European sales 2013 Premium large car segment

BMW-5-series-Mercedes-E-Class-Audi-A6--sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The premium large car segment in Europe decreases at the same rate as the rest of the market at -4%.

No change in the lead yet, as the BMW 5-series moves along with the segment, but the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is closing in quickly thanks to the facelift, the most expensive facelift in the history of the brand, helping the model increase sales 9% and to within 1.000 units from the lead. The E-Class was the segment leader in the second half of the year and may steal the lead in 2014 if it keeps up this performance.

The Audi A6 is left far behind, despite being as fresh as the 5-series (both have been renewed in 2011), it is 25.000 units behind the segment leader, whereas the previous generation surprisingly was the king of the segment in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Obviously the BMW 5-series F10 compares more favorably against the Audi A6 4G than the previous generation 5-series E60 did against the A6 4F.

Looking at the “designer” versions of the German Big 3, we see a similar trend with the Mercedes-Benz CLS growing faster than the market and the Audi A7 shows a double-digit decline. The BMW 6-series (including the coupe and convertible) is not far behind the A7 thanks to flat sales.

Leader of the best of the rest is the Volvo V70, down 11% for the year, but up in every of the last 3 months of 2013 thanks to a minor facelift. It still sells almost double the volume of the Jaguar XF, which takes profit from a dynamic UK market.

Tesla manages to sell 3.993 Model S fully electric sedans, placing it ahead of the aging Volvo S80, which hasn’t been changed much since 2006. A new generation S80 isn’t due shortly, as the model just has been updated slightly again for the 2014 model year. The Model S in its first year on the market outsells the peak year of the Fisker Karma by tenfold. And despite the bankruptcy of the company, another 116 Europeans have bought a Karma last year.

The Maserati Ghibli makes an entry with a relative bang, as it only has been available for the last few months. It finishes 2013 with 339 units, but half of those are registered in December, and Maserati has a backlog of orders for the new model, which should be able to reach the segment top 10 this year.

The Audi A6 and A7 and the Mercedes-Benz CLS will be facelifted in 2014, but no all-new models are planned for the volume models. I don’t expect any magic from the new Cadillac CTS, despite the availability of diesel engines in Europe for the first time ever.

2013 2012 Change
1. BMW 5-series 107.307 117.262 -8%
2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class 106.559 98.142 9%
3. Audi A6/S6/RS6/Allroad 82.883 98.891 -16%
4. Volvo V70/XC70 40.260 45.253 -11%
5. Jaguar XF 20.414 19.157 7%
6. Mercedes-Benz CLS 15.139 12.797 18%
7. Audi A7/S7/RS7 8.986 11.393 -21%
8. BMW 6-series 8.549 8.520 0%
9. Tesla Model S 3.993  0  new
10. Volvo S80 3.220 4.238 -24%
11. Lancia Thema/Chrysler 300C 2.457 2.021 22%
12. Lexus GS 1.922 2.322 -17%
13. Maserati Ghibli 339 0  new
14. Infiniti Q70/M 339 607 -44%
15. Fisker Karma 116 370 -69%
16. Cadillac CTS 100 151 -34%
17. Alpina B5/D5 90 141 -36%
Segment total 402.673 421.265 -4%


  • BMW 6 series sales include 2.340 coupe versions, down from 3.663 units in 2012.
  • Mercedes E-Class sales include 11.150 coupe versions, down from 11.156 units in 2012, and 10.844 convertible versions, down from 11.363 units in 2012.

Click on any model to see its annual sales from 2000-2013 and monthly sales in 2012 and 2013, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site.