Snow, Sales & Compact Crossovers

Gary S. Vasilash

Let’s face it: When there’s snow flying or temperatures plummeting, one of the last things you want to do is to go outside to do anything of a non-recreational nature. And so one of the reasons why many auto companies reported less-than positive January 2014 sales in the context of January 2013 sales is because of the snow and cold that large portions of the U.S. were subjected to last month.

Seriously: Do you think that if you live, say, in Nashville and it is so cold that pipes are bursting in your house that you’re going to say, “Honey, I think we ought to go out and buy a new car”?

2014 Acura RDX Acura RDX

When you see that even Ford F-Series sales for the month of January had a minus sign in front of them, you know that it is possibly a sign of the Apocalypse. A snowy one.

(Of course, it should be noted that the F-Series sales were off 0.7%. That said, the total number of deliveries was 46,536. And that’s more than the total number of Fiestas, C-MAXes, Focuses, Fusions, Tauruses, Mustangs, and Police Interceptor Sedans—that is, the entire passenger car lineup—which was 45,894 for the month of January.)

One thing that was striking was that Acura pointed out that its RDX crossover has had 21 straight months of sales increases. It is striking, in part, because in the small, premium crossover market that the RDX is part of, it is a solid contender. According to Autodata, last year 44,750 RDXes were delivered. Audi’s Q5 was a reasonably close second, at 40,355. The BMW X3 was fairly well back at 30,623.

Later this year, Lincoln will be coming out with the MKC to compete in this space, and company execs have tended to concentrate on being competitive with the Q5 and the X3, which may be something of a misstep because the RDX is a bit hard to ignore.

While the magnitude is of a different order entirely, you never hear anyone at Ram, GMC or Chevy overlooking the F-Series.