The midsized premium SUV segment continues to outgrow the overall market and even accelerates its growth rate with a 29% increase in Q3 and a 25% increase in the first nine months of 2017, to over 372.000 sales. The two segment leaders consolidate their grip on the segment as both did better than the overall segment. As a result, the #1 and #2 hold a combined 43% of the segment in Q3 and 42,6% in the first three quarters. The big winner is the Mercedes-Benz GLC (including the Coupe version) wiht sales almost doubling up to over 30.000 sales in the third quarter, which allows it to take over the year-to-date lead of the segment. If the GLC manages to hold on to this position by the end of the year, it will be the first time ever that Mercedese-Benz tops the ranking of this segment. The GLC’s predecessor GLK has never been a success due to polarizing styling, but the new model appears to have hit the mark. The Volvo XC60 showed double digit growth but still loses its top spot as the changeover to the new generation is hurting its pace of deliveries, even though the outgoing model has kept up strong in its last months thanks to competitive pricing of fully loaded versions. It will be interesting to see which one of these two will end up on top in 2018. Or perhaps the segment initiator BMW X3 will mingle into this fight as well when its third generation hits full steam?
The midsized premium SUV segment continues to outgrow the overall market with a 12% increase in Q2 and a 20% increase in the first half of 2017, to 276.300 sales. The two segment leaders consolidated their grip on the segment as both showed double digit growth while their closest four rivals all showed double digit declines. As a result, the #1 and #2 hold a combined 40% of the segment in Q2 and 37,3% in the first half. Amazingly, the Volvo XC60 reclaims the top spot it lost to the Mercedes-Benz GLC in the first quarter. Keep in mind that almost all of these sales are the outgoing model, as the new generation had only just arrived in showrooms by the end of the first half. And the GLC figures also include sales of the GLC Coupe, which makes the Volvo figures even more impressive. If the changeover to the new generation happens smoothly, the XC60 could finish on top of the ranking for the fourth consecutive year, and potentially with more than 100.000 sales for the first time ever. The Audi Q5 took third place in the second quarter but still lost 17% on the sales figures of its predecessor in the same period last year, and it’s not enough to kick the Range Rover Evoque off the year-to-date podium.
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.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
As far as I’m concerned, they absolutely nailed this one. If the Giulia has a somewhat anonymous rear end, the Stelvio is original and great looking from all angles. Perhaps the rear overhang is a bit too much and the rear 3/4 a tad too rounded, but from the front 3/4 it looks very squat and the QV even aggressive. I love the full rear view and the shape of the C-pillar, not to mention the interior.
The expectations for the Stelvio may not have been as sky-high as those for its Giulia sister, but it’s fair to say the SUV was the most anticipated premiere of the show. The good news for the Alfistas is that the Stelvio delivers where it matters: as Bart mentioned, it looks good for the most part, promises a very dynamic drive, and comes topped with a 500hp+ halo model. What’s not to like?