Premium large SUVs continue to progress as the segment grows 17% on the first nine months of last year. Almost 90% of this growth can be attributed to a single model, the new leader of the segment: the new generation BMW X5. The X5 almost triples its sales of the outgoing model last year, shooting up from fourth place to the top with more than 20% share of the premium large SUV segment. In second place is another model that’s been renewed and making big gains. The Range Rover Sport comes from fifth place last year to almost double its sales of the previous generation, which started sales in the third quarter of 2013.
These two have bumped the Mercedes-Benz M-Class from its distant and unthreatened leadership of last year, now down into the bottom spot of the podium. In 2015 and onwards the M-Class will be under further intensified competition as two former podium contenders will be replaced after both serving a decade or more. The new generations Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 are likely to fight for a podium position again, although deliveries still need to pick up steam in the first few months of the year. The XC90 will have an optional plug-in hybrid powertrain which should become the model’s best selling version. The M-Class will counter the increased competition with a midcycle update next year, when it’s also likely to change its name to GLE. In addition to it, Mercedes-Benz will introduce an SUV-coupe crossover to directly compete with the BMW X6.
This X6 has recently been renewed and will rebound from the slowdown of the outgoing model. Another model that’s slowing down is the Porsche Cayenne, down from third position last year to a distant 7th place, losing a third of its sales and almost half of its segment share. The Cayenne was even down to 9th in August and 13th in September with a mere 298 sales, less than the Mercedes-Benz GL. The introduction of the smaller Macan appears to hurt the Cayenne more than most people, including those at Porsche, had expected. If its sales slump continues like this, the large Porsche will finish the year in 9th place, with its lowest volume since its introduction in 2002. Perhaps the upcoming Cayenne S e-hybrid can help the model recover. Let’s also keep an eye on sales of the Lexus RX, if those are equally hurt by the introduction of the NX last month.
Meanwhile, the Jeep Grand Cherokee continues the strong performance of its latest generation, already having sold as many SUVs in these three quarters than it did in the full year 2012. The Jeep even outsold the Volkswagen Touareg in September, but that won’t enable it to jump onto the podium, as the Volkswagen is too far ahead.
PREMIUM LARGE SUV
Range Rover Sport
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Defender
Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2013 and monthly sales in 2012, 2013 and 2014, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.
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