Sales in the Premium Large segment fell by 14.2 percent compared to 2015, the second largest decline from among all segments, with all but two of the continuing models experiencing a drop in sales. Moreover, the absolute value of sales, at 288,222, was only a little higher than half of the 510,852 sales achieved by the sector in 2006. Nonetheless, there is hope on the horizon for the segment – 2016 saw the introduction of numerous new models (Jaguar XF, Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz E-class and Volvo S90) that are yet to fully hit their stride, sales-wise, and 2017 will mark the sales debut of the new generation of the all-important BMW 5-series.
Highlights for 2016
Only two cars experienced positive sales growth compared to 2015: the Lincoln Continental, the replacement for the unloved MKS (sales up almost by half, jump up four spots to ninth in the table), and the new Jaguar XF (sales up 12 percent, jump up five spots to tenth in the table)
In second spot the new Mercedes-Benz E-class lost only 5 percent of sales relative to 2015, a much better performance than the cars around it, all of which lost sales in the double-digits, though I’m pretty sure the brand expected better for the much-vaunted new model
Speaking of new generations – the new BMW 5-series can’t come to market soon enough, as the current model’s sales fell by over a quarter compared to 2015, and came to within 3,000 units of being outsold by the Tesla Model S
Cadillac XTS did relatively well in 2016 to be the only other car to only lose sales in the single digits (drop of 4 percent)
The 28 percent fall in sales of the Hyundai Genesis may seem large, but that is because the model is now sold as Genesis G80 and, when pooled, sales of the model fell by a more-reasonable 3 percent; however, the transition has not been totally smooth, as evidence by the fact that while sales of the Hyundai version (before the launch of the Genesis brand) were stable in the first half of the year relative to 2015, the pooled sales in the second half of the year were down 15 percent
Most Japanese entrants in the segment fared poorly: Lexus GS, Infiniti Q70 and Acura TSX all saw their sales decline by over 30 percent
By contrast, Maserati Ghibli had a good year, losing only 10 percent compared to 2016 – a good performance given the plight of FCA’s other Italian brands in the US (Fiat, Alfa Romeo), and the internal competition provided by the new Levante SUV
The worst sales declines came from the niche German models, with sales of the Mercedes-Benz CLS falling by 41 percent, and those of the BMW 6-series by 52 percent; by contrast Audi A7/S7 did OK with only a 15 percent sales decline
Sales of Volvo S90 began slowly in the second half of the year, though by Q4 its sales were high enough to enter the top 10, ahead of the XF
Note: “AP” designates models that are classified in the Alternative Power segment, presented here for comparison, but excluded from segment total figures.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
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