The fact that SUV registrations are steaming along is not exactly going under-reported, but here is a more detailed breakdown from the month of February.
SUVs achieved a market share in February (VFACTS) of 38.2 per cent, not far shy of the share of passenger cars (41). This is half the differential of just one year ago.
Of the 36,865 SUVs that were registered in February, 14,450 were in the Medium category (making this the second most popular segment after Small Cars), 11,818 were classified Large, 9591 were Small and 1006 were Upper Large.
Sales at the small end of town were up 6.3 per cent, but among the mainstream offerings, they were steady against 2015’s figure. Could the boom here be slowing?
The market leaders were the cut-price Mitsubishi ASX (1621, up 11.7 per cent and owning annual leadership), the Mazda CX-3 (1381), Honda HR-V (a strong 1152, up 40 per cent) and the Nissan Qashqai (1135, up 0.8 pr cent).
Tier two players were the Subaru XV (614, down 19.7 per cent), Holden Trax (455, up 35 per cent), Volkswagen Tiguan (410, down 33.5 per cent), Suzuki Vitara (367), Ford EcoSport (249, up 256 per cent), Nissan Juke (216, down 10.4 per cent) and Suzuki Jimny (104, up 28.4 per cent).
At the top end of this segment, the Audi Q3 (469, up 68.7 per cent), beat the BMW X1 (374, off to a strong start in new-generation form), Mercedes-Benz GLA (297, up 20.7 per cent) and Mini Countryman (56, up 47.4 per cent).
Medium SUVs were the real movers and shakers in February, up 34.9 per cent. The sub-$60K mainstream models grew by 25.3 per cent.
Topping the segment were the Mazda CX-5 (2156, up 3.4 per cent), Hyundai Tucson (another great month, with 1849 units), Nissan X-Trail (1669, down 4.2 per cent), Toyota RAV4 (1514, up 4.2 per cent), Subaru Forester (1051, up 125 per cent) and Mitsubishi Outlander (1035, up 26.8 per cent).
What’s interesting here is that the Tucson, a new badge (well, strictly speaking, a returned one), has added to the segment incrementally.
Tier two players were the Honda CR-V (742, up 23.9 per cent), Kia Sportage (580, own 15.2 per cent), Ford Kuga (490, up 104.2 per cent), Jeep Cherokee (206, down 70.8 per cent) and Suzuki Grand Vitara (132, down 32.3 per cent). The axed Land Rover Defender, oddly classified here, also managed 145 in its final month, up 138 per cent.
At the top end of town, the Mercedes-Benz GLC won with 536, ahead of the Land Rover Discovery Sport (431). Neither of these were on sale in February 2015. Next was the BMW X3 (394, up 48 per cent), then Porsche Macan (306, up 350 per cent), Lexus NX (304, up 46.2 per cent), Volvo XC60 (226, up 126 per cent), Range Rover Evoque (191, down 25.7 per cent), the ageing Audi Q5 (168, down 51 per cent) and the BMW X4 (159, up 246 per cent).
Remarkably, registrations of premium mid-sized SUVs grew 101.1 per cent for the month, meaning they doubled.
In February last year, the Large SUV segment had the lion’s share of SUV sales overall, but the Medium SUV market eclipsed it last month.
Neverthless, sales here still grew, just at a slower rate of 4.3 per cent. Mainstream versions (classified as having entry points below $70,000) were broadly stable.
The leader as usual was the Toyota Prado (1295, up 24.5 per cent), ahead of its softer cousin, the Kluger (959, down 12.7 per cent). Next were the family friendly Subaru Outback (869, down 2.4 per cent) and Holden Captiva 7 (834, up 9.6 per cent).
Fifth was the plummeting Jeep Grand Cherokee on 770, down 32.1 per cent, ahead of the Ford Territory (580, down 25.9 per cent), Nissan Pathfinder (537, up 9.4 per cent), the more rugged Izuzu MU-X (508, up 5.6 per cent) and discounted Mitsubishi Pajero (455, down 23.3 per cent).
Next was the Hyundai Santa Fe (423, down 25.1 per cent), Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (396, off to a good start), Kia Sorento (391, up 29 per cent in its new generation), Ford Everest (377), Toyota Fortuner (336), Holden Colorado 7 (232, up 32 per cent) and Mazda CX-9 (175, down 43.5 per cent).
At the luxury end of town, the leader was the BMW X5 with 451 sales, down 13.8 per cent, ahead of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE (365, including coupe), Land Rover Discovery (319, up 13.5 per cent), Range Rover Sport (250, up 72.4 per cent), Audi Q7 (220, up 96.4 per cent), Volkswagen Touareg (166, down 36.4 per cent), new Lexus RX (154, up 18.5 per cent) and Porsche Cayenne (134, up 48.9 per cent). The BMW X6 managed 91, up 160 per cent.
Upper large SUV sales grew 3.8 per cent to 1006. The Toyota LandCruiser (679, stable) beat the Nissan Patrol (176, up 4.1 per cent). The Mercedes-Benz GL (80, up 17.6 per cent) beat the Range Rover (35, up 52.2 per cent) and Lexus LX (20, down 23.1 per cent). Mercedes sold 8 G-Wagens, while Infiniti sold 4 QX80s.
Top SUV brands
On a macro level, Toyota topped the charts with 4869 SUV sales (up 11 per cent), ahead of Nissan (3735, down 2.3 per cent), Mazda (3712, up 51.8 per cent), Mitsubishi (3516, up 10.8 per cent), Subaru (2534, up 194 per cent), Hyundai (2282, down 5.7 per cent), Honda (1894, up 33 per cent), Ford (1696, up 55.2 per cent), Holden (1529, steady) and BMW (1469, up 54.5 per cent).