US car sales analysis Q1 2018 – Premium Large SUV segment

Segment grows slowly as Lexus RX extends its lead at the front

US Large Premium SUV

Sales in the US Premium Large SUV segment rose by 6.8% to 120,305 in the first quarter of 2018, a faster rate of growth than the 1.6% in 2017, but only just quickly enough to keep the segment ahead of the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment in the quarterly sales rankings. Although new models such as Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 should contribute to new sales in the coming months, it seems it’s only a matter of time before the segment falls behind its smaller counterpart.


  • The segment-leading Lexus RX had a good quarter as customers clearly like the new 7-seat L version
  • Sales of the BMW X5 were flat as the new model made its international debut, allowing the surging Infiniti QX60 (sales up 39%) to almost overtake it for third place in the rankings
  • Models that fell behind the Infiniti include the Mercedes-Benz GLE and Acura MDX, both of which saw their sales fall slightly

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

  • Audi Q7 saw its sales rise slowly, keeping it ahead of the Volvo XC90, whose sales growth was flattered by its dismal Q1’17 performance, with both models leaping over the Lincoln MKX in sales rankings
  • Other noteworthy developments in the segment include the almost six-fold increase in sales for the Land Rover Discovery (although that was still only good enough for fourteenth spot in the rankings), while Infiniti QX70 exited the market, with only some remaining stocks being sold in Q1’18

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