Sedans, hatchbacks, coupes and sports cars are in the noticeable minority at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, where the industry’s primary focus is on utility vehicles, both classic SUVs, such as the big Lincoln Navigator, as well as car-based crossover-utility vehicles like the Subaru Crosstrek and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
As reported by NBC News, it’s no surprise considering the rapid rise in demand for utility vehicles, said Mark LaNeve, the head of sales, service and marketing for Ford — which is introducing several updated versions of its popular Explorer SUV in the Big Apple. As recently as 2006, all forms of utility vehicles accounted for just 28 percent of the American new vehicle market. Last year, the executive noted, that climbed to 40 percent.
Boom Time for SUVs
“We don’t see (the SUV sales boom) stopping,” said LaNeve. “Over the next five to seven years, we see it getting to 45 percent, even higher,” he said at a Manhattan preview of the 2018 Explorer. “It could reach 50 percent.”
According to LaNeve, there are two primary markets for today’s utes:
Millennials, who likely grew up with utility vehicles and, as they grow and start families, are likely to make them their new vehicle of choice
Baby Boomers, who are choosing utes for practical purposes, often downsizing from larger sedans to compact SUVs and CUVs.
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