Small Crossovers, Like the Chevy Equinox, Are the New Utility Players


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DETROIT -- July 8, 2014: Versatility and value are helping make compact crossovers and SUVs among the hottest vehicles in the country. Chevrolet is helping meet the demand with its strongest lineup in history, including the Equinox and – early next year – the new Trax.

“Compact crossovers and SUVs make sense for so many consumers,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director, Chevrolet. “Suited to adapt to whatever life throws at them, our customers want a vehicle that can do – and go – anywhere, and they want it with expressive design and fuel efficiency.

“It’s a tall order and it’s why Equinox sales have risen nearly every year since we introduced the original in 2006,” he said. “Next year, the Trax will provide this same flexibility in a smaller footprint.”

Equinox retail sales in June were up 11 percent from June 2013. Chevrolet has sold nearly 1.5 million Equinoxes since the first generation was introduced in 2005. A second generation was released for the 2010 model year.

The popularity of Equinox has helped Chevrolet grow its share of the segment from 7 percent to more than 10 percent in the past eight years.

Market shift

Overall, demand for compact crossovers and SUVs has nearly doubled since 2008, from 10 percent to 18 percent of the market, according to AutoTrader.com.

“Sales of crossovers of all sorts have been growing significantly in recent years, but the growth in sales of smaller crossovers and SUVs has been nothing short of phenomenal,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for AutoTrader.com. “It’s easy to see why, with the segment being so versatile to meet the needs of a wide variety of car buyers. They can carry people, serve as a substitute truck or haul bigger cargo while still driving like a car.”

According to AutoTrader.com’s research, crossovers and small SUVs are the only growing segments within the SUV market and, for the first time, outpace two other segments that have experienced consistent growth in the past eight years – compact and midsize sedans.

“I call my Chevy Equinox my ‘multi-tool’ of vehicles,” said Gail Haffey of Beverly Hills, Mich. “It fits my family’s needs perfectly, from traveling to our summer cottage, to flipping down the seats to haul cargo and supplies from the garden shop, to my daily commute to work. Plus, the fuel economy is great, so I get versatility and value in one package.”

The Equinox seats five, offers a maximum cargo capacity of 63.7 cubic feet and a maximum towing rating of 3,500 pounds (3.6L V-6 models) and an EPA-rated 32 mpg highway (2.4L FWD models).

Both the Equinox and GMC Terrain with available forward collision alert technology received 2014 Top Safety Pick+ ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the only midsize SUVs of nine evaluated to earn Good ratings in the Institute’s small overlap front crash test.

For 2015, Chevrolet brings OnStar 4G LTE capabilities to Equinox and Trax. Combined with standard Chevrolet MyLink, these technologies accommodate customers’ increasingly connected lifestyles with a more reliable connection during road trips, connectivity for up to seven devices, and range of up to 50 feet outside the vehicle.

Making Trax

The Chevrolet Trax small SUV – a customer favorite in the global markets where it’s already being sold, arrives in the U.S. early next year. Part of another fast-growing segment, Trax sales have grown from just over 3,000 in 2006 to more than 90,000 last year.

Trax will offer eight different seating arrangements with 60/40 split rear seats and a fold-flat front passenger seat, as well as more than 48 cubic feet of cargo space and a standard turbocharged engine. Both Equinox and Trax are available with all-wheel drive.

Changing gears

Sales of small SUVs have evolved along with consumers’ changing driving, spending and lifestyle habits. They’ve gone from being “second” vehicles in a household to replacing older vehicles.

Once inside the small and compact SUV segments, buyers are extremely loyal, with more than a quarter of them coming from other small and compact SUVs.

“We work hard to deliver the versatility and value our customers expect in our Equinox, and having been doing so for eight years since the vehicle launched,” said Majoros.

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