DETROIT – Greg Stahl, president of Bob Johnson Chevrolet in Rochester, N.Y., has a pleasant problem. He cannot keep the Equinox compact SUV in stock.
While this could be true for any hot new car or truck, the Equinox is in its fifth year of production.
With sales rising every year since introduction in 2009 as a 2010 model, the Equinox joins those rare vehicles – think Toyota Camry and Honda Accord – that report sustained sales month after month and year after year.
“What gives a vehicle staying power is trust,” said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with the car-shopping website Edmunds.com. “Vehicles that are top sellers despite their age are nameplates that car shoppers can trust to have good quality, durability and reliability. They aren’t designed with the latest fad in mind – they are vehicles that are tested over time and have proven to be good products.”
More than 25,300 new customers took delivery of a new Equinox in July, a 37-percent surge in year-over-year sales that is helping fuel a fifth straight year of record sales.
“Equinox is one of the rare vehicles that has increased its sales every year since its current generation was introduced,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director, Chevrolet. “It is a market-tested and proven product, and recommendations from enthusiastic customers form the backbone of the Equinox’s strength. We think 2014 should see the third straight year of sales above 200,000.”
Many customers are coming back for seconds – 27 percent, or nearly three in 10 – have traded in their first Equinox for a second.
Tom and Susan Wortman of Raton, N.M., were in that group, recently trading their 2010 Equinox for a 2014 model. Their 31-year-old son and 34-year-old daughter each purchased one of the small SUVs after driving their parents’ Equinox.
“We started it,” Susan Wortman said. “They enjoy the vehicle as much as we do.”
Reception of the current-generation Equinox was immediate and strong, with sales leaping from 86,148 in 2009 to 149,979 in 2010. Sales totaled 238,192 in 2013, 84 percent of them to individual buyers.
The popularity of Equinox has led General Motors to some creative manufacturing approaches to keep up with demand. In addition to the crossover’s assembly home in Ingersoll, Ontario, GM is running a shuttle system, taking Equinox bodies to Oshawa, Ontario for paint and final production. Beyond the innovative shuttle program, GM also reopened an assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., to support the additional market demand for more Equinoxes.
And that was just to meet the overwhelming retail demand. Daily rental customers were offered the similarly sized Chevrolet Captiva for their fleets, keeping retail customers at the front of the Equinox line.
Equinox seats five, offers all-wheel drive and comes standard with an Ecotec 2.4L engine EPA-estimated at 32 mpg on highway. That’s better than Honda CR-V (31 mpg) and Toyota RAV4 (31 mpg), and the Ford Escape with either the 2.5L (31 mpg) or 2.0L (30 mpg) engines. Equinox also offers a 301-hp direct-injected V-6 that enables a 3,500-pound trailering rating. Neither the CR-V, RAV4 nor Escape offer a V-6.
The Equinox is affordable, too: The starting price for the 2014 Equinox LS model is $25,315.
New connectivity features for 2015 enhance Equinox’s position as the right vehicle for those with active lifestyles, including available OnStar with 4G LTE offering a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the car is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial, whichever comes first.
Advanced safety features, including forward collision alert and lane departure warning, are available and contribute to a comprehensive passenger protection system. The Equinox with available forward collision alert technology received a 2014 Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the only midsize SUV of nine evaluated to earn a “Good” rating in the Institute’s small overlap front crash test.
Chevrolet supports Equinox owners with two years/24,000 miles – whichever comes first – of scheduled maintenance, covering four oil changes, tire rotation and 27-point inspection.
Stahl, the dealer whose store led the nation in Equinox sales in July with 98 units sold, said the small SUV resonates with value-conscious customers.
“There are a lot a features for the money,” he said. “It’s efficient and it’s also a great-looking vehicle. I can’t wait for the next shipment.”
Editors: Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price includes destination charges but excludes tax, title, license, optional equipment and dealer fees.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality.