By: Rick Walker

Light Trucks and SUV's continue to dominate the automotive market place.Over the past year this segment has accounted for 68-percent of all vehicle sales in Canada according to DesRosier Automotive consulting.

Vehicles in this segment include Crossovers, SUV's, Light Trucks, Pick-Ups, and Mini-Vans, but the bulk of the sales are trucks and SUV's.  Marketing experts say over the years a negative stigma has slowly been attached to Mini-Vans. They are not as popular as they used to be because they are seen more as family vehicles that are almost strictly used for shopping and taking the kids to soccer or hockey. In short Mini-Vans are not exciting.

SUV's have a different image. They are seen as sportier. Trucks are more adventurous. Automakers are focused on those aspects and are marketing their vehicles accordingly. They are also trying to build their SUV's and trucks with more technology and better ergonomics.

Ford is now focusing almost exclusively on the Truck and SUV market with the exception of the Mustang. Ford's new Ranger is designed to fill a void in the automaker's model line up, by reintroducing a mid-size pick up that can compete with vehicles like the Chevy Colorado. From what we've seen so far the Ranger is on target in terms of style, and features. It's versatile offering accessories for camping, and for work.  Ford's Escape is also a segment leader.

Chevrolet is making cars, but is also focused heavily on the SUV market with the Trax and Equinox.  Both the Trax and Equinox are feature rich and like all SUV manufacturers they're focused on creature comforts. Today's SUV's are being designed with ease of entry and exit in mind. 

Mercedes Benz is building more luxury into the G-Class. The G550 has been completely revamped for 2019.  The G-Wagens were former military vehicles and were not originally designed with luxury in mind, but with the new G550 the trim and finish inside the cockpit rivals the S-Class. The new G550 is 250-pounds lighter.  The interior is also six inches longer, and there is more width inside too. 

Honda has the Passport, Ridgeline, and CRV.  Toyota has the Rav4 and the Highlander. 

Chrysler continues to dominate the Mini-Van segment, but their RAM pickups remain strong sellers. Like Ford Chrysler is shifting its focus more toward trucks.  

Connectivity is perhaps the biggest selling point for all vehicles today, and digital features like navigation, rear view camera, automatic emergency braking, and semi-autonomous safety features along with Apple Car Play and Android compatibility have become almost must-haves for today's car buyers. All of that technology is being featured in today's SUV's and Trucks, along with luxurious finely crafted interiors where drivers are cocooned in sound insulated cabins. 

There are just too many SUV's and Trucks to mention here, and that fact just makes the point that it's Trucks and SUV's that are dominating the market place. We are seeing it at auto shows. Every new vehicle auto show we have attended so far this year has been dominated by SUV's and Trucks.

Look for the trend to continue this month at the Ottawa Gatineau International Auto Show March 21st to 24th at the Shaw Centre in Downtown Ottawa.  The Ottawa event will feature over 300 of the newest vehicles from 34 different car companies from around the world.  Expect at least half of those new vehicles to be SUV's or Trucks.