Sales of Premium Mid-sized SUVs in the US rose by 24% in Q1 2016 to 91,701 vehicles – a slightly slower rate of growth than the smaller Premium Compact SUV segment, but faster than the Premium Large SUV one. Growth in the segment was driven both by new models (Mercedes-Benz GLC, Land-Rover Discovery Sport) and existing models enjoying better sales (BMW X3, Porsche Macan, Infiniti QX50). That said, despite sales in the segment booming, some big players lost more than 30% of sales, most notably Volvo XC60 and Range Rover Evoque. While these two models will have to soldier on for a while longer before their replacements arrive, 2016 will see the release of a two major new models: Cadillac XT5, which is about to hit the market any month now, and Audi Q5 Mk II, which will join it later in the year.
Highlights in Q1 2016:
The race for the segment leader intensified, as 2015’s segment leader Cadillac SRX (sales up 5% to 12,866) is being reeled in by Acura RDX (sales up 8% to 12,212) and Lexus NX (sales up 25% to 11,375). It will be interesting whether SRX’s replacement, the XT5, will be enough for Cadillac to hold onto the segment lead in 2016
Mercedes-Benz GLC almost doubled on the sales the GLK captured in Q1 2015, lifting the model from seventh to fourth spot, vaulting it past its homegrown competitors: BMW X3, which held station in fifth spot despite sales rising 70%, and Audi Q5, which ranked only sixth despite finishing 2015 in second spot
Despite sales falling by 2% Lincoln MKC actually gained a spot in the rankings on the back of Volvo XC60 losing 39% in sales, and falling from sixth to tenth. Volvo will hope this is a temporary downturn, as its recent renewal of the 90 family means that the new XC60 is at least a year away from market
The new Land-Rover Discovery Sport is gaining pace, rising to eight spot, the highest it, or its Freelander/LR2 predecessors, have ever ranked. Unfortunately for its parent company, the model seems to be gaining sales at the expense of its Range Rover Evoque cousin, which lost 31% of sales and fell three spots compared to Q1 2015
Hot on the heals of the Discovery Sport is the newly resurgent Infiniti QX50, whose sales rose 570% compared to the pre-facelift, shorter-wheelbase model. It will be fascinating to see whether the eight-year-old model can break its quarterly sales record from Q4 2008 (4,036 units), as it came mighty close this quarter
Porsche Macan was another model enjoying a good quarter, with sales up 39% to 3,604, putting it further clear of its closest competitor BMW X4 (sales practically flat at 1,473)
Audi Allroad once again brought up the rear of the segment, with sales falling 29% in anticipation of the arrival of the new Allroad based on the latest A4
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