SUV and Crossover Markets: Swelling with Opportunity

SUV and crossover sales were strong throughout 2016, as were aftermarket accessory sales for these vehicles. According to Edward A. Sanchez of Truck Trend, the SUV and crossover markets achieved growth month after month. And it seems like everyone is vying for attention in that space. Head-turners like the all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9, 2017 Audi Q7 and 2017 Infiniti Qx80 are all leaving their mark.

The luxury models are sweeping consumers off their feet, handy-dandy gadgets and all. But “the top-selling models are now predominately car-based and unibody. And they have transverse four-cylinder powertrains. The best-selling SUV in the country is a three-way race between the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. The full-size segment is far smaller in volume and importance than it used to be. It’s dominated by a single company, GM,” said Sanchez.

2017 Looks Promising

SUV and Crossover
2017 Toyota RAV4

Anticipate a pickup during 2017. “Many car owners are shifting to these vehicle options, taking advantage of comparable size, safety and fuel economy,” said Nick Geiger, Category Manager at Keystone Automotive Operations, Inc. “The SUV and crossover business continues to excel due to the continuous changes these companies have made during the past few years. And it aligns them just right to target a broader consumer market,” continued Geiger.

“Furthermore, reducing the size of quite a few models and increasing fuel efficiency has helped catch the eye of some traditional car owners. These consumers may not have been comfortable driving larger models before, but appreciate the more spacious interiors and luxurious upgrades,” he concluded.

Don’t be concerned about backlash from a near-violent political season or new blood in the White House. It won’t significantly impact the SUV and crossover or mid-size truck markets. “The current truck, SUV and crossover manufacturers have positioned themselves well and can adapt to any unforeseeable economic downturns. Now they offer many different options in relation to price, so consumers will always have numerous choices within their budgets,” said Geiger.

We’re not in another bubble; the market has changed. And Sanchez mentioned that’s not only driven by government regulation, but also consumer demand. “If we see a drop off in truck and SUV sales, it will be the entire auto market that goes down with it,” he added.

Aftermarket Capitalizes

The SUV and crossover aftermarket is swelling with opportunity. “Custom molded floor liners and cargo liners like Weather Tech and Husky Liners offer premium protection. And they complement that high-end-interior look these consumers desired in the first place,” said Geiger.

“These vehicles are becoming the ‘go-to’ for families. So consumers are equipping their rides to deal with the daily grind of toting their children to sporting and school events. They’re turning to dependable retailers, restylers and installers to provide these effective solutions. That includes interior and exterior storage as well as hood protection. More importantly, these types of products provide drivers with protection from rocks and road debris during a daily commute,” he added.

Manufacturers like Westin, Thule, Yakima, Go Rhino, AVS, LUND and even performance leaders like MagnaFlow have responded accordingly. They have increased applications of popular products like bull bars, running boards, side steps, cargo management, exhaust systems and mufflers. Everyone will be getting a piece of the action in 2017!

Read more about the SUV and crossover markets here.

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