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
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
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