Sales in the Premium Mid-sized segment fell by 2.1% in the first quarter of 2017, which is better than the overall market. It’s also an improvement from the loss of 15.3% percent in 2016, and much better than the -19.2% of the mainstream midsized car segment. US dealers delivered a total of 108,281 premium midsized models, which is barely more than the almost 101,500 premium midsized crossovers they sold in the same period (an increase of 12.5%). If this trend continues, the crossover segment will soon be larger than the car segment. 8 of the 16 remaining models in the segment showed double digit declines, while just 2 showed double digit increases and another 2 were all-new. One sidenote to the ranking: the Mercedes-Benz C-class is the only model in the segment for which sales of the coupe and convertible are included with those of the sedan/station wagon, as all others have distinctive names for their sexier models: 3-Series/4-Series, A4/A5, Q50/Q60, IS/RC. That’s why we’ve decided to give you 2 rankings this time: the blue graph with the split figures and the green graph with the combined figures. As you can see, that makes the difference between having a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW on top.
Highlights for Q1 2017
The Mercedes-Benz C-class tops the ranking for individual nameplates, helped by the fact that this includes the coupe and convertible models, which are still very fresh. They also help the model score the second-biggest improvement of the segment, distancing its closest rivals. However, if we combine the BMW 4-Series coupe and convertible models with the 3-Series, we see that BMW sells the most cars in this segment, despite a combined loss of 2.6%. While the 3-Series on its own slightly improves despite being due for an update next year, the 4-Series loses 12.4% as it feels increased competition from Mercedes-Benz.
Infiniti takes third place in both rankings, with the Q50 sedan down almost 12%, which is allows it to overtake the Lexus ES (down by more than a quarter), and the all-new Q60 coupe storming up the charts, outselling cars like the Cadillac ATS and Jaguar XE.
The new generation Audi A4 is the fastest growing model in the top-10, jumping from 9th in Q1-2016 and 8th in the full year 2016 to 6th place, ahead of the Acura TLX whose facelift has been revealed at this week’s New York Auto show, and the Lincoln MKZ.
Three of the four biggest losers in this segment are from Lexus, with the IS down by more than a third and the RC coupe down by almost half.
Cadillac has failed again in this segment, with the ATS proving it takes more than just good product to succeed against the cutthroat competition. The ATS barely outsells the Jaguar XE, as the British model has finally started to get some traction in the market.
We welcome the Alfa Romeo Giulia to the segment with almost 900 sales in its first 2 months of sales, and keep in mind this is only for the top-of-the-line, 505hp, $72,000 Giulia QV version, as sales of the bread-and-butter versions haven’t started yet. So that’s actually a pretty good result for a brand that for 95% of the population either has no brand recognition or has an image of unreliable Italian.
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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