News > Luxury car sales continue to accelerate

Luxury car sales continue to accelerate

 - 11/12/2017

The new year is still four weeks away but most premium carmakers with enough SUVs in their model lineup, have started celebrating early.

That's because from Audi and Mercedes to Cadillac and Infiniti, they've already surpassed 2016's total sales volumes with a month to spare.

Mercedes posted its best November figures in history -- 195,698 vehicles sold globally -- taking its year-to-date sales beyond the 2 million mark and past its total sales figures for 2016. And this record year is due to "Strong demand for the 2018 model year S-Class, SUV line-up and high-performance AMG GT models," said Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.

Despite having the most comprehensive model lineup -- from sub compact to bespoke limousines by way of supercars and commercial vehicles -- of any car company, 35% of all Mercedes clients (731,626) this year have thus far opted for a crossover or SUV.

And it's a similar story for Audi. It's the company's SUV range that's powering the brand forward, particularly in the US where its Q3, Q5 and Q7 have accounted for 51% (101883 vehicles) of its total (199534) sales in the region in the year to date.

Audi parent company VW has dedicated 2017 to rebuilding its reputation in the US, and to rebuilding its vehicle portfolio to reflect North American tastes, most notably with the new three-row Atlas SUV (built in America for America), and the move appears to be working. Year to date figures show that in the US, 42% of its customers have plumped for an SUV, helping the company achieve an 8.3% increase in year-on-year sales.

Another premium brand benefiting from the growing demand for luxury crossovers and SUV is Infiniti, which reported a 7.5% increase in sales in the US for November 2017 over November 2016.

"Through the end of November, we are already within close proximity of our total annual sales last year, which was a record for Infiniti in the US," said Infiniti Americas VP, Randy Parker.

Over the past several years the company has completely overhauled and extended its SUV lineup, ensuring it has a premium proposition in every sub-segment from compact to full size, and the move, which continued at the LA auto show with the launch of the new QX50 and QX80, appears to be paying dividends. This year, SUVs have accounted for 63% (86,632) of all vehicle sales in the US.

"It's clear that we will have another record year in 2017, making five straight years of sales increases," said Parker.

Even when looking at car-buying patterns among mass-market brands, the trend continues. Ford reported its best November in 17 years for SUV sales with demand up 13.4% in the US (that's 68,139 vehicles sold). While over at GM, it's a similar story with unprecedented demand for the Chevrolet Traverse, Cadillac XT5, and Buick Enclave.

In fact, the only premium carmaker that bucked the trend was Porsche. It too reported its best ever monthly sales figures in the US -- 5555 cars sold. However, it also reported a dip in demand for its Cayenne and Macan SUVs compared with November 2016.

Instead, it was huge demand for its sportscars, the Porsche 911, 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster that have driven it to a new US sales record. "[Our two-door sports cars] showed impressive double-digit growth versus last year," said Porsche North America's CEO Klaus Zellmer.


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