The premium midsized car segment in Europe accelerates its decline in Q3 of 2017 with a loss of 9%, bringing its year-to-date figure for the first nine months also in the red at -1%. Nearly 539.000 midsized luxury cars have been delivered by European dealers so far this year. slightly declined in the second quarter of 2017, which leads to a slim 2% increase in the first half, to 378.426 sales. With the mainstream midsized segment down by 11% in Q3, this type and of vehicle continues to lose volume to crossovers. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class increases its share of the segment to over 26% as its 5% loss in the third quarter is better than the segment average, while its closest 3 rivals all drop by double digits. The success of the new generation Audi A4 has been short-lived with sales down 21% in Q3 and down 13% year-to-date. The BMW 3-series loses 14% in the third quarter but a new generation will arrive next year. Its coupe and convertible versions under the 4-series monicker are also down by 11% in the third quarter, when they were outsold by their Audi rivals A5, up 50% thanks to the new generation. The gap between those models has been narrowed to less than 3.000 sales and the A5 is fresh and has the momentum, so it may become a tight race for the segment #4 spot by the end of the year, although I think the 4-Series will prevail. One sidenote to the figures of the C-Class: they include sales of the coupe and convertible versions, which BMW and Audi sell under separate nameplates. When looking at combined figures, Audi consolidates its segment lead with 160.344 sales (-2%), ahead of BMW with 151.800 sales (-7,1%) and Mercedes-Benz with 141.488 sales (+5%). In Q3 BMW was in third place just behind Mercedes-Benz. [Read more…]
The segment dips into the red but still outperforms other premium car segments
Sales of Premium Mid-sized cars fell by 9% in the third quarter of the year, down to 316,919, erasing the sales gains recorded over the first half of the year. Still, the segment is still the best performing from among all premium car segments, with all the other ones losing more sales since the beginning of the year. A big reason for is that over the past year a lot of new metal has hit the market (Audi A5, Infiniti Q60, Alfa Romeo Giulia), while a few other models are still fresh and growing strong (Audi A4, Jaguar XE). With the new BMW 3-Series around the corner, and a new Lexus IS and Volvo S60 not far off, the prospects are pretty good for this segment, despite the onslaught from premium SUVs.
Sales of premium midsized cars in Europe slightly declined in the second quarter of 2017, which leads to a slim 2% increase in the first half, to 378.426 sales. Of course that handily beats the 16% loss for the mainstream midsized segment, which is now almost 100.000 sales behind its luxury version. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class increases its share of the segment to over 25% thanks to a 5% increase in Q2, and it remains unchallenged by either of its two rivals Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, which both lose volume. The A4 is actually in serious trouble with a 22% loss in Q2 and not all of these losses can be attributed to the new generation Audi A5, as that model may be up 51% in the second quarter but in absolute terms Audi is still down 4.400 sales. One sidenote to the figures of the C-Class: they include sales of the coupe and convertible versions, which BMW and Audi sell under separate nameplates. When looking at combined figures, Audi takes the semgent lead with 110.822 sales, just ahead of BMW with 108.303 sales. [Read more…]
Segment stabilizes decline, helped by coupe models as sedan sales continue to sink
Sales of Premium Mid-sized cars increased 3% in the second quarter of 2017, which makes it the best performing premium car segment and beats the overall market. For the first half of the year, sales are up 1% to 235,759 units. That’s a significant improvement from the loss of 15.3% percent in 2016, and much better than the -16% of the mainstream midsized car segment, although that segment remains 4 times as large in the US. However, the premium midsized crossover segment increased 11% to almost 214.000 sales and is closing in. If in the first quarter 8 of the 16 remaining models in the segment showed double digit declines, in Q2 there were only 5 double-digit losers and 2 single-digit losers, while the remaining 9 models improved. One sidenote to the ranking: the Mercedes-Benz C-class is the only model in the segment for which sales of the coupe and convertible are included with those of the sedan/station wagon, as all others have distinctive names for their sexier models: 3-Series/4-Series, A4/A5, Q50/Q60, IS/RC. That’s why we’ve decided to give you 2 rankings this time: the blue graph with the split figures and the green graph with the combined figures. As you can see, that makes the difference between having a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW on top.
The premium midsized car segment in Europe increased slightly faster than the overall market in the first quarter of 2017, at +9%. This is also significantly better than the growth of the mainstream midsized segment, which was down by 12%. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class extends its lead of the segment with an increase of 17%, but keep in mind this includes the coupe and convertible versions, which are split off into different nameplates at its direct rivals. The BMW 3-series is only in third place of the ranking, but BMW is still the best selling brand in this class thanks to the additional volume of the 4-Series coupe, convertible and Gran Coupe, with Audi a very close second with its A4 and A5, leaving Mercedes-Benz in third place. Audi is growing fast this quarter, as both the A4 and A5 have been renewed and grow faster than the overall segment.
Sales in the Premium Mid-sized segment fell by 2.1% in the first quarter of 2017, which is better than the overall market. It’s also an improvement from the loss of 15.3% percent in 2016, and much better than the -19.2% of the mainstream midsized car segment. US dealers delivered a total of 108,281 premium midsized models, which is barely more than the almost 101,500 premium midsized crossovers they sold in the same period (an increase of 12.5%). If this trend continues, the crossover segment will soon be larger than the car segment. 8 of the 16 remaining models in the segment showed double digit declines, while just 2 showed double digit increases and another 2 were all-new. One sidenote to the ranking: the Mercedes-Benz C-class is the only model in the segment for which sales of the coupe and convertible are included with those of the sedan/station wagon, as all others have distinctive names for their sexier models: 3-Series/4-Series, A4/A5, Q50/Q60, IS/RC. That’s why we’ve decided to give you 2 rankings this time: the blue graph with the split figures and the green graph with the combined figures. As you can see, that makes the difference between having a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW on top.
Sales of premium midsized cars in Europe increased slightly faster than the overall market in 2016, at +7%. This is also significantly better than the growth of the mainstream midsized segment, which saw virtually stable sales. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class manages to hold on to the segment lead despite improving just 2% while a surging Audi A4 adds almost a third to its volume thanks to the new generation. However, keep in mind that the C-Class figures include sales of the Coupe and Convertible version as well, so in pure sedan and station wagon deliveries, the A4 is likely to be ahead. The BMW 3-series also has stable volume and is knocked down to the bottom spot of the podium, even though it surprisingly outsold the much fresher A4 in the last quarter. If we combine brand sales of the German Big 3, we see that BMW is the segment leader with 212.544 sales of its 3-Series and 4-Series, just ahead of Audi with its A4 and A5 at 206.341, while Mercedes-Benz is a distant third, as it misses a 4-door coupe version to compete with the 4-Series Gran Coupe and A5 Sportback.
A new year is always a nice opportunity to reflect on the past year and in our case, that means looking at which cars have sold disappointingly in 2016. We’ve already looked at which cars or brands have surprised in 2016 from a sales volume point of view in a separate article, as well as successes and disappointments in the US.
1. Jaguar XE
When Jaguar launched the XE in 2015, expectations were high, as this was Jaguar’s second attempt at the premium midsized segment, and arguably a much better attempt than the first try: the X-Type. A lot has been critisized about the X-Type: it was too much Ford Mondeo, had too conservative styling and it was an utter failure. About that last point: they sold over 400.000 of them worldwide, half of which in Europe, over a 9-year life cycle. The model sold almost 31.000 units in its first full year of sales 2002 and peaked at 38.500 sales in 2004 in a segment 5th place behind the German Big-3 and Volvo. Now keep in mind the segment was a bit larger at the time, so let’s translate it to 3,1% of the segment in its first full year and 4,5% of the segment in its peak. 2016 was the first full year of sales for the XE and it took a segment share of 3,5%, slightly better than its supposedly failed predecessor 14 years earlier. It also took just 7th place of the segment, but that’s because Audi and BMW have separated their coupe and convertible models from the sedan and wagon versions. Jaguar is still best of the rest behind the Germans and Volvo. One could argue the F-Pace crossover may be cannibalizing, but there’s hardly any overlap in price between those two models, and a counterargument could be that the F-Pace is raking in extra attention to the brand and drawing people into its showrooms who may not have known about the XE otherwise. In its defense: there’s no station wagon version of the XE available (yet). So at first glance not a huge success, but nor is the XE’s first full year a clear-cut disappointment, then why is it on this list? Well, for one because it lost year-over-year volume in every month of the second half of the year, which is not a promising sign for a model in only its first full year of sales, and secondly because it was outsold by the Alfa Romeo Giulia in November and likely in December too, again not a great sign of what’s to come for the XE.
The premium midsized car segment improves 7% in the first three quarters of 2016, almost in line with the overall market at +7,5%, and better than the mainstream midsized car segment at +5%. As in most premium car segments, the German brands dominate, with almost 86% of cars sold in this class having a German badge, but at least that figure is falling (last year it was over 87%) thanks to increased competition from Jaguar and Alfa Romeo, even if the latter is still gearing up. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is stable on last year, which means it loses share of the segment, but it holds on to the lead of the segment, outselling its closest rival the redesigned Audi A4 by 3.000 units in Q3. The BMW 3-Series is left behind in a distant third place, even though it grows 3% on last year. Keeping in mind the C-Class doesn’t split sales of its coupe and convertible models the way its rivals do with the A5 and 4-Series, it’s safe to conclude the A4 is the leader when it comes to sedan and station wagon sales.
Normally when you think of Ford Fusion (or Mondeo, as it’s known in Europe) taking design inspiration from another car, your thoughts immediately go to the Aston Martin-esque front grille. And rightly so – Ford’s decision to unashamedly adopt a family grille whose shape is much like that of the British sports car maker has received a lot of press, especially given that Ford used to own Aston Martin. However, this is not the only case of the Blue Oval taking design inspiration from cars produced by a brand it used to own.