Big shifts in the ranking as double digit growth or double digit decline is the norm among limousines
Sales in the Limousine segment edge up 2% in Q2 of 2017 and grow by 3% in the first half of the year, to 28,587 units. That may seem very stable, but there are big shifts in the ranking as individual models either show double (or triple) digit growth or double digit declines. Actually, there are only three nameplates (four if you include the Hyundai Equus -> Genesis G90 which is basically the same car) that improve, while the other eight decline. And if it weren’t for the Cadillac CT6, the segment would’ve been down 9%. Besides the new Porsche Panamera which arrived in Q1, we’ll also welcome new generations of the Audi A8 and Lexus LS this year, which should help give the segment another boost as the Panamera has done in Q2. But don’t expect them to threaten the dominant segment leader anytime soon.
Highlights for first half 2017
Even its 11% loss in Q1 can’t keep the Mercedes-Benz S-class from its top spot, even though a number of fresh rivals has been launched in the past year. However, its share of the segment has fallen to 26.5%, the lowest it’s been since 2013 and down from almost 40% in 2014. Keep in mind S-Class sales figures not only include those of the sedan in all of its versions and wheelbase sizes, but also sales of the S-Class Coupe and Convertible, models the competition doesn’t offer. Still, its advantage over the #2 is large enough to safely claim it even leads the way in purely sedan sales. And a facelifted version has just arrived, so expect Mercedes to top the charts again by year-end, which would be its 8th consecutive annual win.
The new BMW 7-series started off great in 2016 with a gain of 39% on the year before, but its success was short-lived. After a loss of 9% in Q1, the large Beemer is down a harsh 35% in Q2, which brings its first-half score to -24%. Adding insult to injury, the Cadillac CT6 clearly outsold its German rival in the second quarter and is now well ahead in the YTD ranking. This is a very promising start for Cadillac’s first true rival to the Germans in this segment and a welcome success for the brand’s troubled sedan line-up.
But matters get even worse for the 7-Series, as it was outsold by the all-new Porsche Panamera in Q2. Granted, the difference of 232 sales wasn’t enough to conclude the Panamera is going to grab 3rd place of the segment by year-end, but nonetheless an impressive result for the performance-oriented luxury sedan, especially after its 8th place in Q1 when it was only available for one month. It would be interesting to see how the Sport Turismo “station wagon” version is going to perform in the US, but I don’t expect Porsche to publish split figures of that version when it arrives Stateside.
This dominating top-4 takes 70.8% of the share of the segment and is well ahead of the other players. The best of the rest is the all-new Genesis G90, with double the volume of its predecessor of last year, the Hyundai Equus. This is a welcome succes for the newly founded Korean luxury brand, as its volume model G80 has gone the other way with sales down by half since the name change. Perhaps it helps that the G90 is actually a new generation of the Equus, while the G80 is simply a continuation of the existing Hyundai Genesis sedan.
In sixth place we find the Lexus LS, which is about to be replaced by a new generation and is down by 36% in the first half. It still had a 100-unit lead over the also soon-to-be-replaced Audi A8 in Q2. The A8 loses just 18% despite the fact that its new generation has already been revealed, which actually looks like a Lincoln Continental from the rear. The Jaguar XJ recovers from a nightmarish Q1 with a decline of just 10% in Q2, bringing the first half figure to -27%.
The Maserati Quattroporte loses 17%, while the Kia K900 is still the big loser with a loss of almost half its volume, as the limited number of buyers prepared to forego brand allure to choose a South Korean limousine have switched to the much fresher G90. At this pace, the K900 will struggle to sell even 500 units in all of the US this year, hardly a viable business case.
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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