Sales of premium large SUVs in Europe declined in 2017 after three consecutive years of explosive growth during which 100.000 annual sales were added. A lack of new products may be responsible for the slowdown which caused sales to slip 6% to 270.000 units, or 1,7% of the overall European car market, down from 1,9% in 2016. The entire top-5 is down for the year and only 6 out of the 19 players in this class improve their volume this year. As you can read below, 2018 promises to bring a lot of news again so growth is expected to pick back up again. Class leader BMW X5 moves with the segment at -7%, maintaining its share at 12,8% and keeping distance to its closest rivals, the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 which were both in their second full year, compared to the X5 which is in its last full year. The XC90 was the best seller in the fourth quarter, allowing it to reclaim the #2 spot from the Q7. Likewise, the Mercedes-Benz GLE managed to finish the year ahead of the Range Rover Sport thanks to an excellent fourth quarter, even though both models lost more than the segment average. The new generation Land Rover Discovery more than tripled its volume in Q4 and grew by 29% for the year to reach the highest volume for the nameplate since 2007.
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 Volkswagen Touareg in 7th place loses 19% as it is near the end of its life cycle, allowing the Range Rover to close in. Even worse hit is the Porsche Cayenne, down 30% and into 9th place, down 2 spots on the year before and barely ahead of the Tesla Model X which was the #6 best selling model of the class in the fourth quarter. One sidenote on this performance is the Model X’s stunning December performance in Norway when it was the country’s best seller with over 1.400 sales, this will be balanced out by its January performance when it was back down to just 105 sales in its biggest European market. The BMW X6 stays ahead of its rival Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe even in the last stages of its current generation with the Jeep Grand Cherokee separating the two, down 23% as the model is starting to show its age among the much fresher competition. The new generation Lexus RX is unable to make a fist against the German, British and Swedish competition. At least it remained ahead of the Maserati Levante. Lastly, the Bentley Bentayga peaks at over 1.500 sales, about a third of its worldwide annual capacity, with another 1.100 sales in the US and the bulk of the remaining production going to China.
In 2018 there’s a lot of news in this segment, as BMW will renew the X5 and introduce a larger model called X7 to rival the Range Rover and GLS. The third generationCayenne will arrive in dealerships, which will be followed by its platform sibling Touareg. But that’s not all for this platform: Lamborghini will enter the segment with the Urus Super-SUV and Audi will bring two new models, the Q8 and the electric e-Tron quattro. Mercedes-Benz has already revealed the new G-Class and Lexus will bring the 7-seater RX L to Europe. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer may not make it in time for this year and could arrive in 2019.
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