Sales in the limousine segment in Europe improved sharply in the second half of 2017 to pull the full-year figure up 13% after a 5% gain in the first half. Nearly 46.000 limousines were sold last year, 0,3% of the total European car market. Despite this impressive gain, only 2 models in the segment top-5 improve on last year, as the segment leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class is stable with a 200-unit loss thanks to a 30% gain in the fourth quarter when the facelifted version became fully available. The S-Class lost 4,6 percentage points of share in 2017, but that’s still much better than its closest rival BMW 7-series which was only in its second full year of sales but already lost 13% of its volume and 7,6 percentage points of share as the new generation’s design apparently doesn’t have a long shelf life. On the other hand, this is the third-best year for the model since 2006, and don’t forget the S-Class also includes sales of the coupe and convertible versions. Big winner of the segment is the Porsche Panamera with sales up more than threefold thanks to the new generation. The Panamera outsold the 7-Series in both the third and fourth quarters, helped by the S e-Hybrid version, but was unable to topple the BMW for 2nd place in the segment. The Sport Turismo version should help the Porsche move ahead of its rival in 2018, but it remains to be seen if that’s also enough to grab the #2 spot then, as the new generation Audi A8 is also in showrooms and looking to move up a few notches.
Cadillac CT6, Porsche Panamera soar, new BMW 7-series falters as segment shrinks
Sales in the US limousine segment fell by 15.3% to 16,363 in the fourth quarter of 2017, while overall sales in 2017 fell by 8.2% to 59,308. Although the loss in sales was not very large, and the segments still managed to maintain sales above the depths to which it plunged at the height of the recession in 2009, the performance suggests that the [Read more…]
The limousine segment in Europe has been re-energized in the third quarter of 2017 with a 21% increase in sales after small single digit improvements in the first half of the year. Almost all of the growth in the segment can be attributed to a single model, as only two other nameplates improve while 5 out of the 8 losers are down with double digits. The big winner is the Porsche Panamera with sales up almost six-fold on the previous generation last year, helped additionally by the launch of the Panamera S e-Hybrid in June, which accounted for 60% of the model’s sales since. That’s significantly higher than the brand’s own expectations of 10% to 15%. Part of the explanation for its success lies in tax benefits that some countries hand out to buyers of plug in vehicles. For example, the hybrid’s share of Panamera sales in Belgium was above 90%, and 70% in France. Balancing it out, about 25% of its sales in its largest market Germany are partly electrified. As a result, the Panamera was the best seller in July and in 2nd place of the segment in the third quarter ahead of the BMW 7-series but still behind the traditional leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Keep in mind that S-Class sales also include the Coupe and Convertible versions, so in pure sedan sales the 7-Series is on top of the ranking.
Sales fall in the third quarter despite a bevy of fresh models
After inching up slowly in the first two quarters of the year, sales in the Limousine segment in the US fell by 16% in the third quarter, the worst performance from among all Premium segments, car and SUV. That said, total sales so far this year (42,929) are only 3.6% down on this time last year, which is a better performance than both the Premium Compact and Premium Mid-sized segments. Moreover, with many new models still building sales (BMW 7-series, Cadillac CT6, Genesis G90, Porsche Panamera) and two new models about to go on sales in the third quarter (Audi A8 and Lexus LS) the prospect for the segment looks bright in the next year.
Sales in the limousine segment in Europe increased 4% in Q2 of 2017, and as a result the segment is up 5% in the first half, to 23.337 sales. However, 4 models out of the top-5 and 7 out of the top-10 show double digit declines in the second quarter as only one model more than makes up for all of their losses. Segment leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class sees its share of the segment thaw from a dominant 45% in the first half of 2015 to 38,7% in the first half of 2016 to “just” 32,8% now. Its segment leadership still cannot be touched, although we have to mention that its figures include sales of the coupe and convertible versions, so in terms of pure sedan sales, the BMW 7-series could be either very close or even ahead. Worryingly, the 7-Series is already down 19% in Q2 despite being still in its second year of sales. The main culprit of its early demise may the the new generation Porsche Panamera, which sold a healthy 2.670 copies in the second quarter, less than 500 sales behind the 7-Series. In fact, the Panamera was the segment leader in June, holding 31,2% of the segment that month and selling 200 more copies than both the Mercedes and the BMW. And this is before Porsche has launched the Sport Turismo version, a kind of shooting brake/station wagon version which should boost its popularity further.
Big shifts in the ranking as double digit growth or double digit decline is the norm among limousines
Sales in the Limousine segment edge up 2% in Q2 of 2017 and grow by 3% in the first half of the year, to 28,587 units. That may seem very stable, but there are big shifts in the ranking as individual models either show double (or triple) digit growth or double digit declines. Actually, there are only three nameplates (four if you include the Hyundai Equus -> Genesis G90 which is basically the same car) that improve, while the other eight decline. And if it weren’t for the Cadillac CT6, the segment would’ve been down 9%. Besides the new Porsche Panamera which arrived in Q1, we’ll also welcome new generations of the Audi A8 and Lexus LS this year, which should help give the segment another boost as the Panamera has done in Q2. But don’t expect them to threaten the dominant segment leader anytime soon.
The limousine segment in Europe was up 6% to 11.600 sales in the first quarter of 2017, compared to an overall market up 7,8%. Segment leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class holds on to its top spot, but loses 9% of its volume and is now under serious threat of the new generation BMW 7-series. Considering the S-Class figures also include sales of the coupe and convertible versions, BMW most likely outsells its rival in pure sedan sales. On the bottom step of the podium we have a change of guard, as the Audi A8 loses a quarter of its volume as it’s due for a redesign, which promises to be the most advanced car of its class, just like its two rivals when they get updated. The A8 loses its position to the second generation Porsche Panamera, which triples the volume of its predecessor in the same period last year.
The Limousine segment is the only premium car segment to grow in volume in the first quarter of 2017, and one of only two car segments overall, together with the Minicar segment, on the opposite side of the scale. A total of 12,959 limousines were sold in Q1 for a gain of 6.5% on the same period last year. However, just two models in this segment show growth, both newcomers, while the other ten are losing volume, of which eight with double digits. In fact, if it weren’t for the new Cadillac CT6 and Genesis G90 the segment would halve lost 18.8%. This year we’ll see a few more models renewed, with the second generation Porsche Panamera already in showrooms since March, to be followed by the next generations of the Lexus LS and Audi A8. These should help the segment maintain its positive figure for the rest of the year, together with the still fresh BMW 7-Series. Whatever happens, it’s unlikely the dominant leader of this segment is going to give up its position anytime soon.
Sales of limousines in Europe were up 5% in 2016, compared to an overall market up 6,2%, but were stable in Q4. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been so dominant in this segment that it holds on to its lead despite a 10% loss in volume while its nearest rival more than doubles up. The all-new BMW 7-series outsold the S-Class in Q4 and looks set to take control of the segment in 2017, the last time it did so was in 2012. Keep in mind it may already have done so in 2016 when comparing pure limousine sales, as the S-Class figures also include sales of the coupe and convertible models, which BMW doesn’t offer. The Audi A8 stays in third place with sales down 20% for the year as it’s starting to show its age. The A8 lost more than a third of its volume in Q4, when it was outsold by the all-new Porsche Panamera, which is aiming for that #3 spot in 2017.
Sales in the limousine segment in Europe are up 7% in the first three quarters of 2016, slightly slower than the overall market at +7,5%. In the first half, the segment had outgrown the market, but growth has slowed in Q3. Unsurprisingly, the German luxury brands control more than 90% of this segment, of course helped by their home country, which is the largest market for these vehicles in Europe. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class sees its share of the segment diminish from 44,7% in the first nine months of 2015 to 38,4% in the same period this year, keeping it ahead of the all-new BMW 7-Series. But there’s a catch: S-Class sales include those of the coupe and convertible models, which means that in pure sedan sales, the 7-Series may actually have reclaimed the lead of the segment. The Audi A8 is a distant third, unable to keep up with the brand power of the S-Class (“the best or nothing”), nor the freshness of the 7.