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…]
The premium midsized car segment grows slower than the overall market at 6% to 662.738 vehicles in 2015, which is the best score since 2011 but a long way from the 1 million sales in 2002. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has scored its second victory of the segment after leading the segment in 2011 by a margin of less than 10.000 units above the #3. This time, the former “Baby-Benz” leads the BMW 3-series by 30.000 sales and the soon-to-be-replaced Audi A4 by almost 50.000 sales. And in 2015 year we can actually compare these 3 models directly, as this year the C-Class Coupe will be launched and its sales will be combined with those of the sedan and the station wagon, while BMW and Audi have separated their coupe versions into stand-alone models with the 4-series and A5.
The premium midsized car segment is up 8% in the first three quarters of 2015, boosted by updated models and a new entrant to the segment. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been the best selling premium midsized car all year and isn’t likely to hand over that title by the end of the year. In fact, it has only strengthened its lead over the BMW 3-series, which was outsold by the Audi A4 in Q3, even though the Audi was in the middle of a model changeover to the new generation. The gap between the two is about 6.600 units, so I don’t think the A4 can close that gap in the next three months. But for 2016, the 3-series is in serious trouble.
I recently had the opportunity to see the new Alfa Romeo Giulia in real life. Of course this was the top-of-the-line, 510 horsepower QV version, which is Alfa’s M3- and C63-killer, with a Ferrari-based engine. This will be the first rear-wheel drive Alfa Romeo sedan since the 75 and much of the future of the brand depends on the success of this model. We already know what Kriss thinks of the Giulia, and as I’m a true Alfa-fan, you don’t need to guess much to know what I think of it.
Yes, it looks less original than the 156 and the 159 did, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The 159 wasn’t a commercial success and the perhaps too aggressive design, especially of the front-end may have had a hand in that. Of course it also didn’t help that the model was way too heavy and came with engines sourced from General Motors. Especially for the V6 that was a large step backwards from the beautifully sounding and looking Alfa Romeo V6 that was last used in various sizes in the 156, 166 and GT. [Read more…]
Sales of premium midsized cars are up 6% in the first half of 2015, which is slower than the 8% growth of the overall market, and much slower than the mainstream midsized segment. Like in Q1, the new generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class controls the segment with sales up 45% compared to the outgoing model last year. BMW loses ground, with the 3-series down 21% and the 4-series no longer able to make up for that loss, despite that model’s 60% growth. In third place, the Audi A4 is surprisingly stable, especially considering its successor has already been revealed. Perhaps the fact that it looks exactly the same as the outgoing model helps buyers convince to snatch a great deal on the old one. It now comes fully loaded and with a nice discount on top, while 90% of the population won’t notice the difference between the old and the new model. [Read more…]
While the mainstream midsized car segment has just returned to positive territory, the midsized premium segment maintains its upward curve and even accelerates its growth, from 5% in 2014 to 7% in Q1 of this year.
This growth can be fully attributed to the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which increases by 45% to take the top spot of the segment for the first time since 2011. The C-Class now holds a 27,5% share of the segment, which is still less dominant than its direct competitor, the BMW 3-series, in Q1 of last year, when that model held over 30% share.
The 3-series is down a rough 21%, and that’s not only because the coupe and convertible models have been renamed BMW 4-series, because combined 3-series and 4-series sales are still down on the first quarter of last year. The increased competition from Mercedes-Benz seems a more likely explanation, and BMW won’t be able to lose focus, with the all-new Audi A4 also finally arriving in showrooms in the next couple of months. A minor facelift of the 3-series won’t be enough to keep the model ahead. [Read more…]
The midsized premium car segment has rebounded from its lowest figure in a few decades, increasing a modest 5% thanks to a handful of new and redesigned models. 4 out of the 9 models that haven’t been discontinued lose sales, with the biggest hit taken by the segment leader BMW 3-series, after peaking at over 200.000 sales for the first time since 2008. There are two major reasons for the sharp drop in 3-series deliveries; one is the renaming of the model’s coupe and convertible versions to 4-series, as combined sales of the 3 and 4 are still up on 2013. The second reason is the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, up 13% but that’s still the nameplate’s second lowest figure since its introduction two decades ago.
Pushed down by the C-Class into third place, and hitting its lowest sales since its introduction as well, the Audi A4 is still surprisingly stable for a model that’s due to be replaced soon, at just -3%. With the new generation ready to reach showrooms in the middle of the year, the A4 should be able to rebound in 2015. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized premium cars stay on track to finish 2014 above the 600.000 unit mark after dipping below that level for the first time since more than a decade. In fact, the midsized premium segment peaked in 2002 at over a million units and has lost 40% of its volume as the midsized car segment has slumped as a whole.
The traditional leader of the segment, the BMW 3-series, is also the biggest loser of the segment at -15% as its coupe and convertible models have been renamed 4-series. This has created room for the new generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class to step up and outsell its competitor from Munich in September for the first time since February 2012. Year-to-date, the C-Class has come within 200 units of the Audi A4 and by the end of the year it will undoubtedly have taken back the second place of the segment the A4 took from it last year. [Read more…]
Big news in the Midsized premium segment, as the BMW 3-series suffers its first year-on-year loss since 2011, undoubtedly due to the name-change of its coupe and convertible models to 4-series, as combined sales of the two nameplates are still in positive territory. In fact, at +15% BMW as a brand outgrows the rest of the segment, which chalks up a plus of just 6%.
The Audi A4 and A5 are both down about 5%, but the A4 has taken back its second position from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class which leapfrogged it thanks to an excellent month of March. The C-Class had claimed the segment’s second spot in 2011 and 2012 after Audi had been ahead of the Benz for 9 years including two at the top spot (2005 and 2008), and sell-out pricing of its soon-to-be-replaced A4 has helped Audi get its mid-sizer back ahead of its rival after the first half.
However, with the new generations in showrooms across Europe, the C-Class already came within 300 units of the A4 in June, and has set its target to reclaim the segment’s second spot by the end of the year. [Read more…]
Sales of premium midsized cars in Europe continue their steady decline, down another 6% after sales already were down 7% over the full year 2013. No change at the top, the BMW 3-series is still “king of the hill”, not only outselling every premium midsized competitor, but plainly outselling every midsized competitor, including the mainstream midsized models. And the 3-series even manages to increase its sales, albeit marginally, despite the fact that the coupe and convertible models are no longer counted within its nameplate. The BMW 4-series are now counted separately as the 4-series and add an extra 10.000 units to BMW’s midsized tally which used to be counted as 3-series sales.
Bear in mind that Mercedes-Benz C-class sales include the coupe and convertible as well and that Audi A5 sales are made up of the coupe, convertible and sportsback versions combined. That makes BMW’s performance even more impressive, considering the 4-series is already breathing down the neck of the A5, while the 4-series Gran Coupe four-door is not yet on sale. [Read more…]