June 22, 2006

Midsize SUV segment shows signs of weakening, J.D. Power reports

Westlake Village, California – The midsize SUV segment is increasingly showing signs of considerable weakness, as it has been since the beginning of the year, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network (PIN).

The midsize SUV segment currently records the second-highest days-to-turn rate (the number of days a vehicle stays on a dealer’s lot) among the 26 segments tracked by PIN. Vehicles sold in May sat on dealership lots an average of 73 days; full-size vans sold during that month sat an average of 80 days, while vehicles in the compact basic car segment, with one of the quickest average days-to-turn rate in May, spent just 35 days.

While some models in the segment, such as the Honda Pilot (46 days), Toyota 4Runner (56) and Jeep Commander (56) are turning quicker than the industry average, some are moving much slower, including the Mitsubishi Endeavor (140), Dodge Durango (118) and Kia Sorento (105).

“In addition to midsize utility vehicles sitting longer on dealer lots, we’re also seeing declining segment loyalty, or fewer owners returning to the segment when they purchase or lease their next vehicle,” says Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at PIN. “The percentage of midsize utility owners who trade for another midsize utility has declined from 29.2 per cent in January to 24.5 per cent in May.”

The percentage of midsize SUV owners who traded up to a large SUV has also declining, dropping from 10.5 per cent in January to 7.4 per cent in May. In contrast, the percentage of midsize SUV owners trading to midsize conventional sedans jumped from 7.1 per cent in January to 10.7 per cent in May.

Connect with Autos.ca