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SUVs and CUVs - US - April 2012

This report explores the SUV and CUV market in the U.S. It provides insight into the external and internal factors affecting vehicle unit sales and what they mean for future sales, marketing campaigns, and industry innovations. Specific questions that are answered in this report include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How did the rise in fuel prices in 2008 affect sales?
  • How did pent-up demand due to the recession contribute to sales?
  • How are automakers differentiating SUVs from CUVs and how has that affected unit sales of each segment?
  • What are the sales trends of SUVs and CUVs respective to each automaker?
  • How will current rising gas prices and federal standards for fuel efficiency affect future sales?
  • Which demographics are planning to purchase SUVs and CUVs over the next two years?
  • What is the average price paid for these vehicles?
  • How are SUVs and CUVs marketed? What are examples of innovative campaigns?
  • How do potential buyers research these vehicles; what do they rely on most or least for information?
  • What qualities of SUVs and CUVs matter most? What qualities matter least?
  • Do buyers prefer financing or cash in the purchase of SUVs or CUVs? What kinds of financing are preferred?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                      • The market
                          • Figure 1: Fan chart forecast of U.S. unit sales of new SUVs and CUVs, 2006-16
                        • Market factors
                          • Rising fuel prices threatening to become the “new normal”
                              • Figure 2: U.S. regular conventional retail gasoline prices, by first week in April, 2002-12
                            • Pent-up consumer demand to buy is growing
                              • Figure 3: Average age of light trucks, 1995-2011
                            • Consumers driving less, threatening need for larger vehicles
                              • Figure 4: Consumer vehicle miles traveled, all U.S. roads and streets, 1998-2011
                            • Segmentation
                              • The consumer
                                • Consumers are holding off from planned SUV/CUV purchasing
                                  • Figure 5: Plans to buy an SUV/CUV in the next two years, by age, December 2011
                                • Consumers view safety, reliability, comfort as most important features
                                  • Figure 6: Importance of features on an SUV/CUV, December 2011
                                • Primary reason why consumers do not own an SUV/CUV: cost of gas
                                  • Figure 7: Reasons for no longer owning/planning to buy an SUV/CUV (previous owners), December 2011
                                • Test drive trumps all other outlets consumers use to make purchasing decision
                                  • Figure 8: Resources used in the SUV/CUV buying process, by age, December 2011
                                • Hispanics most likely to be planning an SUV/CUV purchase
                                  • Figure 9: Plans to buy an SUV/CUV in the next two years, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                • What we think
                                • Insights and Opportunities

                                  • Emphasize how larger vehicles are perfect fits for hybrid technology
                                    • Emphasize practical use of vehicles though customized features
                                      • Showcase durability, utility of vehicles via fleet use
                                      • Inspire Insights

                                          • Inspire trend: Access All Areas
                                            • Inspire trend: Green Technology
                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                              • Key points
                                                • Market forecasted to continue growth through 2016
                                                  • Figure 10: Total U.S. unit sales of new SUVs and CUVs, 2006-16
                                                • Light truck unit sales increased 12% in 2011
                                                  • Figure 11: Total U.S. sales of new light trucks, 2006-11
                                                • Fan chart forecast
                                                    • Figure 12: Fan chart forecast of U.S. unit sales of new SUVs and CUVs, 2006-16
                                                • Market Drivers

                                                  • Escalating fuel prices threaten SUV, CUV segments
                                                      • Figure 13: U.S. regular conventional retail gasoline prices, by first week in April, 2002-2012
                                                    • Consumers holding onto SUVs longer creating pent-up demand
                                                      • Figure 14: Average age of light trucks, 1995-2011
                                                    • Declines in vehicle use reflect consumer hesitation at gas pump
                                                      • Figure 15: Consumer vehicle miles traveled, all U.S. roads and streets, 1998-2011
                                                    • Safety concerns may add to fuel price scrutiny
                                                    • Segment Performance—SUVs vs. CUVs

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • CUVs dominate SUV market, representing 83% of unit sales in 2011
                                                            • Figure 16: Total U.S. unit sales of new SUVs and CUVs, 2006-16
                                                        • Segment Performance—SUVs

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • SUV unit sales threatened by rising fuel prices, recession stigma
                                                                • Figure 17: U.S. unit sales of new SUVs, segmented by type, 2006-11
                                                                • Figure 18: Change in U.S. unit sales of new SUVs, segmented by type, 2006-11
                                                              • Low/middle category likely losing market share due to CUV competition
                                                                • Figure 19: Total U.S. unit sales of new SUVs, by segment, 2009 and 2011
                                                            • Segment Performance—CUVs

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • CUV unit sales increasing since 2010, indicative of fuel price worries
                                                                    • Figure 20: U.S. unit sales of new CUVs, segmented by type, 2006-11
                                                                    • Figure 21: Change in U.S. unit sales of new CUVs, segmented by type, 2006-11
                                                                  • Middle/upper CUV segment dominates unit sales
                                                                    • Figure 22: Total U.S. unit sales of new CUVs, by segment, 2009 and 2011
                                                                • Brand Performance—Domestics

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • General Motors
                                                                        • Figure 23: General Motors Company total U.S. SUV/CUV unit sales, 2006-11
                                                                      • Ford Motor Company
                                                                          • Figure 24: Ford Motor Company total U.S. SUV/CUV unit sales, 2006-11
                                                                        • Chrysler LLC
                                                                            • Figure 25: Chrysler Group total U.S. SUV/CUV unit sales, 2006-11
                                                                        • Brand Performance—Imports

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Toyota Motor Corporation
                                                                                • Figure 26: Toyota total U.S. SUV/CUV unit sales, 2006-11
                                                                              • American Honda
                                                                                • Figure 27: American Honda total U.S. SUV/CUV unit sales, 2006-11
                                                                              • Hyundai-Kia
                                                                                • Figure 28: Hyundai-Kia total U.S. SUV/CUV unit sales, 2006-11
                                                                              • Nissan North America
                                                                                • Figure 29: Nissan North America total U.S. SUV/CUV unit sales, 2006-11
                                                                              • Jaguar Land Rover North America
                                                                                  • Figure 30: Jaguar Land Rover North America total U.S. SUV/CUV unit sales, 2006-11
                                                                              • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                • Fiat announces CUV/SUV-style models for mini car buyers
                                                                                  • Ford, Mercedes-Benz introduce self-parking technology for SUVs, CUVs
                                                                                    • GM launches first-ever front-center airbags for CUVs
                                                                                      • Bentley expands super-luxury category with inaugural SUV
                                                                                        • Company converts luxury SUV brands into all-electric vehicles
                                                                                        • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                          • Strategy: Making SUVs feel “cool” to young parents in transition
                                                                                              • Figure 31: Ford “Suburban Dictionary” promotion, January 2012
                                                                                            • Strategy: Using environmentalism to emphasize gas savings
                                                                                                • Figure 32: Mazda “Lorax” promotion, February 2012
                                                                                              • Strategy: Building a prime time TV show specifically to launch a brand
                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Ford “Escape Routes” promotion, March 2012
                                                                                                • Strategy: Emphasizing heritage and Motor City pride
                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Chevrolet Equinox ad, See why Chevy drives the Motor City, July 2011
                                                                                                • Strategy: Highlighting technology to endorse safety, ease of use
                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Acura MDX ad, “knows you, fits you, listens to you,” June 2011
                                                                                                • Strategy: Stressing affordability upfront a primary appeal of vehicle
                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Chevrolet Equinox ad, “we all want more for our money,” June 2011
                                                                                              • Plans to Purchase SUV or CUV Over Next Two Years

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Majority of respondents not planning to buy SUV/CUV over next two years
                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Plans to buy an SUV/CUV in the next two years, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                  • Purchasing plans least likely among least wealthy household respondents
                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Plans to buy an SUV/CUV in the next two years, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                  • Households with three and more most likely to plan SUV purchase
                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Plans to buy an SUV/CUV in the next two years, by household size, December 2011
                                                                                                  • Respondents from households with 2+ kids most likely to plan SUV purchase
                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Plans to buy an SUV/CUV in the next two years, by presence of children in household, December 2011
                                                                                                  • CUV owners are aspirational in planning to purchase an SUV
                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Plans to buy an SUV/CUV in the next two years, by ownership, December 2011
                                                                                                • Brand Perception

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Chevrolet, Ford perceived as comfortable alongside Cadillac, Lexus
                                                                                                        • Figure 42: SUV and CUV brand perception, part 1, December 2011
                                                                                                      • Japanese, Korean automakers considered more fuel efficient
                                                                                                          • Figure 43: SUV and CUV Brand perception, part 2, December 2011
                                                                                                          • Figure 44: SUV and CUV Brand perception map, December 2011
                                                                                                      • Importance of Features on an SUV/CUV

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Respondents view safety, reliability, comfort top features of SUVs/CUVs
                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Importance of features on an SUV/CUV, December 2011
                                                                                                          • Youngest respondents view lifestyle upgrades as important
                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Important features on an SUV/CUV, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                          • Fuel efficiency highest for respondents from homes earning $25K-49.9K
                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Important features on an SUV/CUV, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                        • Reasons for Not Owning an SUV/CUV Anymore

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • High gas prices primary reason why respondents no longer own SUVs/CUVs
                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Reasons for no longer owning/planning to buy an SUV/CUV (previous owners), December 2011
                                                                                                          • Reasons for Not Owning an SUV/CUV or Not Planning to Buy One

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Purchase price, running costs preventing respondents from purchasing
                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Reasons for not being interested in an SUV/CUV (never owned), by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                              • Young respondents most concerned about sticker price, running costs
                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Reasons for not being interested in an SUV/CUV (never owned), by age, December 2011
                                                                                                              • Lowest-earning households most concerned about SUV/CUV purchase costs
                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Reasons for not being interested in an SUV/CUV (never owned), by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                              • Households with 2+ children less concerned about environmental aspects
                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Reasons for not being interested in an SUV/CUV (never owned), by presence of children in household, December 2011
                                                                                                              • Rural respondents most concerned over sticker price of SUVs/CUVs
                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Reasons for not being interested in an SUV/CUV (never owned), by urban area, December 2011
                                                                                                            • Resources Used in the SUV/CUV Buying Process

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Test drive prevails as top respondent choice for researching SUVs/CUVs
                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Resources used in the SUV/CUV buying process, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                                  • Online reviews, articles preferred most by suburban respondents
                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Resources used in the SUV/CUV buying process, by urban area, December 2011
                                                                                                                  • German brand owners most likely to consult family, friends
                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Resources used in the SUV/CUV buying process, by brands, December 2011
                                                                                                                • Attitudes toward SUV/CUV Ownership

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • SUV/CUV owners agree fuel economy is a worry
                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Attitudes toward SUV/CUV ownership, December 2011
                                                                                                                    • Younger consumers most likely to feel conflicted about ownership
                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Attitudes toward SUV/CUV ownership, by age, December 2011
                                                                                                                      • Least wealthy households most likely to agree about gas costs
                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Attitudes toward SUV/CUV ownership, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                      • Cargo space appreciated most by respondents from larger families
                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Attitudes toward SUV/CUV ownership, by presence of children in household, December 2011
                                                                                                                      • Urban respondents most likely to respond to “green” messaging
                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Attitudes toward SUV/CUV ownership, by urban area, December 2011
                                                                                                                    • Features Currently Installed in SUVs/CUVs

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Respondents aged 25-34 most likely to drive vehicles with security systems
                                                                                                                          • Figure 62: Features installed in current SUV/CUV, by age, October 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                        • Respondents from $100K+ households most likely to have navigation
                                                                                                                          • Figure 63: Features installed in current SUV/CUV, by household income, October 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                      • Payment Method When Buying an SUV/CUV

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Bank loans, automaker financing more preferred in SUV/CUV purchase
                                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Payment method for SUV/CUV purchase, May 2004-June 2011
                                                                                                                        • Spend on an SUV/CUV

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • One third of respondents purchased between $20K-29.9K
                                                                                                                              • Figure 65: Amount spent on SUV purchase, May 2006-June 2011
                                                                                                                            • Mean spend for SUV/CUV purchase/lease increases with age
                                                                                                                              • Figure 66: Amount spent on SUV purchase, by age, October 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                            • Mean spend increases with household income
                                                                                                                              • Figure 67: Amount spent on SUV purchase, by household income, October 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                          • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Hispanics most likely to be planning a CUV purchase
                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Plans to buy an SUV/CUV in the next two years, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                              • Black respondents most likely to view navigation systems as important
                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Important features on an SUV/CUV, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                              • Hispanics most likely concerned about fuel costs of SUV driving
                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Attitudes toward SUV/CUV ownership, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2011
                                                                                                                              • Twice as many Asians as the average have navigation systems
                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Features installed in current SUV by race/Hispanic origin, October 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                              • Mean price paid for SUVs/CUVs higher for Asian respondents
                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Amount spent on SUV purchase by race/Hispanic origin, October 2010-June 2011
                                                                                                                            • Appendix

                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Plans to buy an SUV/CUV in the next two years, by urban area, December 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Importance of features on an SUV/CUV, by gender, December 2011
                                                                                                                                • Figure 75: Resources used in the SUV/CUV buying process, by household income, December 2011
                                                                                                                            • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                                              • AB Volvo
                                                                                                                              • Alliance Of Automobile Manufacturers, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
                                                                                                                              • American Suzuki Motor Corporation
                                                                                                                              • Audi of America Inc
                                                                                                                              • AutoInfo U.S. (Morgan & Company)
                                                                                                                              • Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
                                                                                                                              • Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)
                                                                                                                              • Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA)
                                                                                                                              • Automotive Trade Association Executives (ATAE)
                                                                                                                              • Bentley (USA)
                                                                                                                              • BMW of North America, LLC
                                                                                                                              • Chrysler LLC
                                                                                                                              • Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVA)
                                                                                                                              • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • Fiat Auto
                                                                                                                              • Ford Motor Company (USA)
                                                                                                                              • General Motors Corporation
                                                                                                                              • GMAC Mortgage Group, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • Hyundai Motor America
                                                                                                                              • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute
                                                                                                                              • Jaguar Cars North America
                                                                                                                              • Kia Motors America, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • Land Rover North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • Maserati S. p. A.
                                                                                                                              • Mazda North American Operations
                                                                                                                              • Mercedes-Benz USA
                                                                                                                              • Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • Morgan Stanley
                                                                                                                              • National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries (NAATBatt)
                                                                                                                              • National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
                                                                                                                              • National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (NBC)
                                                                                                                              • National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA)
                                                                                                                              • National Independent Automobile Dealership Association (NIADA)
                                                                                                                              • Nissan North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA)
                                                                                                                              • Saab Cars North America
                                                                                                                              • Subaru of America, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • Tire Industry Association
                                                                                                                              • Toyota Motor Corporation USA
                                                                                                                              • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                              • U.S. Department of Transportation
                                                                                                                              • U.S. News & World Report, L.P.
                                                                                                                              • University of Michigan, The
                                                                                                                              • US Department of Commerce
                                                                                                                              • Volkswagen AG
                                                                                                                              • Volkswagen of America, Inc.
                                                                                                                              • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                              SUVs and CUVs - US - April 2012

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