Crossovers Preferred Vehicle of Choice for U.S. Consumers

With automakers selling a 2:1 ratio of trucks to cars, trucks are driving the rapid decline of sedans. We use the term “trucks” to classify SUVs, crossovers, and pickups which all fall under the broad class of “light trucks”. Though this includes a  range of vehicles, the market trend speaks volumes to the decline of the traditional car.

In the United States, crossovers are the perferred vehicle of choice. According to Automotive News, truck sales have more than doubled car sales this year. The increase in sales has some carmakers increasing their large vehicle offerings and halting their production of sedans.

Many people view the car to truck switch as an upgrade and alternative to smaller cars. Why would drivers revert back to a standard size car? With the wide range of trucks avaliable, they don’t need to; SUV, crossovers, and pickups are now easily accesible and avaliable for varying budgets, styles, and needs.

For example, a 2018 Kia Soul, a compact crossover, starts at $16,200 while the Ford F-150 pickup ranges into a high of $60,520.

According to Edmunds, forty-six percent of car shoppers are exchanging their car for an SUV, crossover, or pickup. The trend is expected to continue, becoming the overwhelming market standard by 2025, if not sooner. The Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecast predicts that between 2019 and 2022, 71 percent of vehicles released will be categorized as light trucks. More options in the truck market are likely to generate higher profits for carmakers.

The New Rolls Royce Cullinan

Make way, there’s a new player in the game. Rolls Royce is making a distinguised debut in super premium SUV space setting it apart from the pack. The new segment of luxury off road vehicles including models from Bentley and Lamborghini is expanding with the addition of the Rolls Royce new Cullinan.

With a starting price of $325,000 the tag on the new “high-sider vehicle” tops Bently’s W-12 powered Bentayga and Lamborghinis V-8 powered Urus. It’s alternative approach to the sport utility class and background defines why the Cullinan stands out amongst it’s ultra luxe competiton.

Cullinans only downer:

Air suspension and a 72.2 inch height enables the vehicle to cross flowing streams with ease. Riding high comes with no compromise, the UK based carmaker eliminates the struggle of mounting yourself in; by the tap of the stainless door levers, the Cullinan lowers 1.5 inches for an inviting entrance to the plush cabin.

Rolls Royce impressive offroad history:

Long ago, during the Scottish Reliability Trials of 1907 and the Alpine Trials of 1913 the UK based carmaker performed in rough road testing. Frank Norbury, a Brittish businessman of the time, traveled a total of 620 miles in the Rolls Silver Ghost on a jouney from Bombay to Kolhapu without a trouble. Two Silver Ghosts were also used by T.E Lawrnece transporting goods through Palestine and Sanai deserts.

It’s Solid:

The cullinan was tested to destruction across the globe and offers a different set of off road capabilites. Although it’s intended ride does not include steep hill climbs and hardcore off roading, it makes  a solid choice for venturing light tralis.

Turbocharged:

Speedy and Agile, Cullinan has a twin-turbocharged 6.75 liter V-12 capable of speedy 563 horsepower and all-wheel steering making Cullinan drive seemingly smaller than it’s frame suggests.

Equipped to Tailgate:

The boot of Cullinan contains “The Clasp”, a never before used feauture within the Rolls Royce lineup. Equipped with a fridge, whiskey decanter, champagne glasses, and plenty room to spare, Cullinan makes the perfect base for a tailgate party. If that wasn’t enough, the rear can also provide seating with two outward facing seats.

Mercedes Benz New A-Class Offering

With the new A-Class arriving for showcasing in the US this year, the luxury auto brand is taking a new approach to sales and it completely contrasts a typical dealership experience.

Mercedes-Benz has been experimenting with alternative environments for showcasing, educating and connecting with consumers. Mercedes-Benz plans to open their third pop up this year on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue after success with those prior. The venture in experimental retail began last year with one pop up store in Atlanta, and a second in Miami at Aventura Mall.

In addition to their plans to open one more pop up this year, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler adds they plan on “doing way more of them, probably focused on new product launches”.

The laid back, no pressure pop ups intend to make the Mercedes brand more approachable, especially to those who did not see the brand as an option in the past. To maintain the no pressure atmosphere, the pop ups don’t sell vehicles. Instead, employees will forward prospective customer’s email addresses to the dealerships. The approach is working; according to a company spokeswoman they “are seeing an appreciable number of people who had not previously considered the brand, but who bought a Mercedes following a visit to the brand stores”.

The modern spin on showcasing offers consumers a chance to experience the new technology Mercedes has to offer without making a purchase. In hopes to reach the millennial generation with the launch of the A class sedan; consumers will be able to test out MBUX , the new multimedia system which features predictive learning abilities, improved displays, and artificial intelligence.

The pop up stores are open for about two months and the brand is careful in selecting locations, sticking mostly to upscale areas. Unlike Porsche, Exler is not considering opening permanent accessory stores for the time being and is keeping that reserved for the dealerships.

Lincoln Announces 2019 Nautilus

Lincoln’s top-selling U.S. vehicle, the MKX is getting an upgrade price point, as well as a new name. Lincoln announced the name change to “Nautilus,” and a 3.2% price increase.  The base model will start at $41,335 and top out at $65,260.  Along with the new names comes a wealth of new design elements and technology features.

Robert Parker, Lincoln’s director of marketing, sales and service, said that everything from the A-pillar forward has been redesigned. The Nautilus is the latest Lincoln vehicle to adopt the brand’s mesh grille, which debuted on the MKZ and Continental in 2016.

The vehicle boasts a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder, twin-turbocharged engine that gets 245 hp as well as all-wheel drive.  Buyers can upgrade to a 2.7 liter V-6 that gets 335hp.  Both will have an eight-speed automatic transmission and auto-stop.

The interior includes improvements that make for extra legroom and headroom as well as 22-position front seats with lumbar massage.  The Nautilus will be the first vehicle with Lincoln Co-Pilot360, a suite of standard driver-assist features that consists of automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information with cross traffic alert, lane keeping system, backup camera and auto high beams.

Top US automakers report higher vehicle sales in June

Several top US automakers reported an increase in their June sales.  Consumers continued to purchase sport utility vehicles in larger numbers amid rising tensions between the United States and its trade partners.

The tensions led to a reduction in US consumer confidence entering June, and weighed on purchase plans for big-ticket items such as automobiles.  General Motors stopped reporting monthly numbers beginning in April, said that it’s sales rose 4.6% to 758,376 for the quarter. The increase was due to strong truck sales and a wave of all-new crossovers.

“Customers are buying with confidence because the economy is strong and they expect it to remain strong,” said Kurt McNeil, GM US vice president, sales operations.

Ford said that it sold 230,635 vehicles in the month of June, compared with 227,979, a year earlier. Sales of Ford brand SUVs grew 8.1% to 77,453 vehicles, which was a record for the month, the company said.

Toyota Motor’s June US sales rose 3.6% to 209,602 vehicles, with high sales in the RAV4 and Highlander sport utility vehicle models. Toyota noted that the had the “best-ever” light truck sales for June in the United States.

Next,  Fiat Chrysler said its monthly US sales rose by 8 percent to 202,264 vehicles, most comping from the Jeep brand, which hit its best month of June with a 19% increase.