2019 may be the best year yet for off-road fans. These tough trucks and SUVs combine comfy cabins with long-travel suspension for truly great vehicles. Many of them are packing power too with 500 hp or more in many cases. They are selling spectacularly.
So why aren’t all automakers selling off-road SUVs and trucks?
Popular car enthusiast Doug DeMuro takes on this subject in his “Every Car Company Should Be Making an Off-Road SUV” video on his popular YouTube channel More Doug DeMuro.
Doug begins by giving a little background on off-roading’s rise to popularity. The idea of owning a vehicle that can take owners off the pavement for outdoor adventures is all the rage. The off-road trend has been on the rise for the last several years. It extends to vehicles that offer even minor off-road capability.
One example he uses is the Toyota 4Runner. Doug explains that the 4runner isn’t the best vehicle given its technology and over-pricing and other factors. It still enjoyed its highest sales ever in 2018. The TRD Pro models, in particular, have enjoyed great popularity as they are the off-road version. Even used models are selling for sticker price even when they are up to three years old.
Doug cited other examples of off-road SUVs and trucks with solid sales and very strong resale values. The Ford Raptor, Toyota Tacoma TRD, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, Jeep Wrangler, and the Subaru Crosstrek are all selling incredibly well in today’s market. Even discontinued off-road vehicles like Toyota’s FJ Cruiser are selling well and drawing amazing resale prices.
Why aren’t other automakers getting in on the off-road frenzy?
Doug poses this question in his video. He says it makes no sense for those companies not currently investing in off-road vehicles to not try and get in on this trend.
Why has no full-sized pickup truck come forward to compete with the Ford Raptor? Doug doesn’t understand why neither Chevy nor Ram, which are both famous for their trucks, has gotten in full-size off-roading. Both automakers have full-size pickup trucks but they don’t go far enough, he maintains, toward off-roading to even be contenders. The Raptor with its flared fenders, long-travel suspension, and powerful engine demonstrates just how well an off-road truck can sell. The Raptor sells for as much as $75,000.
Doug also wonders why BMW doesn’t develop a rival for the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon. He points out that the G-Wagon starts at $125,000 with a price of $150,000 for its AMG model. Considering their wide-spread sales, he’s puzzled about why BMW isn’t putting forth a competitor. He explained that a few years ago, BMW took a look at sales in the SUV market and decided to expand its lineup. But they elected to make coupe versions of their regular SUVs instead of looking at off-road vehicles. He believes it was a huge mistake for the automaker to make.
Doug cites other examples. He wonders why Honda hasn’t tapped into the trend. He wonders why the Chevy Blazer returned as a mid-size crossover instead of a capable off-road SUV. He points out that Ford sees the big market picture and that’s why they’re bringing back their Ford Bronco to fit into the off-road segment.
Finally, he doesn’t understand why Honda is pitching its Passport as an off-road vehicle. Doug calls it a “smaller Pilot with less ground clearance than a CRV.” He doesn’t understand why they aren’t willing to make more of an investment when they know how well the off-road segment is doing.
All off-road vehicles on the road are successful right now
Doug recommends that automakers develop competitors for the Forerunner, Wrangler, and Grand Cherokee. They should be producing SUVs and trucks with real off-road ability. He doesn’t understand why some car companies are taking a more conservative approach with a market segment as popular as off-roading right now.
He pointed out that all off-road vehicles on the market currently are successful without exception. They all are bringing in big sales numbers and large transaction prices. Doug says he’s looking forward to the new Land Rover Defender and Ford Bronco.
In closing, Doug said when it comes to the off-road segment, he hopes that other automakers “get their act together and make it happen too as soon as possible.”