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?
Stability in a segment normally full of surprises
Sales of Premium Mid-sized SUVs in the US were up 3.9% in Q3 of 2017, a slowdown compared to the first two quarters of the year, when the segment recorded robust double-digit growth. Still, sales are up 8.9% since the beginning of the year, to 328,025, meaning the segment continues to (slowly) close the gap to the Premium Large SUV segment, which is still the largest from among Premium SUV segments at 458,376 units for the first three quarters of the year. With the new Audi Q5, Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Range Rover Velar still building sales, and the new BMW X3, Infiniti QX50 and Volvo XC60 coming to market soon, the segment is bound to grow robustly in the next year. [Read more…]
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.
Robust growth continues as Cadillac reclaims lead ahead of 4 close challengers.
Sales 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. [Read more…]
After each motor show Bart and I put together our thoughts on the latest debuts, looking at them from the perspective of someone who’s passionate about motoring, but also trying to peer into our crystal balls and see whether each model will be a market success or a dud. This time, though, we’re running the article off-season, following a period of a few weeks when a few crucial cars made their debut.
To me the new Audi A8 is a very frustrating car, because there is so much here that is interesting and truly cutting-edge, and yet the end product is not that you would call a “slam dunk”. On the plus side, the new car will offer the possibility (key phrase, will come back to that latter) of Level 3 autonomous driving, it features a top-drawer mechanical setup with a fully-hybridized engine lineup, a new design direction and, as always, a stunning interior with a world-first feature… the foot massager for rear passengers. OK, so that last things is a bit of a joke, but you sort of have the feeling that they threw the kitchen sink at the A8 to make it stand out against the 7-series and S-Class. But it’s not whether they’ve done enough, it’s whether they did it well enough that has me worried for this model. And so, the much vaunted “new design direction” amounts to little else than, at the risk of oversimplification, some extra creases, a super-wide front grille and a car-wide LED strip at the back. The interior is also a mixed bag: it features some really bold shapes and touch-screen controls that appear to be as good as it gets, yet overall it’s hard to escape the feeling that it all feels like a Passat Plus Plus. And to top it off the claim of Level 3 autonomy is misleading – yes, the car has the capability to do it, but right now no country will allow it, so in effect you’re buying tech you can’t (yet) use.
I have to agree with Kriss on this, the A8 has never reached the same status as its two German rivals, even though the Audi brand as a whole has moved up to par with Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and even though every generation has been up there from a technology perspective. As Kriss explained, this won’t change with the new generation, which will go further in autonomous technology than any other car has ever gone so far, although there is one way in which the new A8 appears to take a (small) step back: ever since the first generation, the A8 has prided itself on its Aluminium Space Frame which reduced weight in order to compensate for the A8’s standard all-wheel drive technology compared to the rear-wheel drive setup of its competitors. In the outgoing generation, 92% of the bodyshell was made of aluminium, but this will be reduced to just 58% in the new generation, increasing the weight of its body from 230kg (509 lb) to 281kg (621 lb), even despite the use of some carbon fiber for the rear seat back. This is the result of steel offering better crash protection for the batteries of the plug-in hybrid version. In terms of design, the A8 makes a larger step from its predecessor than Audi’s recent launches A4, A5 and Q5, but Audi remains very conservative in a segment where buyers are more open to daring design than you’d expect (p.e. BMW 7-Series E65, Porsche Panamera).
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.
Sales in the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 12.5% in the first quarter of 2017, to top 101,497 units. That puts it just 7,000 units behind the premium midsized sedan segment which loses 2.1%. That shows 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 SUV, which in then attracts new models to the fast growing segment. The two new nameplates in the segment are storming up the charts, as well as a number of facelifted models, while there will be plenty of news again this year, with an all-new Volvo XC60 coming up in a few months, as well as the new generation BMW X3. Compared to the full year 2016, the entire top-6 is shuffled up, showing how this is one of the most dynamic and competitive segments, with 6 models challenging for the lead. [Read more…]
The midsized premium SUV segment is one of the fastest growing in Europe, with sales up 29% in 2016 compared to an overall market up 6,2%. All remaining models improve their sales and 9 out of the top-10 set new sales records, but Mercedes-Benz and the British brands are the biggest winners this year. Still, the Volvo XC60 holds on to its segment lead and scores a record volume for the third year in a row, even though it’s the oldest model in the segment and about to be replaced in 2017. Sales of the Swedish model were up 20% in Q4, perhaps because some prospective buyers for a V70 or XC70 found these to be out of production. The new #2 of the segment is the Mercedes-Benz GLC, more than doubling the sales record of its predecessor GLK, whose design just didn’t vibe with customers in this segment. Needless to say this is also the highest position the brand has ever finished in this segment. The GLC (which includes the Coupe version) will be aiming for a top spot in 2017 as Volvo may lose some sales during the changeover to the new generation XC60, but there will be competition from the all-new Audi Q5, which had held on to its 2nd place until November and lost out by just 83 sales.
Sales in the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 14.9 percent in 2016, a slightly slower pace of growth than for the Premium Compact SUV segment, but faster than the Premium Large SUV segment. Moreover, with total sales of 434,412 it came to within 3,000 units to outselling the Premium Mid-sized segment – it has increased its sales almost seven-fold over the past decade, while its non-SUV cousin segment lost almost 20 percent of sales over the same period. 2017 promises to be yet another good year for this segment, with the arrival of the new Audi Q5, BMW X3, as well as possibly the new Volvo XC60 and Infiniti QX50. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized premium SUVs in Europe keep growing even faster, at +44% in Q3, bringing the year-to-date tally for the first three quarters to +31%. None of the remaining nameplates has clocked a loss, but five out of ten show only single-digit gains, as over 40% of the segment growth can be attributed to a single brand: Mercedes-Benz. After years of slow sales due to a product that didn’t match the preferences of most buyers (the GLK), the German brand is now playing catch-up with the new GLC and GLC Coupe, immediately storming to third place of the segment. Ahead of the GLC are two elderly models, both about 8 years old already but still selling well in the final stages of their life cycle. The Volvo XC60 grows just 3% which means it loses about 4,5 percentage points of share, and the Audi Q5 improves 5% and loses 3,6 percentage points, but climbs back onto the podium after being relegated to 4th place in the first half of the year. [Read more…]