It has been over a decade since the BMW X5, Cadillac Escalade, Acura MDX and others took the luxury segment by storm. Over time, many may have forgotten what kind of impact this new group of vehicles made on their companies' bottom lines, but they — along with smaller crossovers — still play a major role in the market.
Like NFL fans who didn't fully realize what they were missing until replacement referees embarrassed the league, Infiniti dealers weren't completely aware of how successful a proper crossover could be until the JX arrived. Sales of the two-row, overtly sporty FX had fallen every year since 2004. The big QX, though surprisingly successful, competes in a lower-volume sector. In September, the JX made up 24% of all Infiniti sales. Although the JX, now the brand's best-selling utility vehicle, has been on sale only since March, Infiniti's four SUVs and crossovers have been responsible for 39% of the brand's 86,596 sales in 2012. In 2002, Infiniti sold one SUV; it accounted for 19% of the brand's total volume.
What kind of impact does that have on a brand? Total Infiniti car sales for 2012 are up just 2.5%; its "trucks" leapt up 63.6%. The brand overall for 2012 is up 20%.