For many years, SUVs and crossovers have been strong sellers in the U.S. -- heck, they're one of the reasons that Volkswagen hasn't been able to keep up with its competitors. (Though that may soon change.)
Still, sales of SUVs and crossovers have never quite managed to outpace those of the reliable sedan. Until now.
According to IIHS Automotive, SUVs and CUVs accounted for 36.5 percent of new U.S. vehicles registered between January and May of 2014. As you can see from the chart above, sedans came in a close second, at 35.4 percent, then a huge gap before the arrival of the number-three contender, pickup trucks, which held 13.1 percent of the market.
That marks the first time that SUVs and CUVs have ever taken the #1 spot.
IHS says that SUVs and CUVs have stolen market share from every other segment on the automotive spectrum. Compact-vehicle fans like them because many of the smaller CUVs feature the same maneuverability and convenience as small cars, but offer added storage capacity. Drivers of large sedans and pickups have been lured away by the five-star amenities available on big rides like the Chevrolet Tahoe.
CUVs have hit pickup sales especially hard. They typically offer better much fuel economy than light trucks, with impressive cargo and towing capacity to boot. As gas prices continue to climb, the pressure on pickups will likely escalate.
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According to IHS Automotive's Tom Libby, SUVs and CUVs "offer the combination of appealing features associated with both cars and light trucks, including a higher seating position, higher ground clearance, softer ride, more interior space, optional four-wheel or all-wheel drive, and towing capacity, among others. Combined with the successful launches of all-new models and the introduction of redesigned existing products, these body styles offer a compelling option for the market."
Truck and car fans: have you switched from your preferred vehicle to an SUV or CUV? And if not, what would it take to make you switch? Share your thoughts in the comments below.