Sales of midsized luxury cars in Europe continue their downward trend in the first half of 2019, with deliveries down 1% to just under 335.000 units. And if it hadn’t been for the thunderous arrival of the Tesla Model 3, the segment would have been down by 22%. In March and June, Tesla delivered more Model 3’s than any midsized namplate except for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. I specifically say delivered as these registrations fluctuate greatly from month to month, depending on when the ship with Model 3 cars arrives from the US and cars are delivered to customers, some of whom may have ordered their EV more than a year ago. Still, Tesla has dropped a bomb onto this segment, and others will have to follow suit. For the first half of 2019, the C-Class is still in command despite a 3% drop in sales, as its formerly closest rival Audi A4 loses more than a quarter of its volume, as well as 4,5 percentage points of share, as some gasoline models still haven’t been available due to the WLTP standards introduced last September. That allows the BMW 3-series to claim the #2 spot thanks to the new generation, leading to a 3% gain in the first half and a 14% increase in Q2.
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 Volvo S60/V60 are back into 5th place with sales up by almost a quarter thanks to the new generation, helping the Swedish brand continue its strong form in this segment. The Audi A5 and BMW 4-series are both down by big numbers, the former still due to reduced availability because of WLTP standards, the latter as it’s due for a redesign as well, following the 3-Series. The Volkswagen Arteon is hit almost as hard with a loss of 27% despite still being relatively fresh. WLTP troubles could be playing a part in this decline as well. But the biggest loser in the top-10 is the Alfa Romeo Giulia, down by more than 40% as it too has struggled with the new fuel efficiency testing cycle. The Jaguar XE is down just 11% but is unable to outsell the Giulia. The Kia Stinger was launched in Q1 of 2018 and its deliveries peaked in Q2 of 2018, but they were down 26% in Q2 of 2019. Even at just 890 sales for the quarter, the Stinger still outsells the Lexus IS.
When looking at brand sales to balance off the fact that Mercedes-Benz sells a coupe and convertible under the same C-Class name whereas Audi and BMW use different names for these body styles, BMW takes the lead from Audi with a decline of just 8% to nearly 80.900 3-Series and 4-Series midsized luxury cars compared to Audi’s losst of 27% to at just under 80.300 sales of the A4 and A5 combined. Mercedes-Benz is also closing the gap, with sales down just 3% to nearly 77.900 combined sales for the C-Class. The Germans’ share of the segment has dropped from 81,7% to just 71,4%, mainly due to the arrival of the Model 3.
In 2019 we’ll welcome the station wagon version of the new 3-Series. With the update of that nameplate finished, BMW will follow up with a renewed 4-Series, while killing off the 3-Series GT. We expect facelifts for the Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Lexus RC plus some technical updates for the Giulia.
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