The BMW X5 was Europe’s most popular premium large SUV last year despite a 6.9% sales decline. A two-year slump in the demand for premium large SUVs in Europe is expected to end in 2019 as BMW and Audi launch new flagships and Mercedes-Benz replaces key models.
Sales in the segment fell 8.8 percent last year to 246,573 units, according to data from market researcher JATO Dynamics. Only two models, the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover, posted growth among SUVs in the sector’s top 10.
The segment continued to be led by the BMW X5, followed by the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC90. Land Rover was the top-selling automaker in the segment with a combined volume of 57,125 units, led by three models in the top 10: the Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Land Rover Discovery. BMW was second overall with a combined 45,437 sales of its X5 and X6. Mercedes was a close third with 45,269 sales of its multiple model families, according to JATO figures.
Despite the arrival of new models this year, the sector’s 2018 volume will fall again before rising by 8 percent in 2019 and pushing past 300,000 units in 2021, analyst firm LMC Automotive predicts.
One of the new models due this year is Audi’s Q8 flagship SUV. The Q8 will give Audi a sportier competitor in the large SUV sector alongside its Q7.
Mercedes is counting on a small boost from the arrival of its new-generation G class in the sector but LMC expects the bigger lift to come next year when the automaker debuts a new version of its top-selling GLE.
BMW will expand its presence in the segment with the forthcoming debut of the X7, a seven-seat flagship SUV that will start rolling off the assembly line at the automaker’s U.S. plant at the end of this year. The arrival of the new-generation X5 in 2019 will further boost BMW’s volume in the segment, LMC forecasts. Land Rover increased European sales of the Discovery by 28%, pushing the model to No. 6 in the premium large SUV sector from No. 9 in 2016.