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Bigger is Better: The Upsizing Trend

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Silverado LT LTZ High Country

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT, LTZ, and High Country, featured at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show

The Detroit Auto Show not only reveals exciting new models for major brands, but it also indicates the latest trends of the industry. This year’s show revealed one new trend in vehicle world: One upsizing.

A variety of models are now bigger than ever. Sedans, crossovers, and pickups have expanded in overall volume. According to USA Today, it’s because Americans (particularly millennials with growing families) are currently opting for spacious rides and fuel prices are at a reasonable price right now—two very positive factors contributing to this trend.

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2017 LaCrosse 
Photo: © General Motors

Ryan Beene, contributor with Automotive News, poses another reason for the fad. “Expanding a car’s footprint — the wheelbase multiplied by the track width — gives it a lower fuel-economy target to meet under the CAFE standards negotiated by automakers and regulators.” He points to the recent modifications of the 2017 Buick LaCrosse to illustrate upsizing; this version measured 1.2 inches wider while measuring 2.7 inches longer between the wheels. This slight increase in size enabled it to meet the CAFE target mpg of 36.3.

Last year’s sales trends indicated a passenger car sales declined by 10.9% (6.33 million) while larger vehicles in the SUV, van, and pickup categories rose 4.3% (10.9 million). The Denali trims of GMC’s larger models peaked in sales during 2017. Buick and Cadillac are experiencing healthy sales from their crossover and SUV offerings, as well.

2018 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate Black Edition

2018 GMC Yukon Denali

Jessica Caldwell with Edmunds commented on the current new vehicle sales market, acknowledging the shift toward bigger models. “There are fewer buyers in the market right now, but those who are there are not only feeling confident, they’re willing to shell out the extra cash to get a larger vehicle with all the bells and whistles.”

If the Detroit Auto Show is an accurate foreshadowing of consumer trends for 2018, then we can expect this trend to continue in the months ahead.

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News Source: USA Today, Jalopnik, Automotive News (subscription required), Business Insider