US sales Q3 2017: Premium Large segment

Segment arrests its slide in Q3’17, thanks to new BMW 5-series and good performance from FWD modelsUS-sales-premium_large_car-segmentAfter consistently losing around 15% in sales each quarter since the beginning of 2016, the Premium Large Car segment finally rebounded a bit in the third quarter, and while it still hasn’t gone back to black, it got close with a 2% decline, the lowest from among all Premium Car segments. And while the segment is still likely to see its sales decline by double digits by the end of the year, driven mostly by rising popularity of crossovers, it is good to see that good new models like the BMW 5-series and Volvo S90 can still attract a lot of customers.

Highlights for Q3 2017

BMW 5-series
  • The Lexus ES remains the segment leader, with a 9% growth in Q3’17 reversing some of the double-digit loss in sales over the first half of the year
  • On the face of it the second-placed Mercedes-Benz E-class and third-placed BMW 5-series have had a similar year so far, but the truth is more complicated – while the E-class had a great start to the year, with 41% sales growth in the first quarter, it actually lost 20% of its sales in the last quarter; by comparison, the previous-generation 5-series lost 32% of sales in Q1’17, but more than made up for it with 48% sales growth in the last quarter
  • Sales of Tesla Model S fell again in the third quarter, confirming the fact that the model is suffering cannibalization from its Model X stablemate
  • The facelifted Cadillac XTS saw a remarkable 77% jump in sales in the latest quarter, bringing it into the black for the year, and alongside the Lexus ES, the growing Lincoln Continental and the surging Volvo S90/V90 (into the Top 10 now) confirming that not everyone in this segment is after a RWD, sports-oriented model
  • Sales of the Genesis G80 continue to disappoint, with the YTD sales being just a bit more than half of what its sale were at this time last year (when combined with its Hyundai Genesis pre-facelift name)
  • Other than the aforementioned Volvo S90 and the Infiniti Q70 (sales up just 3%), all other existing models lost sales so far this year, with the fall being the largest for the soon-to-be-replaced Mercedes-Benz CLS (sales down 66%), the aging Lexus GS (sales down 49%) and the underperforming-since-new Jaguar XF (sales down 39%) and Cadillac CTS (sales down 33%)
  • Against this backdrop, the relatively small fall in sales for the about-to-be-replaced Audi A7 and the just-facelifted Maserati Ghibli should be viewed as something of a success, especially in the face of much newer competitors
  • Finally, the new V90 Cross Country has had a rather timid start to its career compared to its S90/V90 sibling, especially when you consider its indirect predecessor XC70 sold almost 25,000 units in its best year

Note: “AP” designates models that are classified in the Alternative Power segment, presented here for comparison; 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

Photo credit: Car and Driver