US sales 2016 Premium Mid-sized segment

Sales in the Premium Mid-sized segment fell by 15.3 percent in 2016 to 437,011 cars, the lowest level since 2011. This marks the fastest sales decline from among all segments, not just the Premium ones. As noted in the analysis of the Premium Compact segment, the decrease in sales in the Premium Mid-sized segment is driven primarily by consumer switching over to crossovers – in a neat bit of symmetry, sales in the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment rose by an almost identical 15.1 percent, and almost matched the absolute sales volume of the non-SUV sector with 434,412 sales . While the new Audi A4 enjoyed positive sales growth, and the all-new Jaguar XE helped bring in some new customers, these were the only two flickers of optimism in a segment that saw every other model lose sales compared to 2015. The only truly new entrant to the segment lined up in 2017 is the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which is unlikely to set the charts alight due to the brand’s obscurity and almost non-existant dealer network in the US.

Highlights for 2016

Jaguar XE
  • The top-4 models in the segment all experienced double-digit fall in sales this year, including the segment-leading BMW 3/4-series (largest fall of over a quarter), as well as the still-new Mercedes-Benz C-class and Infiniti Q50/Q60
  • In fact, thanks to its smaller sales decline, the Infiniti was able to get within 500 cars of the third-placed Lexus IS/RC; the introduction of new, turbocharged engines and the Q60 coupe variant may yet put the model on the podium in 2017
  • The new Audi A4 registered a 6 percent growth in sales in the second half of the year, making up for the sales drop in the first half of the year and allowing it to jump to fifth in the standings at the expense of the hapless Acura TLX (sales down 21 percent) – if it keeps gaining strength, especially with the introduction of the S models and the A5/S5 coupe variant, it may yet content for the final spot of the podium alongside the Japanese duo
  • The other two primarily front-wheel-drive cars in the segment, the newly-facelifted Lincoln MKZ and Volvo S60/V60, both lost sales, though the Lincoln’s 1 percent drop in sales was as good as a “win” given that no all other drops in sales were in the double-digits, such as the Volvo’s 13 percent drop
  • Cadillac ATS managed to just about hold onto its spot in the standings ahead of the Swedish car despite a 20 percent drop in sales relative to 2015; with barely over 20,000 sales in its main market at the peak of its attractiveness, Cadillac’s take on a 3-series rival can now be acknowledged to be a total flop
  • Speaking of underperforming cars with tiny rear seats, sales of the Jaguar XE failed to rise significantly above 1,000 units per month, suggesting the baby Jaguar may not have the appeal to the market to progress from its current position at the bottom of the standings

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

  1. The unexceptional styling of the Jaguar XE is disappointingl. When you buy a car for $45,000, you don’t want it to be indistinguishable from Ford Fusions and Toyota Camrys. People expect Jaguars to be sexy and fun looking…. not dull and pedestrian looking.

  2. Clearly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder – as I think the Jaguar XE is a very pretty car when seen in the metal. Overall, I suspect Jaguar are satisfied with the overall sales growth of the XE, XF and F-PACE. They’ve finally given customers an option to buy, which wasn’t there before – and the cars will only get better.

  3. The XE’s styling does divide opinions – some find it classy and handsome, others conservative and underwhelming. Personally, I am in between – in the metal it does look handsome from the front, but the proportions with the overly short rear door and trunk look a bit off. Inside it looks really cheap IMO.

    As per sales, there is potential for the XE to “grow into the market”, but I suspect that this won’t happen until the second-generation, less compromised (lighter, more spacious) second-generation model arrives. The F-Pace, on the other hand, does seem to have all the potential to do very well in the market

    1. @Stemi – you’re looking at sales figures for US vs Europe; this article talks about XE’s sales figure in the US (6,656), while the link you provide shows the figures for Europe (24,461 in 2016). I just realized that one of the links on the page accidentally linked to European sales for the XE – I corrected that

      1. Yes, sorry, you are right. I followed the link that you mentioned and I didn’t noticed it!

  4. All those people complaining about the Jaguar XE and its back seat should look at the cars from the 1980s and 1990s that made BMW what it is today. The biggest thing about those bimmers were they were fun cars to drive and you always left the car with a smile on your face. Nobody gave a damn to the back seat which was a disappointing feature of those bimmers. The Jaguar XE is a fun car to drive with an exceptional suspension and a great warranty which removes you from all the maintenance cost and headaches of owning an European car for 5 years. Its a winner in its segment and easily displaces the BMW335i for its driving chops.

  5. @manny – you’re right that the XE has a lot of similarities with the 3-series from the 80s and early 90s, when the car was all about great dynamics, rather than interior space (which was poor) or interior quality (which was so-so at best). It did have much better engines than the XE though. But the real problem is that the 3-series had the stodgy M-B 190E and the Audi 80 for competitors back then, allowing it to shine clearly. Today, the XE has more than a dozen competitors, many of them extremely talented and better all-around packages. The great drive that the XE offers may bring it kudos an appreciation from driving aficionados, but it’s not enough to make the model a true market success.

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