After 3 years and one quarter of booming growth, the premium large SUV segment in Europe has hit a roadblock. Sales were down 6% in Q2, pulling down the year-to-date growth rate to just 2%, less than the overall market. A total of 150.235 large luxury SUVs were sold in the first half of 2017. The BMW X5 is on its way for a fourth consecutive year on top of the ranking, ever since the current generation was launched. The Audi Q7 jumps from 4th place in the first quarter to 2nd in the second quarter and also grabs that position in the first half ranking, outselling the Volvo XC90 (down 30% in Q2) and Range Rover Sport (down 13% in Q2). The XC90 has seen a similar drop in the US, where they blamed it on limited availability due to worldwide demand, especially for the T8 plug-in hybrid version, but the same seems to be happening in Europe now. With less than 1.000 monthly sales, China can’t be responsible for the limited availability in Europe and the US, so there must be another explanation. We’ll keep you updated as we find out more. [Read more…]
Sales in the Mid-sized SUV segment increased by 9.5% in the first half of 2017, an improvement on the 4.4% gain the segment experienced in 2016. What’s more, the absolute volume of 952,645 put the segment once again within spitting distance of the mid-sized car segment, underlying how the market has shifted in favor of crossovers in the past two decades. That said, 2017 does not seem like the year that mid-sized crossovers overtake the mainstream cars, for while there is plenty of new metal coming to the market (Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and VW Atlas), none of these models are likely to trouble the segment leaders or add that greatly to the segment total. [Read more…]
Sales growth of premium large SUVs in Europe continues to outpace the overall market, although at a lower rate than in the previous years. In the first quarter of 2017, the segment grew 9% to almost 80.000 sales in a total market up 7,8%. Only one model managed to op 10.000 sales this quarter, the BMW X5 thanks to sales up 10%. That means the X5 consolidates its leadership as the #2 Volvo XC90 sees stable sales compared to last year. Unlike its smaller sibling XC60, the XC90 is unable to grab the top spot in its segment, although Volvo points out to supply issues as a result of high global demand for the model. Range Rover is one of the big winners of the segment this year, with its models the two fastest growing nameplates in the segment, and the Range Rover Sport jumps up to third place at the expense of the much fresher Audi Q7 and the regular Range Rover climbs to 6th place.
Sales in the Mid-sized SUV segment increased by 7.3% in the first quarter of 2017, following a 4.4% gain in 2016. Total volume for Q1 was 445,875, which means it’s closing in on the midsized sedan segment. Of the 18 models in this segment, 7 showed double digit growth or better, 8 showed double digit declines, 2 showed single digit declines and only one model increased by less than 10%. This year we’ll see the introduction of the new, super-conservative VW Atlas, as well as the second-generation Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and the smaller (“right-sized”) GMC Acadia and an updated Ford Explorer. Next year Subaru will join the party too with its Ascent. [Read more…]
The annual New York Auto Show is one of the most popular auto shows in the world, it’s traditionally held at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan and this year it runs from Friday April 14 through Sunday April 23. That means it’s the last of the major auto shows in North America, after LA in November, Detroit in January and Chicago in February. As a result, the number of real new product launches and concept cars is relatively limited, especially compared to the most important of them all: Geneva. Still, we’ve had our pick of winners and losers of the show, and as usual we just can’t seem to agree on most of them. Let us know your view in the poll or in the comments below.
Acura TLX (facelift)
See the new TLX in isolation and you may think to yourself “wow, this is a pretty good-looking car”, but wish the grille wasn’t quite as big and brash as it is. Well, then, you’re in luck – there is a version of this car without this ugly new grille, and it’s called the pre-facelift TLX. Now, don’t get me wrong, the TLX is still pretty good looking, it’s just that with this facelift Acura managed to either botch the changes the TLX needed (the new grille is not an improvement, and does not go far enough to give this car “personality”) and not change things at all (the interior still looks no better than on the mass-market Accord). Acura is desperately looking for a car that will change the fortunes of its mainstream offerings, and this is not it, sadly.
What a difference a grille makes! Acura pulls trick from the Lexus playbook, using the motto: it doesn’t have to be stylish, as long as it’s brash. As opposed to Kriss, I think it’s an improvement compared to the pre-facelift version. The TLX goes from utter wallflower with its beak-nose to one of the most aggressive designs in the segment with its enormously wide grille. I don’t find it particularly sophisticated, or even attractive for that matter (I’d still prefer a C-Class, Q50 or even the aging 3-Series over it), but I just have to admire Acura for finally getting the point that just another vanilla sedan just isn’t going to cut it in this competitive segment anymore. Besides the sheer size of the grille, and the graphics inside it, there’s one more issue I have with the front end of the updated TLX: the lower part seems visually wider than the rest, which gives it a bit of a “heavy” presence, as if it has a double chin. The rear end has been cleaned up nicely, though.
If you thought (or were hoping) the SUV-boom is going to end anytime soon, think again. Sales of the biggest and most expensive Off-roaders that hardly ever actually go off road rose by another 19% in 2016, which makes this the third consecutive year of double digit growth for the segment. That means in those three years European buyers have scooped up an additional 100.000 large premium SUVs annually to a total of almost 290.000 per year. If there was a clear and dominant leader the year before, in 2016 the #2 and #3 were within 10% of the leader. The BMW X5 still tops the charts but lost 3 percentage points of share as the competition has reloaded with fresh models. In fact, the X5 was in third place in Q4, behind the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, albeit by a tiny margin. The Swedish SUV is up 73% to take 2nd place while the Q7 gains 61% to move into 3rd place, both helped by their new generations which replace models that were first launched in 2002 and 2005 respectively. For the XC90 2016 also sets a new volume record, selling just 300 units more than in 2005.
Sales in the Mid-sized SUV segment increased by 4.4 percent in 2016 to a total of 1,803,382 units, a slightly faster rate of growth then the Compact SUV segment, but considerably slower than the double-digit growth registered by the other two, smaller mainstream SUV segments. 2017 will see the introduction of the new, super-conservative VW Atlas, as well as the second-generation Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and the smaller (“right-sized”) GMC Acadia. [Read more…]
Sales of large premium SUVs in Europe are up 25% in the first three quarters of 2016, significantly faster than the overall market at +7,5%, and at double the rate of growth in the US, where this segment grows 13%. However, in Europe this segment takes only 1,9% of total market volume, compared to 3,4% in the United States. The podium remains unchanged from the first half of the year, with the BMW X5 still in the lead, ahead of the two newest entries in the top-10: Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, unable to fight for the lead despite being much fresher than the X5. In fact, the Mercedes-Benz GLE also outsold them both in Q3 and moves into fourth place year-to-date, passing the Range Rover Sport. The entire top-4 of the segment is available with a plug-in hybrid option, which has helped popularity of the segment as a whole.
Sales of Mid-sized SUVs increased by 2% in the third quarter of 2016, similar to the second quarter and bringing the year-to-date increase to 1.359.559 sales and up 3%, which is still faster than the overall market. In the segment top-10, only three models lost volume, including the best selling model of the segment as the biggest loser of the top-10. [Read more…]
The large premium SUV segment is one of the fastest growing in Europe, with sales up a booming 31% in the first half of 2016, a figure only beaten by the mainstream large MPV segment. And like that segment, this is a direct result of the renewal of a few key players: two thirds of the segment growth can be attributed to just two models: the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7. These two redesigned SUVs are still unable to knock the ruling leader BMW X5 off its throne, despite losing a big chunk of the segment share with sales flat at just +2%. The two newcomers take the bottom steps of the podium but will surely attempt another coup in the second half of the year. The Range Rover Sport also has stable sales but is relegated to fourth place ahead of the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the facelifted and renamed M-Class. Behind these five theres a wide gap to the second tier of the segment, led by the aging Volkswagen Touareg ahead of its platform sibling Porsche Cayenne, both losing double digit volume in the first half of the year.