US car sales analysis 2018 Q2 – Premium Mid-sized segment

Tesla Model 3 almost takes the top spot in second quarter sales as segment growth evaporates 


Sales in the US Premium Mid-sized segment rose by 2.8% to 221,407 in the first half of 2018, as growth experienced by the segment in the first quarter of the year evaporated entirely in the second quarter, despite a huge surge in the (estimated) sales of Tesla Model 3. With the Model 3 and Kia Stinger sales growth still accelerating, and the new Volvo S60 about to go on sales, the segment looks like it might yet end the year in the black, despite ongoing assault from crossovers such as the new Audi Q5 or BMW X3.


  • Probably the biggest surprise in the segment is that, according to estimated sales figures, the new Tesla Model 3 wound up second in the YTD standings, coming within a little over 100 cars to being the highest-selling model in the segment!
  • The collapse in sales of the Mercedes-Benz C-class continues, as the model once again lost more than a quarter of its sales in the second quarter – the fact that it’s back on top of the standings is only because sales of BMW 3-Series also fell by almost 20% in Q2’18
  • Nonetheless, once the distinct sedan/coupe/fastback model lines are tallied up, the C-class is now in third place in the segment, behind the BMW duo 3-Series/4-series, and the Audi A4/A5 models (the latter of which continues its sales surge)

Note: different models from the same carmaker are combined for ease of comparison, but are also presented as “breakdown” for comparison; “AP” designates models that are classified in the Alternative Power segment, presented here for comparison; 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

  • Infiniti Q50 and Acura TLX both followed up strong first quarter gains with second quarter sales losses that managed to put them into the red YTD, with the TLX in particular falling two spots in the segment rankings
  • Sales declines continued apace for the Lexus IS and Lincoln MKZ, with the latter in particular once again losing a third of its sales, and only just staying ahead of the surging Kia Stinger in the quarterly sales figures (the Kia already managed to clear the hapless Cadillac ATS in the YTD standings)
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia continued to perform reasonably well given its start from zero last year, outselling the struggling Jaguar XE three-to-one, but failing to outsell the about-to-be-replaced Volvo 60 series

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