Midsized premium SUVs in Europe are booming with an increase of 25% in the first quarter of 2016, as Mercedes-Benz finally decided to bring a competitive product to the segment and a handful of older models are surprisingly stable. That hasn’t kept the Range Rover Evoque from reclaiming the lead of the segment ahead of the Volvo XC60. The Evoque has just been facelifted and benefits with a 15% increase of sales. It likely won’t hold on to that lead until the year, as sales of the model are heavily skewed towards March as a result of its popularity in the UK market. It’s surprising to see the XC60, basically an 8-year old model (facelifted in 2014), that still manages to outsell a hot and fresh new rival. I think the Mercedes-Benz GLC will lead the segment by the end of December, and that would be a first for the brand in this segment, as the GLK has never been able to keep up with its rivals.
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The Audi Q5 is also from 2008 and like the XC60 manages to keep its sales impressively stable. A new generation is on its way, but hasn’t been officially revealed yet. In the meantime, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is closing in. The replacement of the Freelander and the only model available with 7-seats in this segment took some time to show its full potential, but now it has proven to be a top-5 (and potentially top-4) player. As a result, the Disco Sport outsells the BMW X3, which is stable at +8% even though it will be replaced next year.
The BMW X4 and Porsche Macan stay pretty close to each other, but perhaps the new four-cylinder version will push the Macan ahead by the end of the year. The Lexus NX improves another 15% but stays dead last ahead of a few discontinued models. Oh wait, the Infiniti QX50 isn’t discontinued, it’s just never really caught on….
One size smaller, the premium compact crossover segment is even hotter at +30%, thanks to a smoking hot newcomer and two improving mainstays. The Audi Q3 manages to fend off the surging new generation BMW X1 thanks to its facelift, which boosted the smallest Audi crossover (until the arrival of the Q2) 26%. The X1 recovers from fourth and last place to the #2 spot with more than double the volume of last year. That leaves the still relatively fresh Mercedes-Benz GLA in a distant third place, despite sales up 14%. The Mini Countryman and Paceman are starting to show their age, and are the only losing player in the segment at -17%, but a replacement is on its way. For the Countryman that is, the Paceman will simply be killed off for lack of popularity.
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