GMC’s Envoy XL, the first midsize General Motors SUV with three-row seating, is stealing sales from competitive minivans, WardsAuto.com reported.

Citing GMC data, WardsAuto.com said the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan and Ford Windstar are among the top 10 vehicles driven previously by Envoy XL buyers. The top three vehicles that consumers are ditching for Envoy XL are the GMC Jimmy, Ford Explorer and Jeep Cherokee. But GM is having more contact with minivan owners than expected.

“We thought we’d have interaction with minivans, but this is a little higher than we thought,” Craig Bierly, GM’s marketing director-midsize trucks, told WardsAuto.com. “(Minivans and Envoy XL) are both seven-passenger vehicles. It’s a choice for somebody who might be somewhat reluctant to buy a minivan.”

Bierly also told WardsAuto.com that the extended version usually accounts for 40% of total Envoy sales “which is higher than our internal forecasts. We thought it was going to be about 35%. In January, it was nearly half of our business.”

According to Ward's data, GM’s Oklahoma City assembly plant produced 13,302 Envoy XLs and 13,650 Chevy TrailBlazer EXTs and Isuzu Ascenders in January-February. Ramp-up is under way for a new derivative badged GMC Envoy XUV, which features a retractable roof over the cargo area.

GM may yet squeeze another ‘badge-engineered’ version out of Oklahoma. Reuters this week reported that GM is considering building a Saab-badged derivative that would be sold only in the US.

WardsAuto.com said the Envoy XL’s sales performance "has to be a relief to GM", which was slow to offer a seven-passenger midsize SUV.

“We were a little late to the party in terms of seven-passenger accommodation,” GM’s Bierly told WardsAuto.com. “But we really feel we aced it.”