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SUVs and Crossovers Now Outselling Sedans

Image: Chevrolet Tahoe
A new Chevrolet Tahoe SUV is displayed at Stewart Chevrolet on July 16, 2014, in Colma, California. According to a report by IHS Automotive, new registrations on SUVs and crossover vehicles surpassed sedans for the first time, with SUVs and crossovers taking 36.5 percent of registrations while sedans registered 35.4 percent. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

With the U.S. auto industry in full recovery mode, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand of some of their most popular sport-utility vehicles and crossovers which, for the first time, are now outselling conventional sedans, according to a new study. Utility vehicles, whether traditional, truck-like SUVs, or more modern, car-like crossovers, accounted for 36.5 percent of the overall American market during the first five months of 2014, compared with 35.4 percent for sedans, long the dominant body style, according to an analysis of new vehicle registrations by IHS Automotive.

A year ago, sedans outsold utility vehicles 36.6 percent to 33.9 percent. “These vehicles 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,” said IHS analyst Tom Libby. Meanwhile, what the industry refers to as trucks — including all utility vehicles, vans and pickups — has an even more solid hold on the market, accounting for 53.2 percent of total U.S. new vehicle sales.

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