The Large Premium SUV segment in the US has picked up its growth in the fourth quarter of 2015, as it finishes the year with an 8.2% increase over 2014, totaling 557,982 sales. Only 4 models of the 22 that are continued in this segment lose volume, while 8 enjoy sales records. The traditional leader of the segment, the Lexus RX is due for a new generation, but manages to keep its sales relatively stable at just -6%. In 2016 the redesigned RX will undoubtedly break its 2005 record of 108,775 US sales. The second place of the Acura MDX is under fire as the Japanese #2 loses 11% while the BMW X5 in third place improves an impressive 17% to come within 3.300 sales of the MDX. This is the second consecutive year that the X5 breaks its US volume record for the 17 years it’s been sold here.
However, the fourth place is now occupied by the Infiniti QX60, which grows its sales even faster at +34% and also a record for the model. That makes it three Japanese crossovers in the top-4, as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class is being renamed GLE. If we combine the sales of both these Mercedes’, they would be up 14%, ahead of the QX60 and just behind the X5. In fact, combined M-Class and GLE sales also break the M-Class’ record volume of the year 2000 by less than 500 units.
With a 4% increase, the Mercedes-Benz GLis the best seller of the truly big ones, if we separate the Cadillac Escalade from the Escalade ESV. The two Caddy’s are up 18% together, with the long-wheel base version accounting for the bulk of the growth.
The Lexus GX remains the best selling truck-based SUV, up 11% to its best volume since 2006 to prove that polarizing yet incoherent design doesn’t necessarily bothers luxury buyers. It moves ahead of the Lincoln MKX, down 7%. The Range Rover Sport, now no longer a body-on-frame but a unibody design, is up 20% and passes the Escalade and the Audi Q7, although the latter will surely rebound in 2016 as it has just been redesigned. The regular Range Rover is also up, by an amazing 39% as the US has been given a larger supply of Range Rovers (and Sport) because of a slow-down in demand in China. As a result, both Range Rover versions chalk up record sales for their respective nameplates.
The Porsche Cayenne has stable sales but loses one spot, it is followed by the Infiniti QX80, up 21% to also enjoy the highest volume of its 12 years on the market, both as the QX56 and the QX80. The Volvo XC90 is boosted by the new generation and will storm up the charts in 2016 to try and break its sales record of 39,183 units in 2004. The Lincoln Navigator is up for the fourth consecutive year, but is still a long way from its sales record, as the dinosaur has fallen hard in the first few years of the global financial crisis. The BMW X6 doubles up and breaks its sales record and even the 36-year-old Mercedes-Benz G-Class, believe it or not, has its highest sales volume since its introduction in the US in 2002. We welcome the Tesla Model X to the ranking, starting off slow with just over 200 sales, but the all-electric SUV with its fantastic but complicated falcon-wing rear doors should finish 2016 in the midfield of the segment.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off
Photo credit top of page: