Sales in the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment rose by 14.9 percent in 2016, a slightly slower pace of growth than for the Premium Compact SUV segment, but faster than the Premium Large SUV segment. Moreover, with total sales of 434,412 it came to within 3,000 units to outselling the Premium Mid-sized segment – it has increased its sales almost seven-fold over the past decade, while its non-SUV cousin segment lost almost 20 percent of sales over the same period. 2017 promises to be yet another good year for this segment, with the arrival of the new Audi Q5, BMW X3, as well as possibly the new Volvo XC60 and Infiniti QX50.
Highlights for 2016:
Things were very close at the front of the segment, with the sixth-placed BMW X3 selling only 28 percent fewer units than the top-selling Cadillac XT5/SRX
In this top group sales of the Mercedes-Benz GLC grew fastest (up 63 percent), followed by a remarkably good performance from the aging BMW X3 (sales up 38 percent) and the Lexus NX (sales up 25 percent)
The new Cadillac XT5 took over from the SRX at the top of the sales chart, but the handover was not flawless, with the combined tally being 10 percent lower than in 2015, with a particular dip in the middle of the year (combined sales in Q2 and Q3 were 20 percent lower than in the same period last year)
Audi Q5 held onto fourth spot, holding off the GLC and X3 and almost matching the sales record the eight-year model established in 2015 – this was a great performance given than a new model is just around the corner, and unlike the with BMW and Mercedes-Benz the model does not seem to be pulling customers away from the brands’ Premium Mid-sized non-SUV offerings
In its third year on the market Lincoln MKC is by now firmly established in the middle of the segment, but still can’t manage even half the sales that its segment-leading homegrown competitor can manage
Further down 2016 saw a remarkable sales growth for the facelifted Infiniti QX50, whose sales more than tripled compared to 2015 and established a new sales record for the ten-year-old (!) model; however, the fact that this surge in sales is the result of the model being swapped out for the longer-wheelbase version that was originally intended for the rear-legroom-obsessed Chinese market only highlights how badly Infiniti messed up with the original model, prioritizing sportiness and slinky looks over spaciousness, something it looks to rectify with the purportedly primarily-FWD new QX50
Which is not to say that sportiness and slinky looks don’t sell, it’s just that you need to have the right badge attached at the front: sales of the Porsche Macan were up 43 percent, allowing it to leap over the aging Range Rover Evoque and to close in on the Volvo XC60, while Jaguar F-Pace had a very successful market debut, with sales not far behind the Porsche in Q4
Sales of the Land-Rover Discovery Sport, introduced in 2015, stabilized in 2016 on a quarter-by-quarter level, which must be a bit of a disappointment for Land Rover – not only was the model unable to outsell even the geriatric QX50, its sales growth seems to have come to some extent at least at the expense of its older but more profitable sibling, the Range Rover Evoque
The awkward-looking BMW X4 and the niche Audi Allroad both lost around 20 percent of sales compared to 2015, and continue to prop up the end of the segment
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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