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.
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 starting price for the 2014 Equinox LS model is $25,315.