Americans seem to be falling back in love with big SUVs, as the economy recovers and gas prices hold the line.
General Motors seems to be the biggest recipient of this renewed love affair.
Sales of its new-design Cadillac Escalade, which starts at just under $70,000, more than doubled last month. The Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, platforms shared by the Escalade, also did well. Together, they were up 25.2 percent to 24,089 units.
At Ford, Explorer SUV sales were up 34.9 percent and the smaller Escape SUV jumped 18.9 percent for its best-ever July sales. The big Ford Expedition SUV, which starts at about $43,000, with a 16 mpg fuel rating in combined city/highway driving, was up 59.3 percent.
Chrysler Group’s Jeep brand SUV sales soared 40.9 percent from a year ago.
Overall, GM sales in July were 256,160, up 9.4 percent, the automaker’s best July since 2007. Ford’s July figure was 211,467, up 9.5 percent, according to Autodata. Chrysler Group’s July total for all its models was 167,667, up 19.7 percent — best July sales since 2005.
Big SUVs are very profitable vehicles for U.S. carmakers. In July, they sold at higher prices, an average $5,500 more than a year earlier, according to a report from Brian Johnson, auto analyst at Barclays. Meanwhile, incentives on the big SUVs decreased n an average of $782 from a year ago, Johnson said.
Automakers sold nearly 1.44 million new cars and trucks in the U.S. in July, according to Autodata. That’s up 9.1 percent from a year earlier and up 1% from June. That represents a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.48 million, up from 15.76 million a year ago.