Opinion Desk: Why Is Ford Outselling Chevy And GMC In Compact & Midsize Crossover Space?57
Yupp, you read that right: through August of 2011, Ford’s compact and midsize crossovers have outsold those of Chevy and GMC. By exactly 60,645 units in the United States. Guess the hot-selling market-dominating Toyota-gobbling Equinox ain’t doing as well as everyone thought it was…
|FORD VS. GM COMPACT & MIDSIZE CROSSOVERS|
|FORD ESCAPE||FORD EDGE||FORD TOTAL||CHEVY EQUINOX||GMC TERRAIN||GM TOTAL||FORD ADVANTAGE|
While the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers sold a combined total of 186,079 units, Ford’s Escape and Edge were responsible for 246,724 sales. So, why is GM losing out to The Blue Oval in mainstream compact and midsize crossovers? The answer, in our opinion, is choice.
Ford offers a compact crossover in the form of the Escape as well as a midsize crossover in the form of the Edge to Chevy’s (and GMC’s) Equinox (and Terrain) — which aren’t really compact or midsize… they’re right in between. Offering two separate models equips Ford with the advantage to more effectively cater to different dimensional preferences and price points in much the same way that the Cruze appeals to a different audience compared to the Malibu.
One possible answer to this crossover conundrum would be to create two entirely new models: a compact version (perhaps based on the Delta architecture) and a midsize variety (perhaps based on the Epsilon platform). Compared to the Equinox, the compact would compete much more directly with the likes of the Escape (especially the next-generation model), Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, VW Tiguan, and the Honda CR-V, while the midsizer, which could offer a third row as an option, would go up against the Edge, Highlander, Sorento, Santa-Fe, Pilot, and Murano.
Doing so would allow GM to better serve the needs of crossover shoppers while delivering a better product.
A Better Product?
One of the challenges The General faces with the Equinox and Traverse, the latter of which is truly a full-size CUV, is achieving comparable fuel economy to vehicles that are a segment smaller. As I mentioned before, the Equinox and Terrain are not compact utes from a dimensional perspective — making it more challenging for GM deliver segment-leading fuel economy. And since the crossovers kind-of- sort-of currently compete between the compact and midsize segments, they will be cross-shopped against other smaller and lighter vehicles from the competition. These rivals will ultimately perform better in fuel economy ratings, acceleration time, and stopping distance due to the simple fact that they’re smaller.
Additionally, the “true” midsize crossovers (Highlander, Pilot, Sorento) will be bigger than the Equinox/Terrain, offering more usable space. Being stuck in the middle, therefore, doesn’t offer any particular advantages to The General.
If GM were to offer a true compact crossover, it could lower the price point of that hypothetical vehicle — becoming more competitive with the likes of the Ford Escape, Kia Sportage, and Hyundai Tucson. What’s more, it could charge more for a proper midsize CUV, effectively widening the gap between a compact and midsize vehicle, leading to increased profitability. The strategy is akin to that of Mercedes Benz when it comes to CUVs: there’s the compact GLK, the midsize ML, and the humongous GL. Each is clearly positioned in its respective segment (compact, midsize, full size, respectively); each offers more than the other in a clear, stair-step progression.
At The End Of The Day…
The numbers speak for themselves. And they will only get worse for GM as Ford releases the all-new Escape and Edge over the next two years and Hyundai unleashes its Santa-Fe. To be more competitive, the Equinox — as we know it today — would have to go away to make room for two models: a smaller crossover and a slightly larger one — just like Holden’s Captiva 5 and Captiva 7 models.
And at that point, Chevrolet’s crossover offerings should go global… and a behemoth fullsizer like the Traverse makes a lot more sense than it does today.
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Bring back the S-10 Blazer. I would buy one in a second! I am a very loyal chevrolet driver and the wife and I want another suv but I hate the equinox and traverse.
Or they could do a compact crossover based on the delta, keep the equinox and try to be competitive against the Edge and Venza, and then the Traverse?
Good thinking! 🙂 The only problem I see with keeping the Equinox around as is and looking at the Edge and Venza as primary competition is the fact that the Highlander outsells both… combined! The difference is in the Highlander offerring a third row and being available with a four-banger, unlike the Edge (currently) or the Murano. Even then, the Venza uses the exact same platform as the Highlander, so it’s not really a competitor — more like a complimentary vehicle.
I’d say, tweak the ‘Nox to offer a 3rd row… and aim it squarely at the Highlander.
Alex You’re absolutely right, Chevrolet is missing a model, and one is not in order. Ford has Escape, Edge, Explorer, Expedition/EL That makes 5 models compared to 4 from Chevrolet. GM needs to compete in same order, replace Equinox with 2 models and redesign the Traverse ASAP!
Another reason why Ford sells a lot of Escapes is that they sell a lot of them as fleets, it’s strange that POS Escape sells well, must be cheap.
Wait for this years auto shows, both GMC and chevy will fulfill your thoughts, you have seen some in spy shots and you will see more in the form of very good auto show highlights, remember the contract not that long ago maybe a week when they said two new midsize vehicles, just think of this segment as very important to us at GM we will compete and a Lutz would say we will be the best. Maybe even have some electrics from his new role as board member just anounced.
JD what can you say about next generation GM full size trucks?
jd is right, we’ve seen spy photos of future compact crossovers which has been described as Cruze sized: http://gmauthority.com/blog/2011/08/spied-another-look-at-the-upcoming-chevrolet-compact-crossover/
and the curious development happening at Spring Hill Assembly brings two midsized vehicles, which we believe to also be crossovers:
What about the SUV that is based on the new Colorado that has solid rear axle?
Good question — I missed that one. The more I think about it though, the more I imagine that it’s a regional product for developing nations… But that’s just my speculation talkin’
How on earth is a 4,000 pound Equinox not considered a mid-sized crossover? It is almost big enough to squeeze a third row into, and side by side it made our S10 Blazer look small.
Exactly! But Chevy, limited by current model offerings in the compact CUV space, needs to still “play” in the segment, even if it is with a larger vehicle… Check out their vehicle comparo page here, which would lead one to believe that the ‘Nox’s primary competition are compact crossovers!
One thing playing in Fords favor is HUGE rebates on the out going Escape. Another example of this is how well the out going Malibu is selling due in large part to hugh rebates. Another thing to consider is while they are being outsold, they still offer no rebates on the Equinox or Terrain, which may lead to a higher per copy profit. Which could mean in the end they’re making more money. Which GM could be considering a win.
Very good point Dan. Profitability, not the mass movement of metal at a low price, is the name of the game!
But how many more units could they profitably sell (without rebates) by offerring two models that compete better than the single Equinox!
Looking forward to this sub-Equinox sized vehicle. Couldn’t agree more. I’m in the market for a new compact AWD and has nothing that we at GM make peaks my interest. A compact, plug in crossover would make me take notice, however.
What does peak my interest? How about the Subaru XV diesel coming out in 2012/2013. >250 lb-ft of torque, over 8″ of ground clearance, > 40 mpg, AWD, good handling/low center of gravity….I may have to forgo my employee discount if they were to bring something like that to the US.
@Alex but if the Equinox were tweak it a little and compare to the Highlander? Then who does the Traverse compare to? I’d just say the Nox compare to the Edge and Murano because I think people (not 100 percent sure though) are going to cross shop the Nox to either Edge, Murano, or maybe compact crossovers. I mean 40 grand for a fully loaded Edge and Murano it’s just too much.
If the Equinox were comparable to the Highlander, then the Traverse wouldn’t have a competitor from Toyota or Honda. It would go against the Explorer and/or the Mazda CX-9.
Because I thought the Pilot would also be another competitor but Pilot kinda sucks though
I’m not a fan of the Pilot either, but it’s also squarely a midsizer. Honda, ironically, isn’t really a full-line brand since they lack a Honda-branded full-sized sedan that competes in the Taurus, Azera, Avalon, Impala space. The same is true of a full size CUV that goes against Traverse, Explorer, VeraCruz, CX-9.
I think you forgot about Flex even though it doesn’t even sell well.
I like the Flex. Its architecture is similar to the new Explorer with a different top shell. But it’s definitely a full sizer. Unfortunately, Ford will most likely end up discontinuing it in the near future 🙁
I saw somewhere that the Flex it is getting a facelift and they even have spy photos of it too.
It is. But I don’t think there will be a next-generation…
They should of just came out with Explorer in the first place instead of the Flex
Yeah, the Flex was all they could do with the small amount of development funds they had a few years ago. The Explorer is really top of its class right now… but the Flex never really was at the top of anything. Although I freackin’ love the styling! I’m a wagon guy 🙂
I mean the legroom and headroom is good(much better than MKT) but it’s just kinda looks heavy to me.
The internal thought is to produce products that are usefull. The twin Terrain and Nox both are very useful vehicles that get class leading fuel economy, there will be the e assist version of both by 2013 with a mild interior and exterior refresh, but the smaller more than twins will also be useful they will be somewhat shorter than the current product lighter and be planned from the begining with fuel economy and interior room as a priority styling will be progressive and above all be useful, this will let the divisions cover the single/up to 4 person small CUV to the 5 person current product newly refreshed and the 7-8 passenger with the Traverse trio turning into new product in 2013-14, so product pipeline looks good and full and will compete with all out in the market including diesels, high fuel economy, Hybrids, and others stay tuned and you will be impressed with upcoming product. GMC and Cadilac impress me the most on the future product. The new pick ups are coming together well and almost all design has been locked in and the metal work looks great very high degree of style and advancement of the differentiation of the two brands. more to come.
we have 4 escape .a the office.4 have 2,and3 trany fix,2 new ac because we pass the mileage it cost 1100 to fix,plus the four driver seat rip all in the same place..2009.and 2010.one worker get is personal escape came out from the dealer return on the towing,,ford have aaaaaaaa big problem whit escape trany and wy they dont make recall..if you need the company name y give to you….we have y thing 15plus escape all in canada all same problem,,,sale more repair more..
To be honest, I think the interior of the current Escape looks like something that’s being designed by the old Chrysler.
It’s funny — the Escape’s interior isn’t a model when it comes to design… but it’s functional and works very well. I had one as a rental a few months ago and was impressed by the entire car.
Either way, the Escape as we know it today is about to change drastically next year. It will cease being a rugged CUV and will merge with the Euro-market Kuga… and will look something like this:
That will most likely result in an even further boost in sales.
lol I will judge until I see it camo’d off. But I have sat in one, I just feel like there’s too many plastics going on and it kinda just look really fake on the current one. I do like both the Edge and the Nox Terrain twins because when I sit inside it looks more real and makes me feel safe (because it kinda design to hug the driver and passenger more i guess). But for Escape along with CR-V and RAV4 its just eh.
Totally agree, I don’t find the Escape, CR-V, or RAV appealing at all. But at least the Escape is capable off road… either way, the next-gen is poised to be a best-seller given its global nature… like the Focus.
I kinda hope that they do. And again, I also hope that Chevy sells well with the Delta platform crossover also. But I just feel like as of right now I kinda lost a little respect to Ford since they have drop the F bomb on other automakers i.e. GM because I don’t think GM has done anything to threaten Ford besides sales. I mean Ford right now they have the best technology.
this is not a personal opinion,,ford escape compare to lada for quality….i t a fact….every time y look somebody drive a escape y feel sorry for this person … everything in this suv is cheap…..cheap…cheap.poor quality….period…and y said this on every blog….whit experience from this thing call SUV..we buy 3 escape for 50,000 2010..company price..
is not equinox and terrain,,,same class ford escape..and ford edge whit Acadia,traverse..
Not even close. The Escape is a compact CUV while the Equinox and Edge are midsize. The Traverse (and new Explorer) are full size.
Isn’t it Flex a full size?
Yupp, it’s a derivative of the Explorer. But as I said earlier, I think Ford will end up discontinuing it due to poor sales. I like the Flex so much, though!
wait is MKT getting replaced too??
It’s up in the air right now. The latest I heard was Lincoln was considering making the MKT a fleet-only vehicle for taxi & livery services, etc.
To be honest, I think it is ashame that MKT is a slowseller. Lincoln has so much hype for this vehicle and then when it does go on sale, it still lost to Enclave in sales and comparison considering the amount of high tech features that Ford put it onto this vehicle.
I think the main reason for its slow sales is the fact that it’s ugly. I don’t mind it, but I know most simply hate its styling.
It kinda looks like a whale to me.
That’s because it IS a whale! 🙂
hahaha…. I’ve saw a discussion at Motortrend comparing the MKT and Enclave and many says MKT looks ugly like a whale and many says Enclave looks bloated.
But back to the Nox/Terrain, I find it funny that both Chevy and GMC haven’t really update their “build your own” section for MY2012 models since in the Chevy part they haven’t add Lane Departure warning and foward collisioning and GMC haven’t add Navigation system on their build your own section.
Weird, both online configurations show 2012 model years for me.
because on the “Build your own” I just don’t see it at all. the one on Equinox is missing the option list of Lane departure warning and foward collisioning. and the one on Terrain is missing the stereo options
Ah, yes — I see what you’re saying. I think those options are going to roll in after a few months. This sometimes happens — as it is on the 2012 LaCrosse, which won’t offer IntelliLink until several months into the 2012 model year.
Wait isn’t the Equinox and the Volt are the first ones to have the MyLink first?
They were the first ones… which means that they’ll be the first ones — but in a few months, rather than right away when the 2012s hit.
darn!! But one thing that I kinda find it funny is that I like how the Chevy website says the Equinox has Rear parking assist standard on LTs and up and it isn’t available on LT but Standard on LTZs though
I think it’s available on the 1LT and 2LT and — like you said — standard on LTZ. You need to get the optional Driver’s convenience package on the LTs to get it, though.
because on their website one list says standard and another says NA
It’s available on Eco, 1LT and 2LT and standard LTZ. Check out this page:
and search for “Rear parking assist” in the left column. Not available on LS.
A change from the 2011s that I didn’t notice before is the fact that the Electrochromic, Automatic-dimming Rearview Mirror is no longer available on anything except for the LTZ, where it’s standard. My 2011 2LT has this option and I love it! It should be part of 2LT as well.
Yes, on the Cruze
But then it also kinda says the same thing on the Nox too though