The European limousine segment continues its strong growth curve which is fueled by model changes of a few major players in the segment. The newly one-year old Mercedes-Benz S-Class accounts for 85% of the growth of the segment all by itself, and almost all of the growth when combined with the segment’s number two, the Audi A8.
As a result, the S-Class commands a whopping 42% share of the segment, two-and-a-half times as much as its nearest competitor. The rest of the ranking is completely stable in the third quarter, with the recently refreshed Audi A8 in second place and the Porsche Panamera completing the podium, as it did last year. Until the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz S500 plug-in hybrid, Porsche will be the only brand in this segment to offer a plug-in hybrid model.
The BMW 7-series is stuck in fourth place, where it’s likely to finish the year. That would make 2014 the first year ever that the 7-series is not in the top-3 of the limousine segment. The big Beemer is likely to shoot back up to the top of the ranking in 2016 when the new generation hits the market.
In fifth place the Jaguar XJ is able to fend off the VW Phaeton for now, thanks to an excellent month of September, in which UK car sales tend to peak, giving an advantage to cars like the XJ, which depend heavily on the British market. The race for fifth place by the end of the year is likely going to be a tight one, but I think the Jag will be able to resist the Volkswagen, as it has done every year since 2010.
The excellent performance of the Maserati Quattroporte is often snowed under by the even better sales of the smaller all-new Ghibli, but not less impressive. The Italian limousine more than doubles its sales of last year, when the new generation was still picking up steam.
The Bentley Flying Spur is in equally good form, more than doubling on last year thanks to the introduction of its new generation in the second quarter of last year. On the other side of the spectrum, the Rolls Royce Ghost suffers from internal competition by its 2-door version the Wraith, which is all new since the last quarter of 2013.
Bentley Flying Spur
Lexus LS (est.)
Rolls Royce Ghost
Aston Martin Rapide
Rolls Royce Phantom
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