US sales 2017 Q3: Premium Mid-sized SUV segment

Stability in a segment normally full of surprises

US premium mid-sized SUVSales of Premium Mid-sized SUVs in the US were up 3.9% in Q3 of 2017, a slowdown compared to the first two quarters of the year, when the segment recorded robust double-digit growth. Still, sales are up 8.9% since the beginning of the year, to 328,025, meaning the segment continues to (slowly) close the gap to the Premium Large SUV segment, which is still the largest from among Premium SUV segments at 458,376 units for the first three quarters of the year. With the new Audi Q5Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Range Rover Velar still building sales, and the new BMW X3, Infiniti QX50 and Volvo XC60 coming to market soon, the segment is bound to grow robustly in the next year.

Highlights for Q3 2017:

Range Rover Velar
  • Remarkably for a segment where the leaders constantly switch positions, the Top 4 remains as it was after the second quarter, with Cadillac XT5 and Lexus NX leading the segment, and Audi Q5 and Acura RDX locked in a close battle for third
  • The first change came behind, where Mercedes-Benz GLC regained some traction and saw its sales finally grow after two quarters of double-digit sales losses, which was enough to drag it in front of the BMW X3, which was down 30% in Q3’17, clearly preparing for a model handover
  • Things were quite different over at Volvo, where the outgoing XC60 performed remarkably well in the third quarter (sales up 41%), enough to haul it ahead of the Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace, and behind the Lincoln MKC
  • Infiniti QX50 was back in black in the third quarter despite being the oldest model in the segment and the replacement being just around the corner, while the new Audi Allroad once again saw its sales grow by over 50%, albeit from a very low base
  • Speaking of a low base, the slow start to Alfa Romeo Stelvio‘s sales has been laid bare by a stellar start made by the Range Rover Velar, which outsold even the BMW X4 in its first quarter

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

    1. @Losange – funny you should say F-Pace and not Velar, the car that’s designed to be the most striking mid-sized SUV. I mostly agree with you, but unfortunately most F-Paces in the US come on too-small wheels (18″, I think), which makes them look under-wheeled

      1. The design of the F-Pace possesses the best combination of strength and elegance/style which suits a classy brand like Jaguar. They’ve done a great job translating their design into a SUV.

        About the Velar, I admire Land Rover for thinking outside of the box as far as they are able to, because let’s be honest, their design is very recognisable: robust and rectangular proportions. Personally I can’t appreciate the Velar as much as the other Range Rovers and Discovery Sport. It’s too ‘posh’ and I don’t see the niche it’s supposed to fill. Nevertheless, the Velar is a very impressive car compared with most other SUVs in the above-mentioned list.

      2. It’s also funny that the large low-profile tires necessary to complete the vehicle’s appearance, make any attempt of taking it off pavement ruinous. Caught between conflicting purposes; what can save us from this dissonance?

  1. 9exponent – at some point we have to admit to ourselves that these are no longer crossovers, and certainly not SUVs, but merely re-packaged estates. But with the kind of good compromise the models are striking these days on spaciousness, aerodynamics, ride and handling, you have to ask – maybe this is a better evolution of the automobile than the low sedans, wagons and hatches that are now considered “mainstream”. After all, early cars were very upright, more like today’s crossovers, with generous wheel travel. I am not saying I necessarily agree with this, but this thought has crossed my mind, especially that today’s crossovers are usually better than non-crossovers at fitting more space on a shorter platform. Sure, big heavy minivans are even better at this, but than maybe crossovers are the happy compromise?

    Disclosure: I am a very happy owner of a 2017 Kia Sorento, which manages to fit 7 seats on 4.7 meters pretty comfortably. But if I lived in Europe, I would seriously consider Compact MVP alternatives such as the VW Touran or Citroen Grand Picasso

    1. Krysztof, I’m completely onboard with lumping station wagons (as we ‘Yanks refer to them) / estates and unibody crossovers into the same category.

      If we’re willing to get even more radical, let’s drop the naming conventions and assign them all a releative position in a spectrum.

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