US car sales analysis Q4 2017 – Limousine segment

Cadillac CT6, Porsche Panamera soar, new BMW 7-series falters as segment shrinks

US limousine segment

Sales in the US limousine segment fell by 15.3% to 16,363 in the fourth quarter of 2017, while overall sales in 2017 fell by 8.2% to 59,308. Although the loss in sales was not very large, and the segments still managed to maintain sales above the depths to which it plunged at the height of the recession in 2009, the performance suggests that the segment is unlikely to recapture its former glory of the early 2000s, when annual sales hovered around 80,000 per year. Still, with many new models still building sales (BMW 7-seriesCadillac CT6Genesis G90, Porsche Panamera) and two new models about to go on sales (Audi A8 and Lexus LS), it’s entirely possible that we may see sales rise in this segment in 2018.


  • Most of the cars in the segment fall into two groups groups: new models with rising sales and older models with sales shrinking by around 30% compared to 2016
  • Mercedes-Benz S-class remained comfortably at the top, with the facelift helping reduce the sales decline to just 16%
  • There was a change of guard behind the leader, with the upstart Cadillac CT6 overtaking BMW 7-series, which must be a big disappointment for BMW, who was hoping to challenge the S-class with the latest model, but instead saw its sales fall by almost 30% in only its second year on the market; that said, the CT6 is also showing signs of strain, as its sales fell by more than a third in Q4’17 to below that of the 7-series

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

  • Porsche Panamera is clearly a huge hit with the buyers, as sales rose by 53% compared to 2016, allowing the model to handily overtake the soon-to-be-replaced Lexus LS
  • The new Genesis G90 also had a very successful 2017, with sales more than doubling the sales it chalked up in 2016 combined with those of its Hyundai Equus predecessor
  • Most of the rest of the segment saw sales fall by around 30%, with the worst performance coming from Kia K900, which casts doubt on whether the model will even be replaced, despite the brand’s push upmarket with the Kia Stinger

Note: clicking on the model names in legend turns the display for that model on/off; data is displayed from 1990 onwards, but starts earlier – access previous years using slider on bottom