The premium large car segment in Europe continues its slow but steady decline, with sales down 5% in the first half of 2015, after a 3% drop in Q1. After the Mercedes-Benz E-Class led the segment in 2014, the BMW 5-series took control in the first three months of 2015, but in the following quarter, both were being outsold by the Audi A6, and by a vast margin.
Year-to-date the A6, which has been facelifted earlier this year, is now ahead of its two main rivals with a 3.500 and 4.500 units lead respectively, thanks to being the freshest of the threesome. Both the 5-series and the E-Class have been facelifted in 2013, the former only slightly and the latter received major updates and will be fully renewed next year. The 5-series won’t be replaced until 2017. If the A6 manages to hold on to its top position, which I think it will, it will be the first time since 2007 it will top the class, and also the first time for the current generation. The E-Class outsold the 5-series in May and June, so the full-year top-3 is likely to be in this order: A6, E-Class, 5-series.
As usual, the Volvo V70 is stable in fourth place, with sales up 5% despite having been around since 2007 with a slight update in 2013. It is followed by the Jaguar XF, which is due to be facelifted anytime now. The introduction of the smaller Jaguar XE could have two different consequences for the XF: either it gets cannibalized from potential customers preferring the smaller yet fresher model, or it’s boosted by increased showroom traffic to Jaguar dealers and some of the clients are convinced to pick the larger car which may carry higher incentives due to its age.
The Tesla Model S electric car has gotten a boost this year, with sales up 29% to 7.000 units in six months, not well ahead of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, despite that model’s improvement of 21%. Likewise, the Audi A7 is up 29% as well, pointing to a (albeit slight) shift towards the “design” versions of the three German brands. The BMW 6-series appears to counteract this trend with sales down 13%, but note that it was down 26% in Q1 and flat in Q2 when the facelifted version was launched.
2015 first half premium large car sales Europe
Premium large car segment
Audi A6 / S6 / RS6 / Allroad
Volvo V70 / XC70
Tesla Model S
Audi A7 / S7 / RS7
Lancia Thema / Chrysler 300C
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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