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…]
Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles and the Plug-In Hybrid segments, let’s look at the final Alternative Power segment: regular hybrids. This segment is the most well-established of the three, with sales in the first half of 2017 almost twice as high as sales in the other two segments combined. As a result, the growth in the segment was not as high as for the other two, but 24.9% is nothing to be sneered at, as it was still higher than any non-Alternative Power segment bar the SUV Premium Compact segment.
Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles segment, let’s look at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs for short. The segment enjoyed a growth rate of 61.6%, the highest of all segments, though its total sales remain below those of pure Electric Vehicles, at just over 40,000 in the first half of the year.
Sales of Alternative Power cars in the United States increased by a substantial 32.2%, a rate of expansion considerably faster than that of the second fastest-growing segment, SUV Premium Compact. Comprising of regular hybrid, PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and EV (electric vehicle) segments, Alternative Power cars ended the first half of 2017 with almost 260,000 cars sold, more than the Subcompact segment, and not far off the Minivan segment. For accounting purposes, keep in mind that we classify many of the Alternative Power cars in other segments too e.g. Toyota Prius liftback figures in the Compact segment, while Ford Fusion PHEV figures in the Mid-sized segment. At least part of the reason for this growth is that EVs and PHEVs continue to benefit from Federal and State rebates, which lower their price even before consumers consider the lower cost at the pumps/mains.
First, let us look at the EVs segment, which grew by 41.2% in the first half of 2017, to a total of 45,150 cars.
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…]
Sales of premium large cars in Europe are back in positive territory and even outgrowing the overall market at +11% to 106.600 units, after a 13% loss in Q4 of 2016. And individual models within this segment have very different fortunes, with all nameplates either growing or declining with double digits. The 2016 segment leader Mercedes-Benz E-Class extends its lead to almost 10.000 units thanks to sales up 48% over the all-new BMW 5-series, up 11% as deliveries of the new generation still need to gain traction. That leaves the leader of Q1 2016 in third place, as the Audi A6 loses 13% of its volume of the same period last year. Keep in mind, the E-Class includes coupe and convertible versions, which the other two models don’t have, and these two-door versions have just been launched so could be responsible for most of the growth, together with the still very fresh station wagon.
Sales of Alternative Power cars in the United States increased a hopeful 47.2% in the first quarter of 2017 to 41,132 units, or 1% of the total US market. This is a combination of a 39.4% growth for EVs to 21,379 sales and a 56.7% growth for PHEVs to 19,753 sales. The EV segment is still slightly larger but the PHEV segment grows faster and is catching up, as especially luxury brands are entering this niche of the market before making a switch to full electric models. While regular (non-plug in) hybrids are struggling due to low gas prices, EVs and PHEV continue to benefit from Federal and State rebates that stimulate sales of these vehicles. And new entrants will keep arriving in showrooms this year, so expect the growth to continue.
After a 14.2% drop in 2016, the Premium Large segment is down by another 13.6% in Q1 of 2017, to just 53,278 sales. This means 2017 is likely to become the fourth consecutive year the segment loses volume after peaking at a record 334,298 units in 2013, losing a total of more than 100,000 annual units in this period, which would bring it back to its 2010 level. And the drop in sales comes at a time when there is still plenty of fresh product in the segment, with the new generation Mercedes-Benz E-class, Volvo S90 and V90 Cross Country, Lincoln Continental, updated Jaguar XF and Genesis G80 all less than 12 months in showrooms. Perhaps the new generation BMW 5-series can turn the tide when it arrives in Q2. [Read more…]