US car sales analysis Q1 2018 – Premium Mid-sized SUV segment

Mercedes-Benz GLC flies to the top of what may soon be the largest Premium SUV segment

US premium mid-sized SUV

Sales in the US Premium Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 17.3% to 117,488 in the first quarter of 2018, a faster rate of growth than the 9.4% the segment recorded in 2017. In doing so the segment finished just a few thousand units short of the sales tally for the Premium Large SUV segment in quarterly sales, and may yet overtake it for the first time come Q2’18. With a lot of new models having entered the market over the past 12 months, and the new Acura RDX not far off, the segment is well placed to have a great 2018.


  • After enjoying a good 2016 and 2017, the second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLC saw its sales grow by a remarkable 82% over Q1’17, allowing it to leapfrog five cars to finish at the head of the segment for the first time ever (though it has clearly come at the expense of its C-class sister car, whose sales fell by a third)
  • By contrast, BMW X3 saw its sales fall by 21% as the new generation model rolls in, dropping it five places in the rankings, as Cadillac XT5Lexus NX and Audi Q5 all bunch up together in a tight fight for spots two, three and four
  • The new Volvo XC60 saw its sales rise by 61%, a good but not outstanding performance when compared to the sales surge of the GLC
    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
  • By contrast, the Range Rover Velar did remarkably well to place eight in the standings, beating out not only the Porsche Macan, but also its more affordable Jaguar F-Pace sister car, which after a great start in the market last year lost 25% of sales in Q1’18
  • Sales of the new Infiniti QX50 only truly took off in March, and so it won’t be clear until Q2’18 how well the new model has been received by the market
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio monthly sales topped 1,000 for the first time in March, allowing the model to handily outsell BMW X4, and come close to outselling the ailing Land Rover Discovery Sport (sales down 26%)

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