Sales of premium midsized SUVs are up 6% or more than 12.000 units on the first three quarters of 2013, thanks to the introduction of two all-new models from Porsche and BMW.
The Audi Q5 holds on to the first place it claimed in the second quarter, but the recently refreshed Volvo XC60 continues to stay close, even outselling its German rival in September. I don’t think the XC60 will be able to pull a rabbit out of its had and finish in the segment’s first place for the first time ever, but reclaiming the second place it already held in 2009 and 2010 would be almost just as impressive considering the increased competition since.
The Range Rover Evoque led the segment in the first quarter of the year, but has fallen behind since, being outsold by the recently updated BMW X3 in the second and third quarter, although it remains firmly in third place. 2014 is going to be the third year in a row where the Evoque finishes on the third step of the podium of the premium compact SUV segment.
Mercedes-Benz is counting on the new generation GLK which will be introduced next year to finally become a competitive player in this high-volume segment, and its timing is excellent, as it will have a one year head start on the new Q5, and even two years on the new X3, which won’t arrive until 2017. The GLK is likely to be renamed GLC to make it more clear that this is the crossover version of the C-Class.
By that time, the Land Rover Freelander will be long forgotten thanks to the new Discovery Sport, which has just been introduced at the Paris Auto Show and will hit showrooms early next year. The Disco Sport should be able to reach a similar volume as its cousin the Evoque, making it a serious podium contender, maybe not next year when it’s still in start-up mode, but at least for 2016.
But it will have to deal with the Porsche Macan, which has already racked up over 10.000 sales in six months time, but of which I had expected an even better launch to be honest. Perhaps supply shortages hurt sales of the Macan in Europe, as the Porsche was outsold by the all-new BMW X4 in September. It will be interesting to see how these two new entrants continue to progress in their first full year of sales. This year, they add up to 15.000 sales already, which is more than the overall segment increase.
A third new entrant is the Lexus NX, initially only available with a hybrid powertrain as a turbocharged gasoline engine will arrive early 2015. The NX won’t reach the sales figures of its German, British and Swedish competitors, but should be able to put Toyota’s luxury brand on the shopping lists of an ever increasing number of European car buyers, adding up to one third of the brand’s European sales.
PREMIUM MIDSIZED SUV
Range Rover Evoque
Land Rover Freelander
Premium Compact Crossover segment
The addition of a fourth model to the premium compact crossover segment has helped the segment to increase sales 25% on the first nine months of last year. Surprisingly, all three existing models still continue to improve on last year as well, although this is due to an excellent first quarter, when the newcomer Mercedes-Benz GLA wasn’t yet available. Considering their increase over 2013 has shrunk in both the second and third quarter, and considering the runaway success of the GLA, I expect one or two models to finish the year in the red.
The Audi Q3 manages to increase its advantage over its nearest competitor to just about 10.000 units, but there’s a fierce battle going on behind the Q3. The GLA outsold the Mini Countryman and Paceman duo in the third quarter and came within 200 units of the BMW X1 after outselling it in both July and August. In September, the segment ranking was almost completely turned upside down, with the Countryman leading, ahead of the X1, the GLA and in last place the Q3.
PREMIUM COMPACT SUV
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