Sales of midsized premium SUVs in Europe continue to grow in 2018, but at a lower rate than before. After four consecutive years of double digit growth, of which the last three years showed at least 20% growth, the segment was up “only” 5% in 2018. This still means that for the first time ever, over half a million luxury midsized crossovers were sold in Europe. And after claiming the segment lead last year, the Mercedes-Benz GLC consolidates its lead with a 13% gain to over 125.000 sales, almost one in every four sales in this segment. Please note that these figures include sales of the GLC Coupe, but even without those the GLC would easily top the ranking. Just imagine the sales volume (and turnover) Mercedes-Benz has missed by completely failing with the design of its predecessor GLK, which peaked at just 33.000 sales and 15% of the segment in 2012. The Volvo XC60 is down 19% in the first full year of sales for the new generation, and this is mostly due to the strong finish of the previous generation, which even continued to be sold alongside the new model in its home market Sweden. Despite sales back to its 2016 level but its market share thawed to the lowest in at least 7 years, the XC60 still holds on to its #2 spot ahead of the Audi Q5, which sees stable sales in 2018, as it also did in 2017. The Q5 has been around 70.000 annual sales for three years now, even during the changeover to the next generation and last year’s introduction of the WLTP fuel efficiency testing procedures, which meant some versions of the Q5 (and many other models) could no longer be sold after September 1st, 2018.
Segment growth accelerates, led by new Volvo XC60 and refreshed Mercedes-Benz GLC
Sales in the US Premium Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 20.8% to 254,723 in the first half of 2018, thanks to growth of almost 25% in the second quarter. In doing so it has officially become the largest Premium SUV segment, overtaking the Premium Large SUV segment. With most of the cars in the segment having made their debut or [Read more…]
Mercedes-Benz GLC flies to the top of what may soon be the largest Premium SUV segment
Sales in the US Premium Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 17.3% to 117,488 in the first quarter of 2018, a faster rate of growth than the 9.4% the segment recorded in 2017. In doing so the segment finished just a few thousand units short of the sales tally for the Premium Large SUV segment in quarterly sales, and may yet overtake it for the [Read more…]
Sales of midsized premium SUVs in Europe continue to boom with a fourth consecutive year of double digit growth, of which the last three years showed at least 20% growth. In 2017, the segment grew by 21% to a record 492.500 sales, or 3,2% of the overall European car market, up from 2,7% in 2016. The first nameplate in this segment to top 100.000 annual sales is the Mercedes-Benz GLC, a runaway success for the brand which had struggled with the unsuccessful GLK until just a few years ago. Keep in mind these figures include sales of the GLC Coupe version, as the GLC would be in second place with just over 85.000 sales without the Coupe. Then again, its closest rival and former segment leader Volvo XC60 benefits from also having 2 different versions available for a few months after the arrival of the new generation. Especially in its home market Sweden the outgoing XC60 was continued to be sold at reduced prices alongside the new version, allowing it to become the best selling model there for the first time ever. Still, it’s impressive how the model was able to finish on such a high note, setting three consecutive annual sales records at the end of its life cycle and then extending that to a fourth record during the year of the model change to the new generation. It will be interesting to see if the new XC60 can continue this strong showing, considering the nameplate was down 11% in the fourth quarter when production of the first generation finally ended.
Jaguar F-Pace and Range Rover Velar star, sales of Alfa Romeo Stelvio, as segment grows by almost 10% in 2017
Sales in the premium mid-sized SUV segment rose by 7.2% to 130,824 in the fourth quarter of 2017, while overall sales in 2017 rose by 9.4% to 464,373. Such robust growth over the course of 2017 allowed the segment to close the gap to the premium large SUV segment, which is still the largest from among premium SUV segments at 518,902 [Read more…]
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).