European sales 2015-Q1 Premium Large segment

Sales of premium large cars continue their slow but steady slide, with sales down 3% in Q1 of 2015 after falling by respectively 3% and 8% in 2014 and 2013. The traditional top-3 is reshuffled again, with the BMW 5-series back in the lead, just as it was after the first three months of last year, before being overtaken by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class by the end of 2014.

Photo credit: Luxury Spottings

However, the E-Class is now kicked down into third place, possibly due to cannibalization of the smaller, but newer C-Class. The Benz is outsold by the recently facelifted Audi A6 for the first time since 2012, thanks to sales up 15% for the A6. The battle for the segment crown will remain fierce until the end of the year, with just 2.000 units between the three competitors and the third-placed E-Class outselling both its rivals again in March.


Behind the Big-3, which hold a 69,3% share of the segment combined (down from 71% in Q1 of 2014), the updated Volvo V70 and XC70 stabilize their fourth place by adding 10% to last year’s volume, while the Jaguar XF is due to be replaced later this year. The stylish but aging Brit is down 12%, and its successor won’t be available as a station wagon any more.

European-sales-premium_large_segment-BMW_6_series_Gran_CoupeThe all-electric Tesla Model S continues its improvement with sales up 7% and holding on to its position above the Mercedes-Benz CLS, which outsold it in the full-year 2014 ranking. The latter is up 16% and followed closely by the recently facelifted Audi A7, up 32%. The third player in the “more stylish than practical” part of the segment is the BMW 6-series Gran Coupe, which is down 26% but will rebound quickly when the facelifted version hits showrooms in the second quarter.

Now that it’s no longer brand new, the Maserati Ghibli is unable to maintain its explosive growth, but an increase of 5% is still very acceptable for the Italian sports sedan.

We welcome a new player to the segment, although there’s plenty of room for discussion whether it belongs in the premium segment. Since there’s no mainstream large car competitor in Europe anymore, we’ll give the Hyundai Genesis the benefit of the doubt. With 106 sales, it trails the Infiniti Q70 but isn’t dead last thanks to the last few sales of the Lancia Thema (including 4 units of the Chrysler 300 in the UK).

Premium large segment
Q1 2015 Q1 2014 Change
1. BMW 5-series 24.374 27.868 -13%
2. Audi A6 / S6 / RS6 / Allroad 23.132 20.111 15%
3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class 22.358 26.004 -14%
4. Volvo V70 / XC70 11.945 10.813 10%
5. Jaguar XF 5.595 6.392 -12%
6. Tesla Model S 3.273 3.069 7%
7. Mercedes-Benz CLS 3.240 2.786 16%
8. Audi A7 / S7 / RS7 2.980 2.263 32%
9. BMW 6-series 1.576 2.121 -26%
10. Maserati Ghibli 1.153 1.102 5%
11. Volvo S80 649 872 -26%
12. Lexus GS 409 627 -35%
13. Infiniti Q70 140 32 338%
14. Hyundai Genesis 106 0 new
15. Lancia Thema / Chrysler 300C 16 165 -90%
Segment total 100.946 104.225 -3%

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.