Sales of midsized premium SUVs in Europe continue to boom with a fourth consecutive year of double digit growth, of which the last three years showed at least 20% growth. In 2017, the segment grew by 21% to a record 492.500 sales, or 3,2% of the overall European car market, up from 2,7% in 2016. The first nameplate in this segment to top 100.000 annual sales is the Mercedes-Benz GLC, a runaway success for the brand which had struggled with the unsuccessful GLK until just a few years ago. Keep in mind these figures include sales of the GLC Coupe version, as the GLC would be in second place with just over 85.000 sales without the Coupe. Then again, its closest rival and former segment leader Volvo XC60 benefits from also having 2 different versions available for a few months after the arrival of the new generation. Especially in its home market Sweden the outgoing XC60 was continued to be sold at reduced prices alongside the new version, allowing it to become the best selling model there for the first time ever. Still, it’s impressive how the model was able to finish on such a high note, setting three consecutive annual sales records at the end of its life cycle and then extending that to a fourth record during the year of the model change to the new generation. It will be interesting to see if the new XC60 can continue this strong showing, considering the nameplate was down 11% in the fourth quarter when production of the first generation finally ended.
The midsized premium SUV segment continues to outgrow the overall market and even accelerates its growth rate with a 29% increase in Q3 and a 25% increase in the first nine months of 2017, to over 372.000 sales. The two segment leaders consolidate their grip on the segment as both did better than the overall segment. As a result, the #1 and #2 hold a combined 43% of the segment in Q3 and 42,6% in the first three quarters. The big winner is the Mercedes-Benz GLC (including the Coupe version) wiht sales almost doubling up to over 30.000 sales in the third quarter, which allows it to take over the year-to-date lead of the segment. If the GLC manages to hold on to this position by the end of the year, it will be the first time ever that Mercedese-Benz tops the ranking of this segment. The GLC’s predecessor GLK has never been a success due to polarizing styling, but the new model appears to have hit the mark. The Volvo XC60 showed double digit growth but still loses its top spot as the changeover to the new generation is hurting its pace of deliveries, even though the outgoing model has kept up strong in its last months thanks to competitive pricing of fully loaded versions. It will be interesting to see which one of these two will end up on top in 2018. Or perhaps the segment initiator BMW X3 will mingle into this fight as well when its third generation hits full steam?
After discussing the Alpine A110, DS7 Crossback, Ford Fiesta, Kia Picanto, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Opel/Vauxhall Crossland X in part 1, we’ll continue with the second bunch of Geneva launches. Let us know what you think and vote for your favorites below!
See, they do now how to design a great looking car at Opel/Vauxhall, as the new Insignia proves. Wow, this thing looks more capable then ever to steal each and every one of those 12 private sales annually from the Passat. The rest of the sales in this segment are corporate orders from leasing companies, some of which limit their client’s choices, which means even if the Insignia is the better (and better looking) car, not everyone who wants one will be able to get it. Too bad, because its low and wide proportions and almost coupe-like roofline of the hatchback absolutely make this one of the best looking cars in the segment, right up there with or maybe even ahead of the Renault Talisman and miles ahead of the dull Passat and already long-in-the-tooth Mondeo. Who could’ve said that of an Opel just a few years ago? The Americans are drooling over this thing to make it Stateside again as the Buick Regal (including the Wagon) and that’s actually pretty impressive for a brand that’s been known as a maker of uninspired middle-of-the-road cars for decades. [Read more…]