Sales growth in the Premium Large SUV segment slowed in the first quarter of 2017, with a gain of 4.9% to 142,801 sales. Subdivided in Large and Full-sized SUVs, we can conclude that almost all of the growth comes from the latter. While large SUVs gained 1.5% to 112,501 sales, the largest premium SUVs on the road increased their sales by 19.5% to 30,300 units. This is a similar trend as with mainstream crossovers and SUVs, where also the smallest (subcompact crossovers) and the largest (full-sized SUVs) were the fastest growing “truck” segments. This segment has seen quite a few new entrants and model updates in 2016, but won’t sit still this year either, so expect the winning streak to be extended to 8 years of consecutive growth. Combined, out of 24 players in this segment, only 9 lose volume, of which just 3 with double digits, compared to 7 double digit gainers.
Sales in the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 12.5% in the first quarter of 2017, to top 101,497 units. That puts it just 7,000 units behind the premium midsized sedan segment which loses 2.1%. That shows the crossover segment continues its steady growth rate after already gaining close to 15% in 2016, as buyers are switching from sedans to crossovers and SUV, which in then attracts new models to the fast growing segment. The two new nameplates in the segment are storming up the charts, as well as a number of facelifted models, while there will be plenty of news again this year, with an all-new Volvo XC60 coming up in a few months, as well as the new generation BMW X3. Compared to the full year 2016, the entire top-6 is shuffled up, showing how this is one of the most dynamic and competitive segments, with 6 models challenging for the lead. [Read more…]
Sales in the Premium Compact SUV segment in the US rose a very dynamic 39.2% in the first quarter of 2017, after already gaining 24.2% in 2016. Total sales in Q1 were 30,286 as only one model in the segment lost sales: the Mercedes-Benz GLA. With the new generation Mini Countryman in showrooms now, and the arrival of the Volvo XC40 by the end of the year (or perhaps early next year), the segment is bound to continue on this path of growth.
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 in the Premium Mid-sized segment fell by 2.1% in the first quarter of 2017, which is better than the overall market. It’s also an improvement from the loss of 15.3% percent in 2016, and much better than the -19.2% of the mainstream midsized car segment. US dealers delivered a total of 108,281 premium midsized models, which is barely more than the almost 101,500 premium midsized crossovers they sold in the same period (an increase of 12.5%). If this trend continues, the crossover segment will soon be larger than the car segment. 8 of the 16 remaining models in the segment showed double digit declines, while just 2 showed double digit increases and another 2 were all-new. One sidenote to the ranking: the Mercedes-Benz C-class is the only model in the segment for which sales of the coupe and convertible are included with those of the sedan/station wagon, as all others have distinctive names for their sexier models: 3-Series/4-Series, A4/A5, Q50/Q60, IS/RC. That’s why we’ve decided to give you 2 rankings this time: the blue graph with the split figures and the green graph with the combined figures. As you can see, that makes the difference between having a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW on top.
Sales in the Premium Compact segment are the fastest declining segment in the US car market, as sales are down 27% in the first quarter of 2017, following a 19.5% decline in the second half of 2016. Five out of the segment’s eight models show double digit declines, of which the entire top-4. The only way to give this segment some positive news is that it would be down by “just” 2.8% if we considered the Infiniti QX30 to belong here as well. The Qx30 is marketed as a crossover, while in fact it’s really just a hatchback. Then again, following the same reasoning the Mercedes-Benz GLA should be classified as a hatchback as well, so we’re not sure how to classify it. We’re interested in what our readers have to say about this matter. In Europe, it is sold under two different names for both segment: the Q30 hatchback and QX30 crossover, even though the only distinction between the two is the higher ground clearance of the latter. In the US, the Q30 is sold as the QX30 Sport, but Infiniti does not specify the take rate on that version, which would have made things a bit easier for us. For now, we’ll display it here for reference (it would instantly have become the segment leader), but keep it officially in the small SUV segment.
Sales in the Large Pickup segment grew by 5.7% in the first quarter of 2017, which again beats the overall market, just like it did in all of 2016. And thanks to the crisis in the midsized sedan segment, US consumers (and businesses) bought more full-sized pickup trucks in Q1 2017 than they bought midsized sedans, until not long ago the bread-and-butter segment of the US car market. That means this segment, with only 6 players, it the second largest segment in the market. In fact, just the four top selling large pickups sold over half-a-million units in the first quarter, more than the entire 17-vehicle midsized car segment. Last year, the segment recovered to 2006 levels after gaining volume for 7 straight years and it look like low gas prices are going to give it an 8th year of growth, even though the only product news in the segment is the new-for-2016 Nissan Titan.
The Small Pickup segment was the fastest growing segment in 2016 with a gain of 25.5%, but it has stabilized in the first quarter of 2017 with an improvement of just 2.6% to 98,668 sales. That still compares favorably against an overall market that’s slightly down, but the segment has clearly lost its mojo. And if we zoom in on the individual models, we see that all of the segment growth can be attributed to a single model: the all-new Honda Ridgeline, as all other players lose volume. Since Nissan still haven’t given any updates on the arrival of the next generation Frontier and the eagerly awaited Jeep Wrangler pickup is unlikely to make it to dealerships this year, the success of the segment depends on the return of the Ford Ranger later this year.
Sales in the Large SUV segment increased by 25.9% in Q1 of 2017, after already improving more than 20% in 2016. A total of 80,604 large SUVs were sold in the US in the first three months of the year, making it the second-fastest growing segment overall and the fastest growing mainstream segment. Still, it’s a far cry from the 750,000 annual units the segment sold in the first few years of the new millennium so there’s plenty of room to grow, especially with continued low gas prices. Each of the segment’s 8 models increased its volume, of which only one with single digits. The Nissan Armada even more than doubles up thanks to the new model generation, while 2017 will also bring an all-new Ford Expedition.
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…]