US sales Q1 2016 Premium Large SUV segment


US Premium SUV Large 2Sales of Premium Large SUVs in the US rose by 12% in Q1 2016 to 139,709 vehicles – a slower rate of growth than in both smaller Premium SUV segments, but still considerably faster than the average 3% growth rate experienced by the industry as a whole. Similarly to the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment, most of the high growth happened among models that ranked in the middle of the standings, while some of the highest-selling models experienced a fall in volume.

Highlights in Q1 2016:

  • The new Lexus RX, which hit the market in 2016, has not so far resulted in a large growth in sales for the model (2% sales growth was below segment average), but so far it retains the segment lead
  • The facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLE did much better – its sales grew by 18%, party on the back of the newly-introduced GLE Coupe, which allowed the German model to claim second spot in the segment by vaulting Acura MDX, whose sales fell by 17% in anticipation of the facelifted model hitting the market next quarter, and its arch-rival BMW X5, whose sales fell by 15%
  • The top 10 sees the entry of new models which experienced great growth compared to Q1 2015: Volvo XC90 (sales up almost 7,000%, up to sixth spot), Lincoln MKX (sales up 81%, up to seventh spot) and Audi Q7 (sales up over 100%, up to eight spots). In fact, with sales of 6,993, Q1 2016 marks the highest quarterly result for the large Audi, showing once again that good looks are not necessary to succeed in this segment
  • Interestingly, despite continuing low gas prices, most of the largest models in the segment recorded a fall in sales: Range Rover Sport (down 11%), Lexus GX (down 5%), Mercedes-Benz GL (down 39%, presumably in anticipation of the incoming GLS facelifted model), as well as Range Rover (down 1%) and Infiniti QX80 (down 5%). The only exception to this was the Lexus LX, whose sales were up 76% on the back of a recent facelift
  • The sportiest models in the segment, Porsche Cayenne and BMW X6, did well for themselves with a 14% and 16% growth in sales, respectively
  • Land Rover Discover continues to increase in popularity despite the new model being just around the corner, with sales up 68%
  • Tesla Model X continues to rise in the ranks, and is now up to 19th spot with sales of 2,425

About Krzysztof Wozniak

Kriss grew up in Poland reading German car magazines, before moving to England and graduating to the British magazines, which he still considers the best in the world and continues reading them after he’d moved to the US. In college he promised himself he’s buy himself a used Porsche before he turned 30 (not to be accused of having a mid-life crisis), but instead family needs dictated a Subaru Outback. Still waiting for that perfect moment to buy a used 2008-ish Cayman…
You can find all his articles Here.


  1. I have a question, which I was going to ask previous month, but will do it now.
    How Lexus RX is in the same class as GL, Escalade and Navigator?
    I’ve seen all these cars personally and RX is way smaller, than other 3.

  2. Krzysztof Wozniak says:

    The classification we use mostly comes from the US car industry, and I agree, there is a misalignment between the SUV and Premium SUV sectors. As you point out, the LX/Escalade/Navigator/QX80 are much larger cars than the RX/QX70, but they’re all bunched up in the Premium Large SUV sector. What’s more, you can also see that premium cars are also based in a higher equivalent sector than non-premium models based on the same platform e.g. Acura MDX, Lexus RX, Infiniti QX60 (Premium Large SUV) and Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Nissan Pathfinder (Mid-sized SUV). However, once you start to think about it you realize that it’s not easy to just “bump down” the Premium sectors, as the Premium Compact SUV are clearly positioned correctly, while the Premium Mid-sized SUV are distinct models from either their smaller and larger cousins (think Audis Q3, Q5 and Q7, or BMWs X1, X3 and X5).

Let me know what you think of this article. Thanks!