The premium large car segment in Europe is in dire straits with a loss of 6% in 2016 but a more painful -13% in Q4. Only one model in the top-10 manages to improve its volume: the new leader Mercedes-Benz E-Class, helped by the new generation. The E-Class was up 17% for the year and an even more impressive 32% in Q4. To be fair, this includes sales of the coupe version, which Audi doesn’t offer in this class and BMW has split off from the 5-Series as the 6-Series. The Audi A6 and BMW 5-series are actually impressively stable considering their age compared to the fresh E-Class. The A6 was down just 2% (-10% in Q4) and its new generation isn’t expected until 2018, while the 5-Series lost 8% (-2% in Q4) while the new generation had already been revealed and has entered showrooms early 2017.
Note: clicking on the model name opens the sales data page for that model; clicking year in the legend turns the display for that year on/off
Volvo has taken a big hit this year with the very slow changeover from the S80/V70/XC70 to the new S90/V90. The former are down by more than 20.000 units as sales have all but come to a halt in Q4, while the latter only managed 3.716 sales, of which just 1.968 in the last quarter. Of course sales will pick up again in 2017 as the 90-Series has enough qualities to help the Swedish brand gain ground on the Germans, but it’s striking how Audi manages to keep sales of its models so stable during a changeover while Volvo clearly took a big hit in 2016. The Jaguar XF held on to the #5 spot with almost stable sales as it was renewed in 2015. In fact, the XF improved 23% in the fourth quarter of 2016, because the new generation was just in start-up mode in that same period a year earlier.
The Tesla Model S loses almost a quarter of its volume in 2016, and is down a harsh 48% in Q4, as it feels some internal competition from the new Model X SUV. It does manage to hold on to 6th place, because the Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS and BMW 6-series also lose double digit volume, the CLS the most at -38%. The Italian player of the segment Maserati Ghibli is down 11% for the year but down 27% in Q4. The only other winner besides the E-Class is the Lexus GS at +47% for the year and +68% in Q4.
In 2017 Jaguar will already update the XF again after criticism of its interior quality, and it will combine this with the introduction of the second generation XF Sportbrake. Mercedes-Benz will expand the E-Class family with a new coupe and convertible, so it could hold on to the segment lead with those two versions included. The next generation 5-Series Gran Turismo will be renamed to 6-Series Gran Turismo
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