The midsized premium SUV segment is one of the fastest growing in Europe, with sales up 29% in 2016 compared to an overall market up 6,2%. All remaining models improve their sales and 9 out of the top-10 set new sales records, but Mercedes-Benz and the British brands are the biggest winners this year. Still, the Volvo XC60 holds on to its segment lead and scores a record volume for the third year in a row, even though it’s the oldest model in the segment and about to be replaced in 2017. Sales of the Swedish model were up 20% in Q4, perhaps because some prospective buyers for a V70 or XC70 found these to be out of production. The new #2 of the segment is the Mercedes-Benz GLC, more than doubling the sales record of its predecessor GLK, whose design just didn’t vibe with customers in this segment. Needless to say this is also the highest position the brand has ever finished in this segment. The GLC (which includes the Coupe version) will be aiming for a top spot in 2017 as Volvo may lose some sales during the changeover to the new generation XC60, but there will be competition from the all-new Audi Q5, which had held on to its 2nd place until November and lost out by just 83 sales.
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
The Range Rover Evoque has been stable at just above 50.000 annual sales for four consecutive years but its minor facelift in 2016 boosted the model 24% to almost 64.000 sales. I doubt the convertible version will be responsible for all of its growth. Its sibling Land Rover Discovery Sport, the only model in the segment available as a 7-seater, grew 48% on its introduction year to move into 5th place ahead of the BMW X3. The Porsche Macan leapfrogs the BMW X4 in the last quarter to take 7th place, and the Jaguar F-Pace lands at #9 in its introduction year, ahead of the Lexus NX. The F-Pace was 7th in Q4 ahead of the Macan and X4. Jaguar Land Rover added 5 percentage point of share of the segment thanks to its three models and looks set to increase that share further when it launches a fourth model.
In 2017 we’ll see a new generation XC60 which will take a few design cues from the larger XC90, and BMW will launch the new generation X3. But perhaps the most anticipated launch will come from Alfa Romeo with the Stelvio SUV on the same platform as the Giulia.
Also check out the premium midsized SUV segment in the US, where segment leader Cadillac is down during the changeover from SRX to XT5 and Mercedes-Benz and BMW move up from midfield to top-tier.
One segment smaller, sales are rising almost as fast, at +26%, and here too the entire top-3 scores record sales, but one model clearly stands out. If BMW was struggling with the X3 and X4, they’ve hit the jackpot with the new generation X1: it more than doubles up to hit record sales for the nameplate and reclaims the segment lead it held before the Audi Q3 was launched in 2012. The X1 claimed a 36% share of the segment in the last quarter, more than double its share in 2015. That leaves the Q3 in second place, despite a volume gain of 13%, while the Mercedes-Benz GLA is up just 6%. The second generation Mini Countryman was launched late 2016 and didn’t make an impact on its sales yet. The Countryman has grown in size and price to better match its rivals in this segment and will aim to close the gap to the top-3.
The Infiniti QX30 hasn’t been able to break through and I doubt it will. I can understand the Japanese brand doesn’t have the volume to develop both a hatchback and a crossover, but the difference between the Q30 and QX30 really is too small for them to be sold under different names, as the US distributor has also figured out. Unfortunately, we don’t have data for the Audi Q2 yet, but we’re working on those.
In 2017, the new Countryman will start customer deliveries, and Mercedes-Benz will give the GLA a facelift. BMW will launch the X2 as a coupe-like version of the X1 to compete with the Q2. The biggest news will be that Volvo will also enter the segment with the XC40, built an its all-new small car platform.
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