Look-a-like: Toyota C-HR and…

Let me come clean right from the beginning: I am a big fan of the Toyota C-HR, as it is the only car right now that seems to be carrying the avant garde torch in the subcompact SUV segment that was once kick-started by the equally adventurous-looking Nissan Juke. What’s more, the model’s looks are clearly not hampering it with consumers, who have taken to the model really rather well (European sales data, US sales data, US subcompact SUV segment comparison). However, despite this love, I always found it curious that this willfully different-looking car is, from the rear, very similar looking to another car that came before it…

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US sales 2017 first half: Small Pickup segment

US-sales-small_pickup_truck-segment-2016-Chevrolet_Colorado-Nissan_Frontier-Toyota_Tacoma

After finishing 2016 as the fastest growing segment, with a growth rate of 25.5%, things have slowed down considerably, resulting in a growth rate of only 2.4% over the first half of 2017. Moreover, rather than being evenly spread among all models, the remaining growth in the segment is being driven by one model only: the all-new Honda Ridgeline. With the replacement for the Nissan Frontier, the eagerly-awaited Jeep Wrangler pickup and the return of the Ford Ranger still a while away, it is unlikely the segment will see a huge upturn anytime soon.

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US sales 2017 first half: Premium Large SUV segment

Stable sales for large luxury crossovers, slight growth for full-sized luxury crossovers.

US Large Premium SUV
Sales of Premium Large SUVs appear to have peaked, as first half 2017 figures are up just 1% over the same period last year, for a total of 296,538 sales. So far this year, the trend in the premium segment seems to be: the bigger the truck, the slower the sales growth. However, subdivided in Large and Full-sized SUVs, the former subsegment is down by 1% to 236,206 sales, while the really big trucks still improve by 11% to 60,332 sales. The segment has had a boost of fresh and updated models in recent years, but will take a breather in coming months. We’ve just had the launch of the new generation Land Rover Discovery to replace the LR4, but we’ll have to wait until next year for the arrival of the Lexus RX 7-seater, new generation BMW X5 and the long-awaited new Mercedes-Benz G-Class. In the full-sized subsegment, there will be more news this year, with the new generations of the Infiniti QX80 and the Lincoln Navigator arriving in showrooms in the second half, as well as an updated Cadillac Escalade.

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US sales 2017 Large Pick-up segment

US Large PickupSales in the Large Pickup segment grew by 4.3% in the second quarter of 2017, a slight slowdown relative to the the first quarter, but still enough to register a YTD sales rate of 4.9% – much better than the falling market total. In fact, there is a trend emerging in 2017, wherein pickups seem to be regaining what little ground they lost to commercial vans in recent years (at least those pickups that are used for commercial purposes) – both pickup segments grew so far this year, while the commercial vans segment lost volume. This steady growth trend is likely to continue in 2017, but the arrival of the new RAM Pickup towards the end of the year may result in a quickening of the growth rate in 2018, given how popular the model has been in recent years.

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US sales 2017 first half: Premium Mid-sized SUV segment

Robust growth continues as Cadillac reclaims lead ahead of 4 close challengers.

US premium mid-sized SUVSales of Premium Mid-sized SUVs in the US were up 9% in Q2 of 2017, resulting in an 11% increase for the first half of the year. Total sales added up to 213,994 units, which is just about double the figure of the Premium Large Car segment, down by 14%. And whereas the German luxury brands are still firmly in control in the sedan market, they’re much less dominant among crossovers, with only one German in the top-4, in third place. The crossover segment continues its steady growth rate after already gaining close to 15% in 2016, as buyers are switching from sedans to crossovers and SUVs, which in then attracts new models to the fast growing segment. The Jaguar F-Pace and Cadillac XT5 just celebrated their first birthdays, the new generation Audi Q5 is still fresh and in the coming months we’ll welcome the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Range Rover Velar, as well as new generations of the Volvo XC60 and BMW X3. Compared last year, the entire top-6 is shuffled up, showing how this is one of the most dynamic and competitive segments, with 5 models challenging for the lead.… Continue Reading …

US sales 2017 first half: Premium Compact SUV segment

Fastest growing segment in the US, now larger than premium compact car segment

US premium compact SUV 2The Premium Compact Crossover segment saw its sales increase 15% in Q2 of 2017, which is a slowdown of the booming 39% growth in the first quarter, which brings the year-to-date increase to 27%, still an improvement over the 24% increase in all of 2016. Total sales in the first half were 56,667 which is more than the sales figure of the Premium Compact Car segment. Only one model in the segment lost sales: the Mercedes-Benz GLA. With the new generation Mini Countryman in showrooms now, and the arrival of the Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40 by the end of the year (or perhaps early next year), the segment is bound to continue on this path of growth. Next year, Audi could bring the Q2 to the States as well, although this has not yet been officially confirmed, nor has Acura hinted at the possibility that the China-made CDX is coming to the US. If so, it won’t be for at least another year.

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US sales 2017 first half: Limousine segment

Big shifts in the ranking as double digit growth or double digit decline is the norm among limousines

US limousine segmentSales in the Limousine segment edge up 2% in Q2 of 2017 and grow by 3% in the first half of the year, to 28,587 units. That may seem very stable, but there are big shifts in the ranking as individual models either show double (or triple) digit growth or double digit declines. Actually, there are only three nameplates (four if you include the Hyundai Equus -> Genesis G90 which is basically the same car) that improve, while the other eight decline. And if it weren’t for the Cadillac CT6, the segment would’ve been down 9%. Besides the new Porsche Panamera which arrived in Q1, we’ll also welcome new generations of the Audi A8 and Lexus LS this year, which should help give the segment another boost as the Panamera has done in Q2. But don’t expect them to threaten the dominant segment leader anytime soon.

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US sales 2017 first half: Premium Large segment

Only the 2 segment leaders grow volume in Q2, all others lose double digits or are new

US-sales-premium_large_car-segmentAfter a 14% drop in 2016 and a 13% loss in Q1 of 2017, the Premium Large segment remains consistent with another decline of 14% in Q2, to just 54,915 sales. That makes it unlikely the 3-year losing streak for the premium large cars will come to an end in 2017. In fact, the segment is likely to end this year with a loss of 100,000 sales compared to 2013, when a record 334,298 units were sold. As for the other premium car segments, the main reason for this crash landing is the rising popularity of crossovers, although sales growth is slowing down for these models as well. What’s more worrying, is that the decline happens while quite a few models in the segment are still relatively fresh. The new generation Mercedes-Benz E-class, Volvo S90 and V90 Cross Country, Lincoln Continental, updated Jaguar XF and Genesis G80 all less than 18 months in showrooms. The new generation BMW 5-series arrived too late in Q2 to make a real difference, but should help soften the decline in the second half of the year.… Continue Reading …

US sales 2017 first half: Premium Mid-sized segment

Segment stabilizes decline, helped by coupe models as sedan sales continue to sink

US-sales-premium_midsized_car-segmentSales of Premium Mid-sized cars increased 3% in the second quarter of 2017, which makes it the best performing premium car segment and beats the overall market. For the first half of the year, sales are up 1% to 235,759 units. That’s a significant improvement from the loss of 15.3% percent in 2016, and much better than the -16% of the mainstream midsized car segment, although that segment remains 4 times as large in the US. However, the premium midsized crossover segment increased 11% to almost 214.000 sales and is closing in. If in the first quarter 8 of the 16 remaining models in the segment showed double digit declines, in Q2 there were only 5 double-digit losers and 2 single-digit losers, while the remaining 9 models improved. One sidenote to the ranking: the Mercedes-Benz C-class is the only model in the segment for which sales of the coupe and convertible are included with those of the sedan/station wagon, as all others have distinctive names for their sexier models: 3-Series/4-Series, A4/A5, Q50/Q60, IS/RC. That’s why we’ve decided to give you 2 rankings this time: the blue graph with the split figures and the green graph with the combined figures. As you can see, that makes the difference between having a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW on top.

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US sales 2017 first half: Premium Compact segment

Segment down 22% in Q2, oldest 2 models perform bestUS premium compact

The Premium Compact segment was the fastest declining segment in the US car market in the first quarter with sales down 27%, and the situation only gets worse with a 31% decline in Q2. That brings the first half figure to just 42.519 units, down 29% on the same period in 2016, which means it remains the fastest declining segment in the US so far this year. The main culprit for this demise is the premium compact crossover segment, which grows 27% in the first half of the year and becomes larger in volume than the regular sedans, hatchbacks and station wagons. Only two out of the 8 players in the segment show single-digit growth in Q2, while all others lose volume by at least 25%. These two happen to be the oldest of the bunch, as the Lexus CT200h has been on the market virtually unchanged since 2011 and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class was first launched that same year, even though sales in the US only started in 2014 as an electric-only model.

Even with the addition of the Infiniti QX30 the segment would be deep in the red. The Qx30 is marketed as a crossover, while in fact it’s really just a hatchback. Then again, following the same reasoning the Mercedes-Benz GLA should be classified as a hatchback as well, so we’re not sure how to classify it. We’re interested in what our readers have to say about this matter. In Europe, it is sold under two different names for both segment: the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover, even though the only distinction between the two is the higher ground clearance of the latter. In the US, the Q30 is sold as the QX30 Sport, but Infiniti does not specify the take rate on that version, which would have made things a bit easier for us. For now, we’ll display it here for reference (it would instantly have become the segment leader), but keep it officially in the small SUV segment. 

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