A black 2020 GMC Acadia Denali is shown at sunset.

Tracking the Sales of the GMC Acadia During Its Best and Worst Years

One of the more popular midsize SUVs on the market is the GMC Acadia. It takes a lot of the design cues from the GMC Sierra and morphs them into a very capable and equally luxurious SUV. But has that translated into actual interest from SUV shoppers? And are they as inclined to shop for a GMC Acadia for sale as they would the GMC Sierra or the Canyon? Well, the answer is actually yes.

Surprisingly enough (or maybe not, depending on how you look at it), the GMC Acadia has managed to carve out its own niche within the midsize SUV market––an extremely competitive and very overcrowded market––especially considering that many of the sales of midsize SUVs are cannibalized by crossover SUVs that range from compact to three-row in size. But how does all of this measure into the GMC Acadia’s sales standings, and how well does GMC’s midsize luxury SUV stand against the competition? Well, the numbers may (or may not) surprise you.

A Big Hit From the Start

The GMC Acadia originally made its debut on the market as a 2007 model year. It utilized a shared platform with other popular crossovers at the time, including the luxury SUV, the Buick Enclave. The Acadia managed to shoot out of the gate with an impressive near-73,000 units sold in 2007, making it one of the more popular midsize SUVs on the market at the time.

The launch of the Acadia was popularized by GMC’s approach to the Acadia being similar to the Sierra: it was very utilitarian in its design, truly highlighting the “Utility” in SUV. This was due to its impressive towing capabilities of a midsize pickup truck, at 5,200 lbs, thanks to its strengthened unibody design and optional all-wheel drive configuration.

The very capable V6 that outputs 275 hp at 251 lb-ft of torque made the initial offering of the Acadia a performance-capable entry in the midsize/crossover SUV segment, too. It was also a great option for those with a sizable family looking for a three-row SUV and for those who needed a good work SUV with a lot of interior cargo volume. The Acadia really was that perfect crossover between an SUV and a pickup truck, and its looks, utility, and functionality bore that out in its impressive sales that continued to spike after its initial 2007 model year outing.

2017 Saw the Largest Amount of Units Sold

The peak of the Acadia’s sales happened a decade after its debut. In 2017 the Acadia had two generational models on the market at the same time, with the first generation being phased out through the limited availability of the aptly named GMC Acadia Limited, while the second generation made its debut as a 2018 model year. This gave customers looking for a GMC Acadia for sale multiple options to choose from throughout 2017. This also introduced a lot of new features for the Acadia for the 2018 model year outing representing the second generation of the nameplate.

The first model year outing for the second generation saw a smaller, more compact GMC Acadia that was no longer closer to the Tahoe but rather more akin to the Enclave. It was more chiefly midsize thanks to having a smaller wheelbase and being more narrow. Additionally, the new generation Acadia had its interior buffed up, and all new infotainment features were made available, making it a lot more attractive to potential buyers.

This resulted in the Acadia moving more than 111,000 units throughout 2017, making it the biggest-selling year of the Acadia yet. Its next two biggest years were also in 2019, where the Acadia moved more than 99,000 units, and that was followed by 2015 when the Acadia moved 96,393 cars. So the Acadia’s top-selling years in order are:

  • 2017 – 111,276 Units Sold
  • 2019 – 99,430 Units Sold
  • 2015 – 96,393 Units Sold
  • 2013 – 89,793 Units Sold
  • 2018 – 88,622 Units Sold

A close up shows the dash in a 2020 GMC Acadia for sale.

A Steady Decline Post-COVID

Unfortunately, the upswing in sales was cut short due to supply chain issues, consumer sales, and a disrupted market because of COVID. The Acadia saw a steep drop-off in sales in 2020, which turned into its lowest sales year since its debut. The following two years also saw equivalent drop-offs in sales, with 2021 dropping down to just under 60,000 units, and 2022 dropping even further to just 53,000 units. The numbers definitely don’t look good for the Acadia, but how does it measure up against some of its nearest competitors? And was it grim tidings for every other SUV during those same sales periods?

Well, its nearest sibling, the Buick Enclave, saw similar dips during the same time period and even managed a 27.89% decline in 2022 compared to 2021, according to sales reports. The Dodge Durango also saw a 15.81% year-over-year sales decline compared to 2021, along with other popular vehicles like the Honda Pilot, which saw a 30.40% year-over-year drop compared to 2021. So it wasn’t just limited to GM’s brand of vehicles or the GMC brand in general.

The downward sales slide isn’t true for all other midsize SUVs. Crossovers like the Ford Bronco and Kia Sorento actually saw year-over-year increases in sales from 2021, along with the Ford Edge and Nissan Pathfinder. The Jeep Grand Cherokee managed to top the charts, with an impressive haul of more than 222,000 units throughout 2022, but even that’s down compared to its sales haul in 2021, where it moved an impressive 254,000 units, its highest sales haul in nearly 20 years.

So why the massive decline in the GMC Acadia? Did people just stop liking the crossover? While it’s easy to blame the pandemic for disruption, one must ask why some vehicles bounced back and others haven’t. And why are some vehicles in the same segment managing record sales while others are steadily dropping off even while customers are getting back out into the marketplace and buying up vehicles more than ever before, in some cases? Well, it’s a little bit more complicated than what the numbers may lead you to believe.

Supply Chain Grinds GMC Acadia Sales Momentum to a Halt

Even with the effects of the pandemic subsiding, there is another problem that General Motors and all of its subsidiaries faced: supply chain disruptions. While some other companies managed to recover, not everyone recovered at the same time or within the same time frame. Chip shortages and production woes put GM and its brands in peril, which in turn greatly affected sales across the board. The chip shortages particularly impacted GM’s trucks and SUVs all throughout 2021 and 2022, in particular the Acadia, Canyon, Sierra, and Terrain.

Basically, if you were looking to get your hands on a GMC Acadia for sale with certain features, you would find that some core basics, like heated or ventilated seats, were missing. Combine that with the assembly hold-ups and not being able to get ample supply to dealers, and sadly SUVs like the Acadia were just hit with a multitude of poor sales circumstances for a couple of years in a row. It might look grim right now, but once again, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

A black 2020 GMC Acadia Denali is shown driving past blurred trees.

The Acadia Is Bouncing Back

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The very tail-end of 2022 saw GMC finally getting supply and production back on track. As of November 2022, the company had managed to accrue more than 60 days worth of supply, which is still short of the 86-day supply average pre-pandemic. According to Charlie Chesbrough, the senior economist from Cox Automotive, the recovery is just now getting underway to get things back in order as GMC prepares for a big upcoming year, saying, “Timing is everything. Production is finally ramping up after being stymied by the chip shortage just as demand started to waiver and vehicle sales slowed down.”

The Cox Automotive report indicates that supply is starting to ramp back up to pre-pandemic levels, indicating that eager shoppers can now find more available supply than in the previous two years. Does this mean that the GMC Acadia’s sales woes are now behind it, and it can get back to the upward swing that it saw before it was cut short by unfortunate circumstances? Well, it all depends on if the GMC Acadia can catch buyers’ eyes when compared to the competition during these current economic trends. It really could go either way, but as supply normalizes and car shoppers get back into their usual buying habits, we’ll see if GMC can recapture the spark that the Acadia had during its popular rise during its initial debut.