After a double digit gain in 2017, the premium large car segment in Europe saw its sales decline by 2% in 2018, but manages to stay above 400.000 sales for the second consecutive year and still holds 2,7% of the overall car market. In the top-3, only the BMW 5-series managed to improve its share, and only by the thinnest of margins. This doesn’t necessarily mean the German domination of this segment is under threat, because the losses of their volume sedans (and station wagons) were partially offset by increased sales of their niche models in this segment. While the top-3 models see their combined share thaw from 75% in 2017 to 71,8%, the share of the German 3 brands is stable at 78,9%. The class leader Mercedes-Benz E-Class lost 8% of its sales in 2018 and drops back below 30% share of the segment. The 5-Series is less than 10.000 sales behind thanks to a 1% decline in sales, while the Audi A6 loses ground quickly with a 10% decline as 2018 was a changeover year to the new generation A6.
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
Volvo manages to improve its share of the segment by half a percentage point as the S90/V90 improves 2% on 2017. The Tesla Model S also improves its share thanks to an 8% increase in sales to set a second consecutive annual sales record at over 17.000 deliveries. The BMW 6-series is no longer available in coupe, convertible and Gran Coupe versions, as those are being replaced by the all-new 8-Series, which lands at #11. The only remaining 6-Series is the GT hatchback which replaced the 5-Series GT last year. As a result, sales of the nameplate almost double to over 10.700 units, a new annual record as the previous record was just over 10.000 sales in 2004, the first year of the modern era 6-Series. That also means the BMW outsells the Jaguar XF, the struggling British model that loses sales for the fourth consecutive year, from which three by double digits including the last two, despite having been renewed not long ago. Jaguar’s share of the segment has more than halved over the course of just four years, to just 2,5%. The Mercedes-Benz CLS is up 78% thanks to the new, third generation, allowing it to leapfrog the Audi A7 for 8th place, even though the A7 is all new as well.
The Maserati Ghibli loses 15% and the Lexus GS is down 29% but those losses are partially counterbalanced by the launch of its replacement, the Lexus ES.
BMW will expand the 8-Series range with the Gran Coupe, and Audi will expand the offerings of the new A6 with the S6, RS6 and Allroad versions. The E-Class will be updated to remain fresh next to the newer 5-Series and A6. And we’ll welcome some all-electric models when the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-Tron Sportback arrive.
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