The premium midsized car segment in Europe accelerates its decline in Q3 of 2017 with a loss of 9%, bringing its year-to-date figure for the first nine months also in the red at -1%. Nearly 539.000 midsized luxury cars have been delivered by European dealers so far this year. slightly declined in the second quarter of 2017, which leads to a slim 2% increase in the first half, to 378.426 sales. With the mainstream midsized segment down by 11% in Q3, this type and of vehicle continues to lose volume to crossovers. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class increases its share of the segment to over 26% as its 5% loss in the third quarter is better than the segment average, while its closest 3 rivals all drop by double digits. The success of the new generation Audi A4 has been short-lived with sales down 21% in Q3 and down 13% year-to-date. The BMW 3-series loses 14% in the third quarter but a new generation will arrive next year. Its coupe and convertible versions under the 4-series monicker are also down by 11% in the third quarter, when they were outsold by their Audi rivals A5, up 50% thanks to the new generation. The gap between those models has been narrowed to less than 3.000 sales and the A5 is fresh and has the momentum, so it may become a tight race for the segment #4 spot by the end of the year, although I think the 4-Series will prevail. One sidenote to the figures of the C-Class: they include sales of the coupe and convertible versions, which BMW and Audi sell under separate nameplates. When looking at combined figures, Audi consolidates its segment lead with 160.344 sales (-2%), ahead of BMW with 151.800 sales (-7,1%) and Mercedes-Benz with 141.488 sales (+5%). In Q3 BMW was in third place just behind Mercedes-Benz.
Volvo remains best of the rest behind the Germans, but as its S60/V60 are starting to age, the brand is losing share, down 24% in the third quarter and losing 12% so far this year. That still keeps the Swedish brand ahead of Alfa Romeo, but the Italian brand is getting ever so close thanks to a 45% gain in Q3 for the Giulia, now clearly outselling the Jaguar XE, down 25% for the quarter. Volkswagen’s new Arteon, the replacement to the CC, moves up the ranking into 9th place ahead of the DS5 and Lexus IS, both down by double digits. The Infiniti Q50 has fallen out of favor with sales down 58% in Q3 to just over 100 monthly sales, even below the Lexus RC coupe, even though the latter is also down by 28%. Infiniti’s rival to that model, the Q60 is still in start-up mode, but don’t expect any big numbers from that model as the brand just misses recognition and a strong dealer network in Europe.
In upcoming months the C-Class and IS will be facelifted, and the big news for 2018 will be the next generations of the 3-Series and S60/V60.
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