini Countryman (38).
There were 10,507 of these medium (once called compact) SUVs sold in February. The vast majority were in the sub-$60K area that grew 13 per cent, though there were 1142 sales of models in the above $60K class (up 24 per cent).
Two staples, the Honda CR-V (599) and soon-to-be-updated Subaru Forester (468) were down 26 per cent and 60 per cent apiece. The Holden Captiva 5 (249), Ford Kuga (240), Suzuki Grand Vitara (195), and Renault Koleos (65).
At the luxury end of the segment, Audi again reigned supreme. The Q5 netted 340 sales, beating out the BMW X3 (266), Range Rover Evoque (257), Volvo XC60 (100), Porsche Macan (68), Land Rover Freelander (65) and BMW X4 (46).
Large SUVs have taken over from medium SUVs are the most popular body type — a by-product of small SUVs stealing their bigger cousins’ thunder.
Sales at this end of the market grew 19 per cent in February, with 11,330 units sold: 9540 from the sub-$70K class and 1790 from the above $70K class.
Numero uno was the Jeep Grand Cherokee (1134), narrowly ahead of the Toyota Kluger (1099), Prado (1040), the newly launched Subaru Outback (890, in an impressive early run in its model cycle) and Ford Territory (783).
Next was the Holden Captiva 7 (761), Mitsubishi Pajero (593), Hyundai Santa Fe (565), Nissan Pathfinder (491) and Isuzu MU-X (481). The next tier is hotly contested, with the Mitsubishi Challenger (313), Mazda CX-9 (310) and Kia Sorento (303 as it nears replacement) all there or thereabouts.
Other offerings include the Jeep Wrangler (188), Holden Colorado 7 (176), Toyota FJ Cruiser (118), Fiat Freemont (110) and its Dodge Journey twin (101), the Nissan Murano (37), Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (31) and SsangYong Rexton (16).
At the high-roller end of town, the BMW X5 dominated with 523 sales, ahead of the Land Rover Discovery (281), Volkswagen Touareg (261), Mercedes-Benz M-Class (148), Range Rover Sport (145), Lexus RX (130), Audi Q7 (112) and Porsche Cayenne (90).
Finally, there’s the upper large SUV segment, the only part of the market to drop — down 6 per cent.
In the sub-$100K class it’s a two-horse race: the Toyota LandCruiser (678) and the Nissan Patrol (169). In the luxury part of the area, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (68), beat out the Lexus LX (26), Range Rover (23) and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen (5).