The premium large car segment in Europe remains in the positive in Q2 of 2017 with a 5% increase, leading to an 8% sales gain in the first half of the year, to 218.019 sales. In the top-4 we have 2 nameplates growing with large double digit figures, one losing with double digit figures and one newcomer, so a dynamic segment indeed. Well, in terms of sales, that is. After reclaiming the segment lead in 2016, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class remains king of the hill, growing its share of the segment by 6,3 percentage points on the first half of last year, to 31,2% as it adds more than a third to its volume of the same period in 2016. The all-new BMW 5-series, launched earlier this year, grows even faster than the E-Class in Q2 but is unable to take its crown. It does distance the Audi A6 in third place (down from #1 in the first half of 2016), as it loses 17% in the second quarter and a painful 5,4 percentage points of share. What’s worse for the A6, it outsold the new Volvo S90/V90 by less than 5.000 units in the quarter. Not enough to start worrying about the Swedes breaking the German domination of the segment, but still a small yet welcome success for Volvo. However, the top-3 sellers increase their share to almost three quarters of total segment sales. Keep in mind, the E-Class includes coupe and convertible versions, which the other models don’t have, and these two-door versions are still pretty fresh so could be responsible for most of the growth of the nameplate, together with the also still recent station wagon.
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
So Volvo has clearly established itself as a volume player in this segment, but Jaguar risks falling further behind, as the new generation XF appears to have fallen out of grace. Its cosmetic updates were only minor, which disguised the fact that it was mechanically completely overhauled and that may be costing it buyers who might think it has changed too little. Another point of criticism is that the smaller XE looks exactly the same as the XF, especially from the front. A 45% loss in the second quarter means the XF was outsold by the Tesla Model S. The next four models in the ranking also fall with 42% or more in the second quarter: the Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS, BMW 6-series and the Maserati Ghibli. The 6-Series has lost its coupe version, which ended production last quarter, as BMW prepares for the next generation. The first new 6-Series is the Gran Turismo, which formerly was a 5-Series but has been renamed for its second generation. At the bottom end of the ranking we find the Asian players, led by the Lexus GS, down 31% in Q2, the Infiniti Q70, down 39% and the Hyundai Genesis, down 72% to a mere 15 sales.
Later this year Jaguar will already update the XF again after the aforementioned criticism and complaints about its interior quality, and it will combine this with the much needed introduction of the second generation XF Sportbrake. As mentioned, BMW will rename the next generation 5-Series Gran Turismo to 6-Series Gran Turismo, and Audi is ready to reveal the 2nd generation A7.
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