SUVs, crossovers outnumber sedan sales in U.S. for first time, report says


DETROIT - Americans like to sit tall when they drive, as shown by a report issued Wednesday by IHS Automotive showing U.S. registrations for sport utility and crossover vehicles outnumber sedans for the first time.

Through May of this year, SUVs and crossover vehicles (CUVs) made up 36.5 percent of registrations of new autos, compared with 35.4 percent for sedans, IHS said.

Five years ago, sedans outnumbered SUVs and CUVs in U.S. registrations through May by 36.3 percent to 31.4 percent.

SUVs and CUVs are more appealing than sedans to many customers for several reasons, said IHS analyst Tom Libby, including higher seating position and ground clearance, more interior room, and towing capacity.

Pickup trucks through May accounted for 13 percent of auto registrations, down from 14 percent in 2009, IHS said.

A year ago, SUVs and CUVs made up 34 percent of registrations compared with 36.6 percent for sedans, the report showed.

A key driver of the growth this year of the taller vehicles is substantial product innovation and the introduction of new or refreshed large models, led by General Motors Co Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon and smaller ones including the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Jeep Cherokee and Nissan Motor Co Rogue.