Big 3 Falling Behind Japan in Crossover Sales

It’s the ‘70s all over again. An oil crisis looms, the big three are caught up in a horsepower war, and small Japanese vehicles are gaining market share.

By 2023, Bloomberg reports that US automakers’ share of the crossover market will fall to 35%. In 2005, at Detroit’s crossover peak, its share was more like 60%.

At least a part of that is down to Detroit’s focus on big, truck-based SUVs, like the Suburban, which analysts anticipate will remain a US specialty. But uncertain gas prices, that could be a risky course of action.

Japan and Europe, though, are going all in on smaller, car-based crossovers. With demand only increasing, Honda and Toyota are set up to capitalize with their many plants. That said, with cars coming from Japan and the US, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan may struggle if tariffs are imposed on their vehicles.

North American brands are responding, though. Ford will stop making cars and Chevy is coming out strong with crossovers like the Blazer that capitalizes on the market’s taste for low, sporty, crossovers.

Still, though, with brands like Nissan introducing the Rogue, the Rogue Sport, and the Kicks, the Big Three will continue to depend on pickup sales.

“Detroit isn’t any less dependent on pickups now than it was in 2007,” says Eric Noble, founder of CarLab, a consulting firm in California. “Pickups are great when America is booming, but they’re horrible in a downturn.”

[source: Bloomberg]

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