The premium midsized SUV segment in Europe was red-hot in 2015, growing 25% to 366.008 sales as all remaining nameplates but one show volume improvements and two newcomers have stormed up the charts. After flamboyantly taking control of the segment last year, the Volvo XC60 consolidates its leadership by growing only slightly slower than the rest of the segment and blasting past last-year’s record sales for the already 7-year old model. The XC60 has grown by 67% in two years time thanks to its facelift and the introduction of new, four-cylinder engines. The Audi Q5, just as old as the XC60, improves its sales for the third consecutive year, albeit by a more modest 6%. That means the Q5 still increases the gap to the #3 Range Rover Evoque, as that model is up by just 2% as customers were waiting for the facelifted version to arrive in showrooms. When that happened, the Evoque was up 11% in Q4.
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The BMW X3 is the only model in the segment that’s not discontinued to lose volume at -5%, and the all-new Land Rover Discovery Sport came very close to X3 sales in the fourth quarter. The only 7-seater in the segment finishes its launch-year in fifth place, but can’t keep up with the sales volume of its cousin Evoque. The BMW X4 and Porsche Macan have been fighting all year, but the X4 beat its rival 7 months out of 12 and comes up on top for the year in 6th place, just 63 units more than the Macan.
Mercedes-Benz has always been a minor player in this segment with the GLK, whose design hasn’t been received very well, but the new GLC solves that problem and storms up the charts. The GLC already takes a third place of the segment in Q4 and was up to second place in November and December, so it’s going to give the XC60 a run for its money in 2016. The Lexus NX has been received pretty well too, with almost 16.500 sales or 42% of Lexus sales in Europe, while the brand had expected it to be more like one third.
2015 premium midsized SUV sales Europe
|Midsized premium SUV segment||2015||2014||Change|
|3.||Range Rover Evoque||51.626||50.838||2%|
|5.||Land Rover Discovery Sport||32.089||106||New|
|11.||Land Rover Freelander||346||16.983||-98%|
Premium Compact Crossover segment
After growing quickly in 2014, the premium compact crossover segment takes a short breath in 2015 with sales down 5% to 231.834 as two of the four models are due for replacements. The other two models continue to sell well, with the Audi Q3 still firmly in the lead with sales up 7%, while the Mercedes-Benz GLA does even better with sales up 42% on its introduction year.
The Mini Countryman and Paceman duo hold on to their third place, but sales are down 27% as they’re starting to show their age. That means the BMW X1 is down from second to fourth and last place with sales down 32%. However, the new generation X1 entered showrooms in Q4 and it was immediately #1 in December, 2.000 sales ahead of the Q3. As a result, the X1 sold just 500 units less than the GLA in the last quarter and should be able to take control of the segment in 2016.
More models will come to this segment and help it back into a growth trajectory: Infiniti is introducing the GLA-based QX30 in 2016, but the Volvo XC40 won’t arrive until late 2017 or even 2018 as it is built on Volvo’s (and Geely’s) entirely new small car platform. There’s no word yet on smaller crossovers from Lexus (based on the upcoming Toyota C-HR?), Land Rover or Porsche, but considering the Q3 outsells the Q5, the GLA outsells the GLK/GLC and the new X1 will outsell the X3, there is quite some volume to be gained here as other segments may become too crowded or start to show slower growth.
2015 premium compact crossover sales Europe
|Premium compact SUV segment||2015||2014||Change|
|3.||Mini Countryman / Paceman||44.475||60.922||-27%|
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Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.