I'm a member of Costco, the warehouse store. I make the most of my membership, buying in bulk and loading up my SUV for the trip home. Apparently, I'm not alone.
Costco's Auto Program is one of the benefits of membership, and a few of my friends have used it recently to buy their new cars. Costco prenegotiates a price for new vehicles with local dealers, saving members the hassle of negotiation. The prices turn out to be pretty good in most cases, and most brands of vehicles are available, at least in my area, which is a major car market. In the process of setting up deals for members, Costco has accumulated some very interesting data.
Most interesting to me is the fact that three of the top five most requested vehicles by Costco members in 2012 were SUVs. The top vehicle on the list was the Toyota Prius (not an SUV); followed by the Honda CR-V; Chevrolet Equinox; and Ford Escape. The non-SUV Hyundai Elantra was number five on the list.
All three SUVs in the top five were compact. None of the three SUVs is in the top five vehicles sold in the US for the year-to-date; in fact, none of Costco's top five vehicles is in the overall top five. Still, Costco membership represents a fairly upscale demographic, and the results are an interesting comment on the continuing popularity of the SUV.
Photo © Jason Fogelson