Crossovers — the station wagons the industry insists on counting as trucks — were one of just two segments of the U.S. market that showed a sales gain for the first five months of this year.
The other was small cars, of course. Everybody wants a small gasoline-sipper, and nobody can fill the demand. They were up 10.3 percent for the year.
But crossovers showed a sales gain of 1.9 percent for the year to date, and that ain't bad these days. Despite a setback in May, crossover sales in the first five months of 2008 totaled 991,540 units, up 18,956 over the same period last year.
It sounds like a good market to get into, right? Wrong.
The crossover market is grossly overcrowded, and only an outstanding entry will make much of a splash.
In May, 45 crossover nameplates competed for the customer's dollar. Only six were sold at an annual rate of 100,000 or more: the Ford Escape and Edge, the Honda CR-V and Pilot and the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander. The CR-V is the best seller.
The newest of the Detroit 3's crossovers, the Dodge Journey, posted a respectable 7,520 sales in May to take 10th place in the segment. But since it arrived in February, the Journey has captured only 1.8 percent of the crossover market.
Approaching the starting line are the Ford Flex and Chevrolet Traverse. Will they join the 100,000 club? We'll let you know.