For the second consecutive quarter, the premium large SUV segment in Europe is faced with declining sales after years of booming, double digit growth. In Q3 of 2017, that turned to double digit decline with a loss of 14%, also bringing the year-to-date figure in the red at -3% to just over 210.000 sales. The segment leader BMW X5 lost market share with a loss of 22%. In fact, the entire top-3 lost with double digits and only 5 of the remaining 19 models improved their sales year-over-year in the third quarter. The other two models on the segment podium are in for a tight race by the end of the year, with the Volvo XC90 back in 2nd place in Q3 and the Audi Q7 down to 4th, behind even the Mercedes-Benz GLE. That leaves the Range Rover Sport in 5th place for the third quarter, even though it loses just 5%, outperforming the overall segment and all four of its closest rivals. Its sister model Land Rover Discovery does even better but does not yet manage to improve its volume at -1% in Q3 despite the arrival of the all-new generation in showrooms which gave the model a 42% gain in Q2. The Disco is up 13% year-to-date, the best performance in the top-9. The third model from JLR in this segment is the top-of-the-line Range Rover, up 8% in Q3 but outsold by the soon-to-be-replaced Volkswagen Touareg.
Land Rover now holds 22% of the segment with its three nameplates, compared to 21,4% for the VW Group with its 4 models. The Porsche Cayenne is down 45% in the third quarter as the new generation is just arriving in European showrooms, with platform sibling Touareg will follow soon. That means the Cayenne was out of the segment top-10 in Q3, being outsold by the Tesla Model X, Jeep Grand Cherokee and BMW X6, in that order. The Model X enters the year-to-date top-10 by passing the latter two, both down by 23%, and could even threaten the Porsche by year-end if customer deliveries of the new generation don’t pick up quickly. Especially when the plug-in hybrid version arrives in 2018, expect the Cayenne to return to former glory. The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe loses a painful 37% in Q3 and is unable to really challenge the one model it was aimed at: the X6. The Maserati Levante gains 33% but is outsold in the third quarter by the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, running on its last legs before an all-new generation finally arrives after 28 years. It even distances the Mercedes-Benz GLS, which is down 28%. The Bentley Bentayga is on track to sell 1.500 units this year, an impressive performance considering its price point, and a benchmark for the upcoming Lamborghini Urus.
The Urus will be the fifth model on the platform of the Q7, following the third generations Touareg and Cayenne which will arrive in showroom in the upcoming months. We’ll have to wait until 2018 for the highly anticipated replacement to the legendary and therefore almost irreplacable Land Rover Defender and G-Class. BMW will finally launch a rival to the Range Rover and GLS with the long-awaited X7. In that same sub-segment we’ll find the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which will share a platform with the next generation Grand Cherokee, also new for 2018.
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