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.
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?
It’s that time of the year again: everybody who’s somebody in the automotive industry can be found within just a few relatively small show floors at the Geneva Convention Center, where the cars are the real stars. The Geneva International Motor Show, as it’s officially called, is packed with new releases and world premieres every year and the 87th edition is no different. Of course CarSalesBase.com is there too to feel the pulse of the industry and to get an idea of what’s going to be a hit and what’s going to flop. And as you’ve become used to from us, we have an opinion on the lastest launches and would like to know yours too. Which cars stir our senses, which ones need to go back to the drawing board and which are just plain mweh?
It’s always to see a brand with such a great heritage make a comeback, even if most car buyers may not even remember it, let alone have ever seen an Alpine in real life. Sure, in this segment brand value plays a great factor, but so does design and performance. The former is well taken care of in my opinion, the retro design with modern touches actually works on the A110. Performance promises to tick all the boxes as well thanks to its lightweight aluminium construction and 252hp on 1080kg is pretty impressive. Better than a Cayman? Hard to say, but at least it’s different. And I mean that in a good way.
I agree with Bart – it’s great to see Alpine make a comeback and challenge the Germano-Italian dominance of the segment. It looks great, and sports a great power-to-weight ratio thanks to its lightweight construction. In essence – I can’t imagine how this car could have turned out any better. But still I’m worried – many have tried and failed to provide a genuine challenge the Boxster/Cayman duo, and I’m afraid that no matter how good the A110 is, it’s not good enough to differentiate itself from the also-rans like the Alfa-Romeo 4C and Lotus Evora.