After a double digit gain in 2017, the premium large car segment in Europe saw its sales decline by 2% in 2018, but manages to stay above 400.000 sales for the second consecutive year and still holds 2,7% of the overall car market. In the top-3, only the BMW 5-series managed to improve its share, and only by the thinnest of margins. This doesn’t necessarily mean the German domination of this segment is under threat, because the losses of their volume sedans (and station wagons) were partially offset by increased sales of their niche models in this segment. While the top-3 models see their combined share thaw from 75% in 2017 to 71,8%, the share of the German 3 brands is stable at 78,9%. The class leader Mercedes-Benz E-Class lost 8% of its sales in 2018 and drops back below 30% share of the segment. The 5-Series is less than 10.000 sales behind thanks to a 1% decline in sales, while the Audi A6 loses ground quickly with a 10% decline as 2018 was a changeover year to the new generation A6.
Sales decline as segment anticipates onslaught of replacements from Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz
Sales in the US Premium Large segment fell by 4.8% to 123,507 in the first half of 2018, as stagnant sales in the first quarter gave way to a sales decline of 9.3% in the second quarter. With the new Audi A6, Audi A7, BMW 6-series and Mercedes-Benz CLS about to go on sale, the new Lexus ES going on sale in July, and the [Read more…]
Segment sales remain stable as BMW 5-series and Volvo S90 steal sales from other models
Sales in the US Premium Large segment fell by a mere 15 units to 62,651 in the first quarter of 2018, a much better performance than the 2017 overall sales decline of almost 10%. Given all the new metal in the segment, however, the expectations were probably higher still – instead, BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-class and [Read more…]
After 5 years of small declines, sales of premium large cars in Europe rebound sharply in 2017, bouncing back to their 2012 level and back above 400.000 units again after 3 years below that threshold. A 13% gain outperforms the overall market, growing the share of the segment to 2,7%, up from 2,5%. In both the third and fourth quarters the segment growth even accelerated to 19% over 2016. The redesigned BMW 5-series is unable to knock the Mercedes-Benz E-Class off its throne, but keep in mind the latter is helped by coupe and convertible versions which the 5-Series doesn’t have. So in terms of pure sedan and station wagon sales, the battle will be much closer or could even fall in favor of the BMW. Both models gain volume with impressive numbers and increase their combined share of the segment by 7,7 percentage points to 56,2% which means that more than half of every car sold in this class is either a E-Class or a 5-Series. Most of the share gains for these two come from their closest rival Audi A6 which is down by 16% to lose 6,3 percentage points of share as it is due for an all-new generation in 2018. Expect the A6 to suffer even more in the first half of this year before rebounding when customer deliveries of the new model start, but that won’t be enough for the nameplate to return to the top of the chart where it also stood in 2015 and from 2005 to 2007. Perhaps again in 2019?
Segment slide continues as new models such as BMW 5-series and Volvo S90 see their sales grow quickly
Sales in the US premium large segment fell by 2.4% to 79,062 in the fourth quarter of 2017, while overall sales in 2017 fell by 9.9% to 286,030. However, despite the appearance and reputation of a staid segment slowly shrinking under the onslaught of SUVs, there is in fact a lot of action going on in the segment, with new models such as BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-class and Volvo S90 gaining substantial sales at the expense of older models. In 2018 the segment is likely to continue on this path, with the new Audi A6/A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS joining the fray.
The first generation Mercedes-Benz CLS was launched in late 2004 and stood out with revolutionary styling for a brand that had mostly been very conservative in the design department until that time. It had simple and elegant lines, and especially the character line running from the front wheel arches to the rear lights was a great touch. However, in my opinion it hasn’t aged very well. If I see one on the road nowadays, it looks a lot older than the 7-13 years it currently is. The strange shape of the headlights is mostly due to that, but also the fact that those headlights seem to fade a bit over the years. Perhaps it also doesn’t help that some (second or third) owners have made customized “improvements” to their cars, including oversized wheels. The second generation, launched in 2011, fixed the weird headlight shape but also lost its simple and elegant design. In line with the Mercedes-Benz styling of this period, it had expressive lines on its sides and pronounced rear wheel arches. The latter actually work quite well on the CLS, simply because it was more coherent with the rest of the car, as opposed to the the E-Class, where they were ditched during that model’s facelift. The addition of the Shooting Brake version gave the 2nd generation CLS another boost in positioning the CLS as the odd one out in the Mercedes-Benz line-up. The proportions of both the CLS coupe and the Shooting Brake worked much better than those of the smaller CLA versions.
The premium large car segment in Europe picks up momentum in Q3 of 2017 with a 19% increase to over 100.000 sales, leading to an 11% sales gain in the first nine months of the year, to nearly 319.000 sales. The segment is consolidating towards as only one nameplate in the top-5 shows a year-over-year loss, while all models outside of those 5 best sellers lose volume with double digits. In the third quarter the all-new BMW 5-series took the segment top spot with a gain of 61% to nearly 31.000 sales, just ahead of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class with 30.000 sales (up 24%), but the E-Class holds on to its top spot for the year. Keep in mind, the E-Class includes coupe and convertible versions, which the other models don’t have, and these two-door versions are still pretty fresh so could be responsible for most of the growth of the nameplate, together with the also still recent station wagon. In terms of pure sedan and wagon sales, the 5-Series is probably already in the lead this year. These two leave the Audi A6 far behind, down 16% in the third quarter to less than 19.000 sales. Remember the A6 was the segment leader as recently as 2015, before its rivals were renewed. It will have a new shot at the title in 2019 as its next generation will hit showrooms in the second half of next year. So far in 2017, these three German models account for more than three out of every four sales in this segment, up three percentage points from last year.
Segment arrests its slide in Q3’17, thanks to new BMW 5-series and good performance from FWD modelsAfter consistently losing around 15% in sales each quarter since the beginning of 2016, the Premium Large Car segment finally rebounded a bit in the third quarter, and while it still hasn’t gone back to black, it got close with a 2% decline, the lowest from among all Premium Car segments. And while the segment is still likely to see its sales decline by double digits by the end of the year, driven mostly by rising popularity of crossovers, it is good to see that good new models like the BMW 5-series and Volvo S90 can still attract a lot of customers. [Read more…]
The premium large car segment in Europe remains in the positive in Q2 of 2017 with a 5% increase, leading to an 8% sales gain in the first half of the year, to 218.019 sales. In the top-4 we have 2 nameplates growing with large double digit figures, one losing with double digit figures and one newcomer, so a dynamic segment indeed. Well, in terms of sales, that is. After reclaiming the segment lead in 2016, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class remains king of the hill, growing its share of the segment by 6,3 percentage points on the first half of last year, to 31,2% as it adds more than a third to its volume of the same period in 2016. The all-new BMW 5-series, launched earlier this year, grows even faster than the E-Class in Q2 but is unable to take its crown. It does distance the Audi A6 in third place (down from #1 in the first half of 2016), as it loses 17% in the second quarter and a painful 5,4 percentage points of share. What’s worse for the A6, it outsold the new Volvo S90/V90 by less than 5.000 units in the quarter. Not enough to start worrying about the Swedes breaking the German domination of the segment, but still a small yet welcome success for Volvo. However, the top-3 sellers increase their share to almost three quarters of total segment sales. Keep in mind, the E-Class includes coupe and convertible versions, which the other models don’t have, and these two-door versions are still pretty fresh so could be responsible for most of the growth of the nameplate, together with the also still recent station wagon.
Only the 2 segment leaders grow volume in Q2, all others lose double digits or are new
After a 14% drop in 2016 and a 13% loss in Q1 of 2017, the Premium Large segment remains consistent with another decline of 14% in Q2, to just 54,915 sales. That makes it unlikely the 3-year losing streak for the premium large cars will come to an end in 2017. In fact, the segment is likely to end this year with a loss of 100,000 sales compared to 2013, when a record 334,298 units were sold. As for the other premium car segments, the main reason for this crash landing is the rising popularity of crossovers, although sales growth is slowing down for these models as well. What’s more worrying, is that the decline happens while quite a few models in the segment are still relatively fresh. The new generation Mercedes-Benz E-class, Volvo S90 and V90 Cross Country, Lincoln Continental, updated Jaguar XF and Genesis G80 all less than 18 months in showrooms. The new generation BMW 5-series arrived too late in Q2 to make a real difference, but should help soften the decline in the second half of the year. [Read more…]