US car sales analysis Q1 2018 – Premium Full-size SUV segment

Soaring Lincoln Navigator sales can’t make up for drop in Mercedes-Benz GLS sales as segment sales decline

Sales in the US Premium Full-size SUV segment fell by 1.6% to 30,794 in the first quarter of 2018, a slight slow-down relative to the 2.5% growth the segment recorded in 2017. With the new Lincoln Navigator and Infiniti QX80 still ramping up sales, and the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class set to go on sale in the coming months the segment may yet start growing later in 2018, but its clear that it lacks that dynamism of the smaller Premium SUV segments.


  • Mercedes-Benz GLS saw its sales fall by almost 30%, allowing the new-for-2017 Infiniti QX80 to take the segment lead
  • The aging Cadillac Escalade put in a good performance to see its sales rise by 17%, as dealers were clearly throwing incentives at customers who would have otherwise gone for the new Lincoln Navigator, whose sales were up 63% as it jumped over the long-wheelbase Cadillac Escalade ESV in the standings (combined sales of the two Escalade models put it comfortably in the segment lead)

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

  • Sales of Range Rover fell by 9% despite a recent facelift, whereas the about-to-be-replaced Mercedes-Benz G-Class managed to keep its sales stable
  • After seeing its sales fall by almost 30% in the second half of 2017, Bentley Bentayga recovered well to see its sales rise by 22%

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