The premium large car segment in Europe has fallen into a double digit decline in the first quarter of 2019, with sales down 13% to just over 100.000 units. Only four of the 14 models in the class sell more than they did in the same period of 2018, and only one in the top-4. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class holds its top position with sales down 11% which means it increases its share of the segment to 28,9%. Despite a take rate of 15,5% for the plug-in hybrid version, its nearest rival BMW 5-series loses 19% and is just 120 sales ahead of the #3 Audi A6. The latter has just been renewed and delivers 12% more vehicles than in Q1 of last year. The A6 adds over 5 percentage points of share of the segment, which means these three models now account for 76% of all sales in this class. At brand level, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi control 83,4%, up from 77,9% last year. The A6 clearly has a shot at the #2 spot for this year, but is already too far behind the E-Class to reclaim the segment title it last held in 2015. There’s only one caveat to that remark: the E-Class is also available in Coupe and Convertible versions, and sales of those are not split out. Unfortunately we can’t directly compare sales figures of only the sedan and station wagon versions, but the E-Class isn’t as dominant as it seems from these numbers. The Volvo S90/V90 takes a hard hit because of cannibalization from the new V60, which looks very similar to the V90 but is quite a bit more affordable. Sales of the Swedish models are down by 39%, accounting for half of the total segment’s decline so far in 2019 and there’s now a significant gap to the top-3.
After a double digit gain in 2017, the premium large car segment in Europe saw its sales decline by 2% in 2018, but manages to stay above 400.000 sales for the second consecutive year and still holds 2,7% of the overall car market. In the top-3, only the BMW 5-series managed to improve its share, and only by the thinnest of margins. This doesn’t necessarily mean the German domination of this segment is under threat, because the losses of their volume sedans (and station wagons) were partially offset by increased sales of their niche models in this segment. While the top-3 models see their combined share thaw from 75% in 2017 to 71,8%, the share of the German 3 brands is stable at 78,9%. The class leader Mercedes-Benz E-Class lost 8% of its sales in 2018 and drops back below 30% share of the segment. The 5-Series is less than 10.000 sales behind thanks to a 1% decline in sales, while the Audi A6 loses ground quickly with a 10% decline as 2018 was a changeover year to the new generation A6.
After 5 years of small declines, sales of premium large cars in Europe rebound sharply in 2017, bouncing back to their 2012 level and back above 400.000 units again after 3 years below that threshold. A 13% gain outperforms the overall market, growing the share of the segment to 2,7%, up from 2,5%. In both the third and fourth quarters the segment growth even accelerated to 19% over 2016. The redesigned BMW 5-series is unable to knock the Mercedes-Benz E-Class off its throne, but keep in mind the latter is helped by coupe and convertible versions which the 5-Series doesn’t have. So in terms of pure sedan and station wagon sales, the battle will be much closer or could even fall in favor of the BMW. Both models gain volume with impressive numbers and increase their combined share of the segment by 7,7 percentage points to 56,2% which means that more than half of every car sold in this class is either a E-Class or a 5-Series. Most of the share gains for these two come from their closest rival Audi A6 which is down by 16% to lose 6,3 percentage points of share as it is due for an all-new generation in 2018. Expect the A6 to suffer even more in the first half of this year before rebounding when customer deliveries of the new model start, but that won’t be enough for the nameplate to return to the top of the chart where it also stood in 2015 and from 2005 to 2007. Perhaps again in 2019?
The premium large car segment in Europe picks up momentum in Q3 of 2017 with a 19% increase to over 100.000 sales, leading to an 11% sales gain in the first nine months of the year, to nearly 319.000 sales. The segment is consolidating towards as only one nameplate in the top-5 shows a year-over-year loss, while all models outside of those 5 best sellers lose volume with double digits. In the third quarter the all-new BMW 5-series took the segment top spot with a gain of 61% to nearly 31.000 sales, just ahead of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class with 30.000 sales (up 24%), but the E-Class holds on to its top spot for the year. Keep in mind, the E-Class includes coupe and convertible versions, which the other models don’t have, and these two-door versions are still pretty fresh so could be responsible for most of the growth of the nameplate, together with the also still recent station wagon. In terms of pure sedan and wagon sales, the 5-Series is probably already in the lead this year. These two leave the Audi A6 far behind, down 16% in the third quarter to less than 19.000 sales. Remember the A6 was the segment leader as recently as 2015, before its rivals were renewed. It will have a new shot at the title in 2019 as its next generation will hit showrooms in the second half of next year. So far in 2017, these three German models account for more than three out of every four sales in this segment, up three percentage points from last year.
The premium large car segment in Europe remains in the positive in Q2 of 2017 with a 5% increase, leading to an 8% sales gain in the first half of the year, to 218.019 sales. In the top-4 we have 2 nameplates growing with large double digit figures, one losing with double digit figures and one newcomer, so a dynamic segment indeed. Well, in terms of sales, that is. After reclaiming the segment lead in 2016, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class remains king of the hill, growing its share of the segment by 6,3 percentage points on the first half of last year, to 31,2% as it adds more than a third to its volume of the same period in 2016. The all-new BMW 5-series, launched earlier this year, grows even faster than the E-Class in Q2 but is unable to take its crown. It does distance the Audi A6 in third place (down from #1 in the first half of 2016), as it loses 17% in the second quarter and a painful 5,4 percentage points of share. What’s worse for the A6, it outsold the new Volvo S90/V90 by less than 5.000 units in the quarter. Not enough to start worrying about the Swedes breaking the German domination of the segment, but still a small yet welcome success for Volvo. However, the top-3 sellers increase their share to almost three quarters of total segment sales. Keep in mind, the E-Class includes coupe and convertible versions, which the other models don’t have, and these two-door versions are still pretty fresh so could be responsible for most of the growth of the nameplate, together with the also still recent station wagon.
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 large car segment in Europe is in dire straits with a loss of 6% in 2016 but a more painful -13% in Q4. Only one model in the top-10 manages to improve its volume: the new leader Mercedes-Benz E-Class, helped by the new generation. The E-Class was up 17% for the year and an even more impressive 32% in Q4. To be fair, this includes sales of the coupe version, which Audi doesn’t offer in this class and BMW has split off from the 5-Series as the 6-Series. The Audi A6 and BMW 5-series are actually impressively stable considering their age compared to the fresh E-Class. The A6 was down just 2% (-10% in Q4) and its new generation isn’t expected until 2018, while the 5-Series lost 8% (-2% in Q4) while the new generation had already been revealed and has entered showrooms early 2017.
The premium large car segment in Europe is down 3% in the first nine months of 2016, as only two models in the top-10 improve their sales, while six others are down with double digits. As expected, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class takes control of the segment thanks to its new generation, growing by 13% and passing the Audi A6, up by less than 1% so far this year. At least that’s still better than most others, and the A6 actually adds a full percentage point of share, even though it’s about to be replaced next year. As we’ve seen with the A4 and now the A5 and Q5, Audi is able to keep sales of its outgoing models impressively stable, all the way to their replacement by the next generation. BMW can’t say the same, with its 5-Series down 10% for the year, as its successor has already been revealed. In terms of design, this is one of the most conservative in the market, and BMW proves that point once again with the evolutionairy design of the next-gen 5.
Sales of premium large cars in Europe are down 1% in the first half of 2016, as they recovered in Q2 from a 5% dip in the first quarter. With “just” a 77% share of the segment, the Germans are less dominant in large cars than they are in any premium car segment (this excludes SUVs where their dominance is even less). The battle for the segment lead has intensified, with the Audi A6 holding on to its top position, but only just. It was outsold in Q2 by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class by a margin of 3.000 units and is more than likely to have to relegate its position by the next quarter to the new generation E-Class. The E-Class is already the biggest winner in the segment top-10 with an increase of 13% in the first half, thanks to a 27,5% improvement in Q2 when deliveries of the new generation started. It’s unlikely to face any strong competition for the rest of the year, until BMW answers with the next generation 5-series by early 2017.
The premium large car segment in Europe has shrunk by 5% in the first quarter of 2016, as customers are waiting for new versions of two of the top-3 players in this segment. So I expect this segment to show a healthy increase by the time of the year, with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5-Series on top of the sales charts, thank to their new generations. That means sales of the outgoing versions of those cars are down, leaving the Audi A6 to consolidate its position as the leader of the segment, a title it claimed last year when it was freshly updated. The new E-Class will arrive in showrooms in the second quarter, and has been fully revealed. Its design is not very surprising, as it’s hard to distinguish from the C-Class and S-Class but for its size. Then again, this strategy seems to work for Audi, and the majority of our readers also think the new one is better than the old one, when polled last January. BMW hasn’t yet revealed much of its new 5-Series, but this also promises to be a frontrunner in new technology.[Read more…]