The premium midsized car segment grows slower than the overall market at 6% to 662.738 vehicles in 2015, which is the best score since 2011 but a long way from the 1 million sales in 2002. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has scored its second victory of the segment after leading the segment in 2011 by a margin of less than 10.000 units above the #3. This time, the former “Baby-Benz” leads the BMW 3-series by 30.000 sales and the soon-to-be-replaced Audi A4 by almost 50.000 sales. And in 2015 year we can actually compare these 3 models directly, as this year the C-Class Coupe will be launched and its sales will be combined with those of the sedan and the station wagon, while BMW and Audi have separated their coupe versions into stand-alone models with the 4-series and A5.
The premium midsized car segment is up 8% in the first three quarters of 2015, boosted by updated models and a new entrant to the segment. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been the best selling premium midsized car all year and isn’t likely to hand over that title by the end of the year. In fact, it has only strengthened its lead over the BMW 3-series, which was outsold by the Audi A4 in Q3, even though the Audi was in the middle of a model changeover to the new generation. The gap between the two is about 6.600 units, so I don’t think the A4 can close that gap in the next three months. But for 2016, the 3-series is in serious trouble.
Sales of premium midsized cars are up 6% in the first half of 2015, which is slower than the 8% growth of the overall market, and much slower than the mainstream midsized segment. Like in Q1, the new generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class controls the segment with sales up 45% compared to the outgoing model last year. BMW loses ground, with the 3-series down 21% and the 4-series no longer able to make up for that loss, despite that model’s 60% growth. In third place, the Audi A4 is surprisingly stable, especially considering its successor has already been revealed. Perhaps the fact that it looks exactly the same as the outgoing model helps buyers convince to snatch a great deal on the old one. It now comes fully loaded and with a nice discount on top, while 90% of the population won’t notice the difference between the old and the new model. [Read more…]
While the mainstream midsized car segment has just returned to positive territory, the midsized premium segment maintains its upward curve and even accelerates its growth, from 5% in 2014 to 7% in Q1 of this year.
This growth can be fully attributed to the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which increases by 45% to take the top spot of the segment for the first time since 2011. The C-Class now holds a 27,5% share of the segment, which is still less dominant than its direct competitor, the BMW 3-series, in Q1 of last year, when that model held over 30% share.
The 3-series is down a rough 21%, and that’s not only because the coupe and convertible models have been renamed BMW 4-series, because combined 3-series and 4-series sales are still down on the first quarter of last year. The increased competition from Mercedes-Benz seems a more likely explanation, and BMW won’t be able to lose focus, with the all-new Audi A4 also finally arriving in showrooms in the next couple of months. A minor facelift of the 3-series won’t be enough to keep the model ahead. [Read more…]
The midsized premium car segment has rebounded from its lowest figure in a few decades, increasing a modest 5% thanks to a handful of new and redesigned models. 4 out of the 9 models that haven’t been discontinued lose sales, with the biggest hit taken by the segment leader BMW 3-series, after peaking at over 200.000 sales for the first time since 2008. There are two major reasons for the sharp drop in 3-series deliveries; one is the renaming of the model’s coupe and convertible versions to 4-series, as combined sales of the 3 and 4 are still up on 2013. The second reason is the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, up 13% but that’s still the nameplate’s second lowest figure since its introduction two decades ago.
Pushed down by the C-Class into third place, and hitting its lowest sales since its introduction as well, the Audi A4 is still surprisingly stable for a model that’s due to be replaced soon, at just -3%. With the new generation ready to reach showrooms in the middle of the year, the A4 should be able to rebound in 2015. [Read more…]