The large sedan segment is the fastest declining in the US, with sales down 41% in the first nine months of 2020. And they’ve been declining for the past 6 years already. In Q3, the decline slowed down slightly to -28% but the segment now makes up only 1.8% of the US car market, down from 2.4% in the first three quarters of 2019. All of the top-6 best selling nameplates lose more than a quarter of their sales compared to the same period last year. Luxury cars continue to outperform mainstream models and have improved their share from 40% last year to 44.3% now.
The Dodge Charger is down by 25% (-10% in Q3) which makes it the best performer in hte top-6. The Charger improves its share of the segment to 29.2% (and 52.4% of the mainstream part of the class). When combining its platform sibling Chrysler 300, FCA holds a 35.5% share, with models that are the oldest in the class. And both FCA models have to soldier on for at least 2 more years before any major updates or replacements. Especially Dodge is doing a great job at keeping interest in the Charger alive by launching limited editions and appealing to the muscle car crowd. The 300 is down 51% (-60% in Q3) and falls behind the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon in the ranking. The Maxima and Avalon both lose almost half of their sales, although the latter recovers in Q3 with sales down “just” 29%. The Tesla Model S is estimated to be the only model in the top-10 to have improved its sales, by 11%.
The Chevrolet Impala is the biggest loser in the top-15 as production has ended. Among mainstream players, the Kia Cadenza is the best performer with sales down just 13%, but it remains a niche player with just 922 sales in nine months. Production of the Buick LaCrosse has ended as well, leaving General Motors with just a single nameplate in the large car segment with the Cadillac CT5.
In the luxury part of the segment, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class still dominates the ranking with a 35% decline compared to a 48% loss for the BMW 5-Series. The Tesla Model S returns to the podium with sales up 11%, while the Cadillac CT5 moves ahead of the Audi A6, despite a 6% increase in sales for the latter in Q3. The Volvo 90-Series makes a big jump in the ranking in Q3, leapfrogging the Genesis G80, Lexus GS and Audi A7. The large Volvo also outsold the Lincoln Continental by 500 units but remains behind the soon-to-be-discontinued American sedan in the year-to-date ranking. Sales of the G80 tanked by 60% in the third quarter as an extensive redesign of the model has been revealed. The Lexus GS actually saw a slight increase in deliveries in Q3, while sales of the Mercedes-Benz CLS are estimated to have more than doubled, both in Q3 and YTD. Acura RLX sales even nearly tripled in the third quarter, which means the model is now almost back in the black for the year so far, while distancing the Jaguar XF.
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