The premium large car segment in Europe has fallen into a double digit decline in the first quarter of 2019, with sales down 13% to just over 100.000 units. Only four of the 14 models in the class sell more than they did in the same period of 2018, and only one in the top-4. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class holds its top position with sales down 11% which means it increases its share of the segment to 28,9%. Despite a take rate of 15,5% for the plug-in hybrid version, its nearest rival BMW 5-series loses 19% and is just 120 sales ahead of the #3 Audi A6. The latter has just been renewed and delivers 12% more vehicles than in Q1 of last year. The A6 adds over 5 percentage points of share of the segment, which means these three models now account for 76% of all sales in this class. At brand level, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi control 83,4%, up from 77,9% last year. The A6 clearly has a shot at the #2 spot for this year, but is already too far behind the E-Class to reclaim the segment title it last held in 2015. There’s only one caveat to that remark: the E-Class is also available in Coupe and Convertible versions, and sales of those are not split out. Unfortunately we can’t directly compare sales figures of only the sedan and station wagon versions, but the E-Class isn’t as dominant as it seems from these numbers. The Volvo S90/V90 takes a hard hit because of cannibalization from the new V60, which looks very similar to the V90 but is quite a bit more affordable. Sales of the Swedish models are down by 39%, accounting for half of the total segment’s decline so far in 2019 and there’s now a significant gap to the top-3.
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 all-new third generation Mercedes-Benz CLS grows its sales by 157% as the nameplate triples its share of the segment and moves way ahead of its rival Audi A7, despite the latter also improving, by 16%. The Jaguar XF adds 3% to its sales of last year but remains a niche player with less than 3% share of the class. The BMW 6-series, now reduced to a single model, is down by almost half as the other versions have now been replaced by the 8-Series. The big loser in the segment is the Tesla Model S, down 61% and from #5 to #9 as the launch of the Model 3 has cannibalized the brand’s larger sedan. In 10th place we welcome a new player, the Lexus ES which replaces the unsuccessful GS. The ES is based on the front-wheel drive platform of the Toyota Camry which has returned to Europe after a decade long hiatus. It will be interesting to see if the ES will be able to break out of the bottom end of the class, but don’t hold your breath.
Later this year 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.
Premium large car segment
Audi A6 / S6 / RS6 / Allroad
Audi A7 / S7 / RS7
Tesla Model S
Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2018 and monthly sales from 2015 to 2018, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site.
Car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
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