Sales of midsized luxury cars in Europe continue their downward trend in the first quarter of 2019, with deliveries down 3% to just over 160.000 units. And if it hadn’t been for the thunderous arrival of the Tesla Model 3, the segment would have been down by 14%. In March alone, Tesla delivered more Model 3’s than any midsized namplate except for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and that also includes all mainstream midsized models like the VW Passat. However, this is not reflective of the long-term potential of the Model 3, as these figures reflect deliveries of cars ordered over the past few years. Tesla registrations will continue to fluctuate greatly over the course of the year as customer deliveries are dependent on the arrival of the ships that deliver the cars to Europe. The American EV brand may make some headlines as it may seem to outperform its European rivals, and the huge amount of pre-ordered vehicles is by all means an impressive feat, but in our analysis of the registration figures, we’ll always try to compare apples to apples. For the first quarter, the C-Class is still in command despite a 6% drop in sales, as its closest rival Audi A4 loses almost a quarter of its volume, as well as 4,6 percentage points of share, as some gasoline models still haven’t been available due to the WLTP standards introduced last September. Taht allows the BMW 3-series to close the gap to the #2 spot, despite seeing its sales slide 8% as the new generation is just arriving in showrooms. With Audi’s availability issues apparently solved (sales were down “just” 7,5% in March), an upcoming facelift for the A4 and BMW’s new 3-Series picking up steam, the battle on the podium will be intense for the rest of the year, especially with the wild card Model 3 that could crash the party as well.
The midsized premium car segment in Europe shrinks for the second consecutive year in 2019, and does so by 16% to fewer than 600.000 sales or 3,8% of the overall market. That is a comparable trend to the non-luxury midsized segment, which is down 17% for the year. All top-5 players lose sales volume by 15% or more, with just the segment leader doing less terrible than the average of the class. That means the Mercedes-Benz C-Class consolidates its top spot and now has a 25,9% share, while the Audi A4 falls below 20% share. The A4 was hit especially hard in the last four months of the year, after the WLTP fuel efficiency testing standards kicked in and the brand had to stop sales of a number of popular versions of the A4, among others. Until August, A4 sales were stable on 2017, but from September onwards, the model’s average monthly sales dropped to just 30% of the average in the eight months before. In those last four months, the A4 lost almost 30.000 sales on the year before, while the C-Class lost 5.000 sales in the same period and the BMW 3-series lost 7.000 sales. With a new 3-Series in showrooms this year and Audi’s continued struggles to get the A4 tested under the new rules, there’s a significant chance of a different podium in 2019.
Sales of premium midsized cars in Europe dip slightly in 2017 with a 2% decline to 694.000 sales, 4,5% of the overall car market, down from 4,7% in 2016. This is a much better performance than that of mainstream midsized cars which are down 13% but both continue to lose volume to crossovers. Segment leader Mercedes-Benz C-Class consolidates its leadership with sales up less than 1% while its two closest rivals show double digit declines. Keep in mind that the C-Class is available in 4 versions: sedan, station wagon, coupe and convertible, while Audi and BMW split up sales of their traditional sedan and wagon versions from the more stylish counterparts. When combining all versions (as displayed in the graph), Audi takes the segment lead from BMW with over 207.000 sales (up from 206.000) vs nearly 194.000 sales (down from 212.000). Audi is boosted by the new generation A5 coupe, convertible and Sportback, up 41% on the outgoing model, although this may cannibalize sales of the regular A4, down 10%. However, that is not enough for the A5 to outsell its rival BMW 4-series, also available as a coupe, convertible and 4-door Gran Coupe. In the fourth quarter the 4-Series outsold the A5 again after the tables had been turned in Q2 and Q3. These 3 German brands now control 83,3% of the segment. However, as one of our readers pointed out a few weeks ago, Audi’s volume comes mostly from the entry-level engine specifications
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…]
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…]
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 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.
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.
Sales of premium midsized cars improve 8% in the first half of 2016, almost in line with the overall market at +8,8%, thanks to a strong second quarter when sales advanced 12,6%. The German brands equally dominate this segment as they do with the compact segment, as over 85% of cars sold in this class has a German badge, but at least that figure is falling (last year it was almost 88%) thanks to increased competition from brands like Jaguar and Alfa Romeo. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class holds on to its lead in the first half, despite being outsold by the new generation Audi A4 in Q2. What’s more, the figures for the C-Class include those of the Coupe and Convertible versions of the model, while Audi and BMW have decided to differentiate the names of their sporty offerings. As a result, BMW is actually the biggest seller in this segment, with over 113.000 sales of its 3-series sedan, Touring station wagon and GT hatchback and its 4-series coupe, convertible and GC 4-door coupe, vs. 110.000 sales for Audi with its A4 sedan and Avant station wagon of the new generation and the A5 coupe, convertible and Sportsback 4-door coupe still of the previous generation. But again, in Q2 Audi was the big winner, and that will only increase with full availability of the A4 Avant and the introduction of the new generation A5 in the second half of the year.
The premium midsized car segment continues to grow steadily in Q1 of 2016, but slower than the overall market, at +3%. That’s a big difference with the US, where the segment has shrunk a worrying 20% this quarter. The ranking is pretty stable, with no changes in the top-4, even though last year’s leader, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the biggest loser of the top-8, at -10%. Even the relatively old BMW 3-series manages to grow sales, while the freshly renewed Audi A4 is the biggest gainer of the top players at +12%, which should increase further as the year progresses, and I see the A4 threatening the C-Class for segment leadership by the end of the year. The only two times the nameplate has led the segment this millennium were 2005 and 2008, but this year and next are the only shot it has, as BMW is expected to launch the new generation 3-series at the end of 2017.[Read more…]