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.
Highlights for Q1 2017:
- The BMW X3 is about to be replaced by a new generation, but that doesn’t withhold the outgoing model from continuing its impressive growth rate. The X3 gained 38% in 2016 and adds another 33% in the first quarter of this year, as it storms to the segment lead, compared to 6th place in all of 2016.
- However, the X3 is in no way comfortable in its leadership position, as the #2 is just 115 units behind, and even the entire top-5 is still close enough to challenge for the top rank. Cadillac ruled this segment the last couple of years, and the all-new XT5 manages to improve on the sales of its predecessor SRX in the same period last year, but not yet enough for the American brand to hold on to its top rank. As the X3 starts to go through its model change later this year, the XT5 will undoubtedly benefit to reclaim its lead.
- In third place we find the Lexus NX with a gain of half that of the overall segment, and down one place on the full year 2016 as the NX is no longer the freshest model in the segment. Close behind it is the all-new Audi Q5 with a gain of 28%, passing the Acura RDX which loses 10% due to the increased competition.
- The Mercedes-Benz GLC goes from hero (fastest growing model in the top-6 in 2016) to zero (biggest loser in the top-6 in Q1-2017), as the German brand is struggling with its still relatively fresh crossovers. Its 18% loss in the first quarter means it falls behind the top tier players, but at least it’s still well ahead of the rest of the segment. Still, its closest challengers handily outgrow the GLC, as the Lincoln MKC is up 15%, the Porsche Macan is up 48% and the all-new Jaguar F-Pace lands at #9, only 700 units behind 7th place and within spitting distance of the Macan at which it is squarely aimed. Not a bad start from the first SUV model from a brand that was considered all but irrelevant in the US.
The Infiniti QX50 continues its strong form after the extensive facelift and gains another 11% to help it leapfrog the Land-Rover Discovery Sport, the only model in the segment with optional 7-seater capacity.
- Like the X3, the Volvo XC60 manages to continue to grow even though its replacement is just around the corner. A top-10 finish is within reach this year if the new generation catches on as quickly as its larger sibling XC90 has.
- The BMW X4 is a rare miss for the Bavarian brand, as the model peaked at less than 6,500 sales in 2015 and has been losing volume quickly ever since: down 20% in 2016 and another 40% in Q1 of 2107.
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