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IHS Markit Loyalty Data: Crossovers and SUVs Are, Like, So Hot Right Now

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Buick brought a new Encore crossover to the 2017 Chicago Auto Show

2017 Buick Encore AWD

Know what’s really hot right now? You know, apart from the weather, RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 winner Sasha Velour, fidget spinners, and the takes being issued by suited pundits on various news programs? Crossovers. The most logical and obvious answer.

According to IHS Markit, SUV and crossover loyalty is at an all-time high, with nearly two-thirds of all SUV and crossover owners purchasing a new vehicle in the first third of 2017 sticking with similar vehicles. Utility vehicle loyalty in the first quarter totaled 66.2%, trending in the direction of full-year growth from 63.4% loyalty from SUV/CUV customers in 2016.

“The exceptionally high loyalty of SUV/CUV households is driven by continued proliferation of crossover models across a wide range of size, price, and functionality (i.e., off-road vs. non-off road),” said Tom Libby, manager, automotive loyalty and industry analysis at IHS Markit. “In some cases, this proliferation has resulted in two or even three models in the same segment from the same brand.”

One of the Industry’s Most Popular Crossovers: How the 2017 Buick Encore improves a winning formula

IHS Markit Loyalty numbers

According to IHS Markit’s data, approximately 300,000 former sedan drivers returning to market during the first four months of the year opted for an SUV or crossover. Sedan loyalty, which was 50.7% in 2016, is down to 48.6% through April. Loyalty to coupe body styles is down slightly at 21.6%, while hatchback and convertible loyalty rates are up to 27.1% and 21%, respectively.

A reflection of the popularity of SUVs and crossovers is GM’s first-half sales results, which saw a record high for retail crossover sales despite a 0.4% decrease in retail sales overall. Models like the Chevrolet Trax, GMC Acadia, Cadillac XT5, and Buick Encore continue to drive customers toward their respective brands and offset a not insignificant amount of sales losses from sedans.

Buick, in order to capitalize on the success of the Encore, added the Envision to its lineup as a gap-filler; GMC is likely to launch a new off-road focused utility vehicle in the next few years to better compete with Jeep; and Cadillac will add additional crossovers to its lineup to prop up the XT5 and reduce waning sales from its ATS and CTS sedans and coupes.

In other words: crossovers and SUVs are hot, and like the planet on which we live, it seems more than likely that they’re only going to get hotter.

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News Source: IHS Markit