German manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-Benz expect to sell more crossovers and SUVs than cars in 2018.
You may have noticed that there are far less regular old cars on the roads these days and a lot more of these tiny SUV-looking things. Some people call them CUVs, some people call them crossovers, and other people call them mutant hatchbacks with truck tires. Whatever you call them, there’s more of them, and they’re starting to get the attention of the big German car manufacturers.
More importantly, they’re starting to really impact the bottom line for BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Before now, all the German manufacturers relied on car sales to drive their blank ink in North America. The overall US market switched from mainly cars to mainly truck sales back in 2002, but the luxury car market, as with every luxury market, is a little different.
Cars ruled supreme in the luxury market until 2016 when luxury SUVs finally swamped out luxury sedans and coupes. Cadillac and Chevy were the big winners in that market, but BMW, Mercedes, and Audi were quick to respond. Now they’re clawing their way back, and this year expect to make over 50percent of their sales in crossovers and SUVs according to Auto News.
In 2017, 49 percent of all vehicles sold by Mercedes were cars. For BMW that number was closer to 44 percent. Audi, not used to being the market trend-setter, sold 53 percent CUVs and SUVs, with the other two big German carmakers expecting to cross the 50 percent threshold sometime in 2018.
As a result of these trends, Mercedes and BMW are both increasing their inventories of crossovers and SUVs as well as introducing new models to fill out their fleets in both categories.
On the Beamer side of things, expect to see more X3s in dealerships for 2018 as they ramp up production, as well as the introduction of the adorable new X2 crossover. Their mid-sized designs, the X4 and X5, will both be redesigned and reintroduced later this year, while the full-size X7 is expected sometime in 2019.
Mercedes is similarly increasing its inventory, with Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler saying to expect a “substantial increase.” The new G-Class, which looks like a German version of the Land Rover, was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show last January, with the new midsize GLE and compact GLB expected to go on sale next year.
Of course, the last time we saw the roads filled with SUVs the price of oil spiked and we all fled back to tiny cars. We’ll see if that happens again.