Australia’s favourite ‘type’ of vehicle is the medium SUV, a bustling segment with 28 brands all fighting for share – everything from a $30,000 MG or SsangYong, through to a $170,000 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S.

    VFACTS automotive sales data detailing the first half of 2020 shows the segment defined as ‘Medium SUV’ had 19.2 per cent market share. That means nearly one-in-five of all vehicles sold came from this segment.

    Overall medium SUV segment sales declined 17.7 per cent during the first half (H1) of 2020 compared to 2019, alongside the overall market’s volume decline of 20.2 per cent.

    As such, they collectively posted a small market-share gain.

    The 19.2 per cent market share belonging to medium SUVs put them ahead of 4×4 utes (17.1 per cent share), small cars (14.3 per cent), and small SUVs (12 per cent).

    To give some historical context, the most popular vehicle segments by market share in 2011 were small cars (24.2 per cent) and light cars (13.8 per cent). SUVs of all shapes and sizes had 23.1 per cent market share combined that year, compared to 48 per cent in 2020.

    Once customers familiarise themselves with the higher driving position and extra clearance of an SUV, they rarely go back.

    Medium SUV under $60,000

    The undeniable superstar this year has been Toyota’s RAV4, which has become a sensation in its edgier new-generation form. It has stormed past the Mazda CX-5 to take the gold, and grown sales nearly 36 per cent. Notably, at times more than half of these sales have been the hybrid.

    Mazda’s CX-5 remains popular, but its sales have declined more than the segment- and market averages – facts that also apply to other top-sellers such as the ageing Hyundai Tucson, Nissan X-Trail, and Mitsubishi Outlander.

    Sales of other enduring models such as the Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, and Volkswagen Tiguan are down by between 20 and 30 per cent. Volkswagen classifies the seven-seat Tiguan Allspace as a Large SUV, but if counted here the H1 sales of 1748 would push the nameplate’s total to 4536.

    The Holden Equinox has been retired, and the Ford Escape is about to be replaced by a new-generation model with a PHEV option.

    Small-volume players (for now) that are nevertheless gaining traction are China’s MG HS (1124 sales) and Haval H6 (315 sales, up 79 per cent).

    There’s also an interesting battle between niche product from European brands, comprising the (Korean-made) Renault Koleos (623 sales, down 40 per cent), Skoda Karoq (534, down 10.7 per cent), and Peugeot 3008 (426, down just 2.5 per cent).

    The rarest new medium SUV money can buy is the unapologetically quirky Citroen C5 Aircross, with 33 sales. Its huge growth shown below is because it launched in July 2019 as therefore only sold 4 units in H1 last year.

    H1 2020 SalesChange +/- %
    Toyota RAV4 15,544+35.6
    Mazda CX-510,219-26.8
    Hyundai Tucson7345-21.6
    Nissan X-Trail6853-29.3
    Mitsubishi Outlander5798-38.1
    Subaru Forester5757-20.1
    Honda CR-V5613-25.4
    Kia Sportage4984-30.9
    Volkswagen Tiguan*2788-24.7
    Holden Equinox1308-56.6
    MG HS1124New model
    Ford Escape1024-49.2
    Renault Koleos623-40.1
    Skoda Karoq534-10.7
    Peugeot 3008426-2.5
    Haval H6315+79.0
    Volkswagen Golf Alltrack 218-43.8
    Jeep Cherokee200-33.3
    Peugeot 5008123-44.6
    SsangYong Korando 79New model
    Citroen C5 Aircross33+725.0

    *Volkswagen counts the Tiguan Allspace seven-seater separately, within the Large SUV total. If combined, the sum total would be 4536

    Luxury Medium SUV

    Overall luxury market leader Mercedes-Benz rules the premium end of the medium SUV market with its GLC, which has found 2522 buyers this year. If you add the GLC Coupe, the total comes to 3238.

    The BMW X3 sits second with 2075 sales. If you add the GLC Coupe-rivalling X4 to the mix, the sum comes to 2959. The bronze medal goes to Lexus’s NX, up an impressive 26 per cent to 1931.

    The Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 are both well down, but held off the Porsche Macan which grew its sales by 13.7 per cent. Small-volume players included the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

    Overall, the luxury end of the medium SUV market declined a respectable 7.7 per cent. This is in line with the growth trend among luxury brands discussed here.

    H1 2020 SalesChange +/- %
    Mercedes-Benz GLC2522-16.2
    BMW X32075-18.0
    Lexus NX1931+25.9
    Audi Q51476-22.9
    Volvo XC601278-23.2
    Porsche Macan1195+13.7
    BMW X4884+8.7
    Land Rover Discovery Sport868-31.3
    Range Rover Evoque867-5.9
    Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe716+30.4
    Mercedes-Benz GLB213New model
    Alfa Romeo Stelvio138-7.4
    Mercedes-Benz EQC57New model

    What’s coming?

    The Australia car market is dynamic, meaning there’s plenty of new or facelifted products coming. These are the changes we’re expecting in the medium SUV market soon. ‘Q’ stands for a calendar-year quarter.

    What more analysis? Here’s our wrap-up of the whole market for the first half of 2020 – a year defined by headwinds.

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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