On January 9, Chevrolet will be taking the wraps off what it describes as an "all-new" Traverse SUV.
The car for growing families -- it offers three rows of seats -- will be the sixth new or heavily refreshed crossover or SUV added to Chevrolet's lineup over the past 18 months. The company says that when it debuts in Detroit, the 2018 Traverse will offer best-in-class leg room for the three passengers using the third row of seats, should match or better the competition in terms of cargo space, and will be focused on premium design and technology features.
"Nobody in the industry offers a broader, fresher lineup of SUVs and crossovers than Chevrolet," said Alan Batey, president of GM North America and brand chief of Global Chevrolet. "From the all-electric Bolt EV to America's longest-running nameplate, Suburban, we've got something for every customer and lifestyle."
Of the 15.85 million vehicles of all shapes and sizes sold in the US thus far in 2016, over one in three (37% or 6.03 million) were SUVs and crossovers. Factor in pickup sales too and that market share jumps to 53%.
But even without help from the likes of the Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado, the crossover as a vehicle type is more popular among Americans than any other sort of car -- 4.4 million sales versus 2.9 million for medium sized cars; 2.6 million for small cars; or 2.4 million for pickups.
This remarkable demand is why car companies, particularly US automakers, are going to remarkable lengths to ensure they have a lineup overflowing with crossovers and SUVs.
The latest-generation Chevrolet Tahoe may be the most reliable SUV in the full-size class (based on JD Power data) but it is only the 24th most popular SUV or crossover on sale in the US today. In fact, Chevrolet only has one model, the new Equinox, in the top 10.
The three most popular SUV/crossover models in the US at the moment are all Japanese -- the Honda CRV, Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue. The Ford Escape (fourth place, 281,281 sales in 2016) is the most popular American SUV and the Ford Explorer, which kick-started the current trend, is in fifth place.
Still, sales of all SUVs and crossovers were up 10.5% this year, and the trend shows no signs of ending, so expect the North American International Auto Show to be full of new crossovers from US car builders when it opens its doors to the press on January 9.