Thursday, September 11, 2014


Giant SUVs were thought to have been driven into extinction by the double whammy of the Great Recession and inflated gas prices. Media reports suggest that Americans are desperate to downsize their vehicles and housing. But just as the claim that "the suburbs are dead" proved premature, Summer 2014 auto sales numbers indicate Americans' desire for bigger and better trucks is only growing.

A USA Today article from August 25, 2014 (which appeared only in print, not online), says there is "oversized demand" for the next generation of outsized SUVs. The article cited Autodata figures which showed sales of the redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade shot up in July 2014, with twice as many of the yacht-like luxury truck being sold as had been moved last July. Ford Expedition sales were up 59.3%, and GM's Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon sales both notched 50% increases.

In comparison, overall new car sales increased only 9.1%.

Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell told USA Today's James R. Healey that "we just closed the order bank" for the 2015 Escalade, "and we have three times as many orders as we can supply."

The hot truck is a hot seller here in Montgomery County, as well. Patrick Coleman of Jim Coleman Cadillac in Bethesda says, "since the redesign, the new Escalade has had a tremendous amount of attention in our showroom. In fact, we have been unable to keep a supply in stock because the demand has been so high."

Workers at the Arlington, Texas plant where the Escalade is manufactured are now working 3 shifts just to keep up with demand, according to USA Today. Still, many of the Escalades being manufactured are arriving pre-sold at dealerships across the country, with prospective owners placing orders, and waiting for delivery of the SUVs. That can been the case at Jim Coleman as well, where many 2015 Escalades "are actually presold prior to their arrival at the dealership," Patrick Coleman noted.

With demand steady and Cadillac working to meet it, Coleman says the Bethesda dealership expects "sales to continue to be strong into the fall as we get more inventory."

Perhaps most interesting, is the study detailing how Americans use their large SUVs. Are they parking the low-gas-mileage vehicles and boarding public transit? Not according to an analysis by cited by USA Today.

The top daily uses for large SUVs are shopping/errands (32.2%), commuting (25.3%) and "taking kids to school" (15.2%). Cadillac knows its upscale suburban buyer well, touting the Escalade as "the 420-hp gated community." "Once you've reached the top," Escalade's website argues, "there's only one direction to go - over." Sales figures suggest Americans nationwide - and locally - are doing just that.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

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