The Limousine segment is the only premium car segment to grow in volume in the first quarter of 2017, and one of only two car segments overall, together with the Minicar segment, on the opposite side of the scale. A total of 12,959 limousines were sold in Q1 for a gain of 6.5% on the same period last year. However, just two models in this segment show growth, both newcomers, while the other ten are losing volume, of which eight with double digits. In fact, if it weren’t for the new Cadillac CT6 and Genesis G90 the segment would halve lost 18.8%. This year we’ll see a few more models renewed, with the second generation Porsche Panamera already in showrooms since March, to be followed by the next generations of the Lexus LS and Audi A8. These should help the segment maintain its positive figure for the rest of the year, together with the still fresh BMW 7-Series. Whatever happens, it’s unlikely the dominant leader of this segment is going to give up its position anytime soon.
Highlights for Q1 2017
The almighty Mercedes-Benz S-class is clearly suffering from the introduction of new rivals, with sales falling by 12.5% compared to last year, and the model’s share of the segment falling to 28%, from 35% in Q1 of 2016 and 29% in the full year 2016. 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 recently launched S-Class 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 will start sales within the next few months.
The all-new BMW 7-series started off great last year, with a gain of 39% on 2015, but has started 2017 off on the wrong foot with a loss of 9.1%, although this is mostly due to a slow month of January, as February sales were flat and March showed a significant gain again. Still, the 7-Series looks unable to threaten the S-Class for segment leadership. In fact, the Beemer was relegated into third place for the first quarter by the all-new Cadillac CT6. This is a very promising start for Cadillac’s first true rival to the Germans in this segment.
This dominating top-3 takes 62.9% of the share of the segment and is well ahead of the rest. 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 taken a bit hit after 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.
In fifth place we find the Lexus LS, which is about to be replaced by a new generation and is down by 23.9% so far. It stays well ahead of the also soon-to-be-replaced Audi A8 which is down by 19.5%. These figures may seem unimpressive, but the next two nameplates fare much worse: the Jaguar XJ is down by 39.2% and the Porsche Panamera is down by 35.9% for the quarter. At least the latter has a very silver lining to that figure: deliveries of the new generation started in March and it immediately stormed to the segment 4th place with over 550 sales, compared to just 63 in the first two months combined.
The Maserati Quattroporte is one of the least terrible performers of the segment at just -10.8%, while the Kia K900 is the big loser with a loss of more than 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.
The two low-volume Bentley models Flying Spur and Mulsanne are also slightly down as the Bentayga SUV is stealing all the thunder in the Bentley showroom, but at least the losses are much more modest than those of 2016 for these models.
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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