US sales Q1 2016 Premium Mid-sized segment

US premium mid-sizedSales in the premium mid-sized segment fell by 20% compared to Q1 2015, worse than any of the other premium segments; in fact, from among all mainstream segments only the minicar segment did worse this quarter. Things may pick up a bit once the new Audi A4 hits its stride, and the Jaguar XE hits the dealerships, but overall 2016 could prove to be quite a dark period for the premium mid-sized segment.

Highlights in Q1 2016

Lincoln MKZ
  • Only one car did not lost customers relative to Q1 2015: Lincoln MKZ, Ford Fusion‘s upscale cousin
  • The MKZ relatively good performance only brings into sharp focus the plight of its more ambitious American competitor, Cadillac ATS – the small 3-series competitor continues to underwhelm in the market
  • The biggest fall in sales in the segment was recorded by the segment leader, BMW 3-series and 4-series, whose combined sales fell by 33% compared to Q1 2015, and Volvo S60/V60, the ageing Swedish due losing 38% of sales
  • Despite Lexus IS/RC pipping it to third spot in all of 2015, Infiniti Q50 claimed third in Q1 2016, just as it did a year earlier

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. I was looking at an ad that pictured the Cadillac ATS and the CTS and i swear I could barely tell the difference. When I look at Cadillac’s design efforts, they are underwhelming. Another case of GM missing the boat. Is there some unwritten laws that a family of cars has to look so similar?

  2. I agree, the ATS and CTS look much too similar, not unlike the Jaguar XE and XF, not to mention Mercedes-Benz C-class and E-class. So much so, in fact, that the Audi A4/A6 and BMW 3-series/5-series, equivalent models from brands constantly accused of being “one sausage, different lengths” looks, suddenly look positively differentiated by comparison!

  3. Most of the so-called ‘premium’ brands simplify their design strategy. Audi, BMW, Cadillac and others have become tapelines. “You want a medium sized car? Here you go with the A4. Oh you want the XL version? No problem: A8.”
    As a fan of innovative and distinctive designs I don’t like it, but the car makers (i.e. the marketing department) know it works. The few people with for example an A8 who are bothered about the fact that a smaller car looks like their car are not enough for Audi to change anything, because more A4 buyers are probably happy the car looks like the A8. In my view, large cars lose a lot of their exclusivity by using this poor strategy.

    Of course there are exceptions. Lexus models, especially the SUVs, don’t look alike. The same goes for Infiniti and I hope DS can continue introducing cars with different designs. The roads are boring enough!

  4. Does anyone know what the primary attributes drive 3-Series/4-Series sales in the USA? I would be surprised if it lost its unique selling points over the last 12 months or so, especially since the C-Class has already been around for a while. Are the potential buyers cross-shopping – and deciding to by – Crossovers instead?

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