Sales growth of premium large SUVs in Europe continues to outpace the overall market, although at a lower rate than in the previous years. In the first quarter of 2017, the segment grew 9% to almost 80.000 sales in a total market up 7,8%. Only one model managed to op 10.000 sales this quarter, the BMW X5 thanks to sales up 10%. That means the X5 consolidates its leadership as the #2 Volvo XC90 sees stable sales compared to last year. Unlike its smaller sibling XC60, the XC90 is unable to grab the top spot in its segment, although Volvo points out to supply issues as a result of high global demand for the model. Range Rover is one of the big winners of the segment this year, with its models the two fastest growing nameplates in the segment, and the Range Rover Sport jumps up to third place at the expense of the much fresher Audi Q7 and the regular Range Rover climbs to 6th place.
Archives for May 2017
Sales of midsized premium SUVs remain in booming growth mode in the first quarter of 2017, with an increase of 27% to 142.000 sales. The overall market is up just 7,8% in the same period. All but one remaining nameplate in the segment grow their volume, but the biggest gainer also takes the top spot for the first time ever. The Mercedes-Benz GLC has quickly helped to forget its unsuccessful predecessor GLK and has stormed the ranking to levels never achieved by the brand in this segment. But there’s a sidenote to its achievement, as we only have combined sales figures which include the GLC Coupe version, whereas BMW splits out these versions into the X3 and X4. Without the GLC Coupe included, the Volvo XC60 would still be in the segment lead. Nonetheless, a #2 spot for the already 9-year old model whose successor has already been revealed is very impressive whichever way you look at it. With the new generation in showrooms within the next few months, Volvo should be able to keep challenging for the lead the rest of this year.
The limousine segment in Europe was up 6% to 11.600 sales in the first quarter of 2017, compared to an overall market up 7,8%. Segment leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class holds on to its top spot, but loses 9% of its volume and is now under serious threat of the new generation BMW 7-series. Considering the S-Class figures also include sales of the coupe and convertible versions, BMW most likely outsells its rival in pure sedan sales. On the bottom step of the podium we have a change of guard, as the Audi A8 loses a quarter of its volume as it’s due for a redesign, which promises to be the most advanced car of its class, just like its two rivals when they get updated. The A8 loses its position to the second generation Porsche Panamera, which triples the volume of its predecessor in the same period last year.
Sales of premium large cars in Europe are back in positive territory and even outgrowing the overall market at +11% to 106.600 units, after a 13% loss in Q4 of 2016. And individual models within this segment have very different fortunes, with all nameplates either growing or declining with double digits. The 2016 segment leader Mercedes-Benz E-Class extends its lead to almost 10.000 units thanks to sales up 48% over the all-new BMW 5-series, up 11% as deliveries of the new generation still need to gain traction. That leaves the leader of Q1 2016 in third place, as the Audi A6 loses 13% of its volume of the same period last year. Keep in mind, the E-Class includes coupe and convertible versions, which the other two models don’t have, and these two-door versions have just been launched so could be responsible for most of the growth, together with the still very fresh station wagon.
The premium midsized car segment in Europe increased slightly faster than the overall market in the first quarter of 2017, at +9%. This is also significantly better than the growth of the mainstream midsized segment, which was down by 12%. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class extends its lead of the segment with an increase of 17%, but keep in mind this includes the coupe and convertible versions, which are split off into different nameplates at its direct rivals. The BMW 3-series is only in third place of the ranking, but BMW is still the best selling brand in this class thanks to the additional volume of the 4-Series coupe, convertible and Gran Coupe, with Audi a very close second with its A4 and A5, leaving Mercedes-Benz in third place. Audi is growing fast this quarter, as both the A4 and A5 have been renewed and grow faster than the overall segment.
After outgrowing the overall market in 2016, the premium compact car segment in Europe appears to plateau in the first quarter of 2017 with sales down 1% in a market that continues to grow (+7,8%). The dominant segment leader is in trouble, as the Audi A3 loses 12% of its volume in the same period last year, while its nearest rivals continue to grow. The A3’s top spot is not yet in jeopardy, as the model still has an 11.000-unit advantage over its nearest rival, but its share of the segment has dipped to an all-time low of 20%. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class holds on to 2nd place by the skin of its teeth, as the BMW 1-series grows 16% to come within 300 sales of the A-Class. It will be interesting to see how the next generation 1-Series will perform when it gets front-wheel drive and loses the 6-cylinder option, making the current generation the last hatchback in its segment with those two features which are so important to enthusiasts but much less so for the average buyer. It will trade those qualities for more generic styling and more interior room.
At just 16.400 sales in Q1 of 2017, the large SUV segment is one of the smallest in Europe, in contrast to the US where it’s almost the largest segment as Americans buy almost 30 times as many of these cars than Europeans do. And every single model in the US midsized (yes, they have an even bigger segment above these) crossover segment top-13 (out of 17) outsells the entire European segment combined. Still, at +41% in the first quarter of 2017, this is one of the fastest growing segments in Europe, although that’s all thanks to one newcomer. This newcomer also breaks the Asian domination of the segment to put an American model on top in Europe for the first time ever. The Ford Edge has stormed up the charts since its launch halfway through 2016, but was unable to claim the full year top spot. But in the first quarter, the Edge has taken a controlling lead with over 31% share of the segment and more than 1.000 units ahead of its nearest rival.
The midsized crossover segment remains one of the fastest growing segments in Europe, even faster than the small crossover segment at +28% in the first quarter of 2017, to 371.500 sales. The Nissan Qashqai holds on to its top spot, thanks to sales up 13% on its already impressive score last year, but the Volkswagen Tiguan is closing in quickly with a gain of 78% to come within 10.000 sales. Considering the Tiguan outsold the Qashqai in the second half of last year, this is actually a bit of a disappointment for the model, than may suffer from a bit of cannibalization from the Seat Ateca and to a lesser degree the Skoda Kodiaq. In third place we find the Hyundai Tucson, similar to the full year 2016 ranking, but the facelifted Ford Kuga is growing at double its rate and is not far behind in 4th, up from 6th last year.
The small crossover segment continues to boom again outgrowing the overall market by a 2-to-1 ratio at +16% to 435.000 sales. The small crossover segment is already almost as large in terms of unit sales than the compact and midsized crossover segments combined. And new models will continue to enter the segment, so don’t expect this growth curve to flatten anytime soon. Meanwhile, the Renault Captur holds on to the segment leadership it has held ever since its launch, but does so by the skin of its teeth. With sales virtually stable as a facelift is imminent, the Captur feels the already facelifted Peugeot 2008 breathing down its neck thanks to an 18% increase, now just 1.200 sales behind the leader. In third place we stil find the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X, up 12% and distancing the top-3 players from the rest of the segment.
After a strong rebound in 2016, the large MPV segment is back down again by 7% to just under 36.000 sales in the first quarter of 2017. Interestingly, it’s the oldest models in the segment that improve, while the relatively fresh models lose volume. Still, nobody can touch the Ford S-Max, the least practical car of the segment in terms of interior room. The S-Max is the only nameplate to sell over 10.000 units this quarter, even though it loses 2% of its volume. Its closest rivals are the VW Group twins Volkswagen Sharan and Seat Alhambra, both up by 6% and increasing their share of the segment to 41,9% (from 36,9% in Q1-2016). That’s now more than Ford’s combined share of the S-Max and Galaxy, which is down to 41,3% as the latter lost 17% of its volume when compared to the same period last year.