The American love affair with SUVs and crossovers has pushed the segments to a new milestone.
SUVs and crossovers combined accounted for 36.5 percent of the U.S. light-vehicle market through May compared with the sedan segment’s 35.4 percent share.
It marks the first time SUV and crossover retail registrations have surpassed sedans, IHS Automotive said.
“These vehicles offer the combination of appealing features associated with both cars and light trucks,” IHS Automotive analyst Tom Libby said in a statement. “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.”
Through the first five months of 2014, the SUV and crossover segments combined posted a 2.6 percentage point increase in market share compared with the same period in 2013. At the end of 2013, SUVs and crossovers combined for 34.4 percent of the market, while sedans still led the market with a 36.3 percent share.
SUV gains this year are led by the new Jeep Cherokee, which has quickly grabbed 47.2 percent of the mid-sized SUV market, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
The Cherokee was launched at the right time, as SUVs and crossovers gained popularity, and it is “in the sweet spot” for sizing, Libby said. “The Jeep brand is strong … it has no direct competitors.”
IHS Automotive said sales of the Nissan Rogue, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon are also driving market-share gains for SUVs and crossovers.
The sedan segment isn’t the only one losing market share to SUVs and crossovers. Demand for pickups and hatchbacks has cooled considerably, with each losing 0.5 percentage points of share in the past year, according to IHS Automotive.