The premium large SUV segment in Europe shows a smaller decline in the first three quarters of 2013 than the non-premium large SUV segment, at minus 14%. However, every model in the top 10 is losing sales compared to last year, except for one.
Mercedes-Benz M-class has kept the crown of the segment, despite the new generation coming in the first half of 2014, so it is safe to say that M-class will still be in the lead by the end of next year. The fight for second position is on, though. With Porsche Cayenne leapfrogging VW Touareg and BMW X5, which show even bigger declines. The new generation Range Rover Sport is in showrooms now, and it has some positive press reviews in its pocket. It has shed a lot of weight, switching from a body-on-frame to a unibody configuration, and that makes it more efficient, more comfortable and sportier at the same time, giving it a good shot at leaving those 3 Germans behind to take 2nd place in 2014. However, BMW has just introduced its new generation X5 and even though cosmetic changes are relatively small, it won’t give up without a fight.
Its more luxury sibling Range Rover is already reaping the benefits of its model change and weight loss diet, up 82% year-on-year. The introduction of a long wheelbase version might even push it up further.
Land Rover Discovery has been facelifted once more, in order to bring it closer to the rest of the family from a visual perspective, but this can’t hide the fact it has been on the market since 2004, just like Volvo XC90, which will be replaced in 2014. Discovery has to wait until 2016 for an all new model. Audi Q7 is also due for replacement, as sales remain steady, but at a much slower pace than its German rivals.
Just like the premium compact SUV segment, all holes in the Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz line-ups will be filled with SUVs and coupe-like SUVs in the near future. Mercedes-Benz will get the ball rolling with its MLC, a BMW X6-rivall based on M-Class, at the end of 2014/beginning 2015. Audi will follow suit with its Q6, a similar model. BMW already has most holes filled, and will redesign its X6 in 2015 to offer competition against those new entries.
Another newcomer to keep an eye on in 2014 will be Tesla Model X, a fully electric SUV based on its Model S sedan.
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