Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - 16

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE

‚ÄČ

AUTOMAKERS

Tough at the top
Mercedes S class, BMW 7 series face EV, crossover threat
NICK GIBBS

ngibbs@crain.com

S

ome of the biggest nameplates
among upper premium sedans are
suffering large sales losses in Europe
due to a combination of pressure from
new large SUVs and crossovers, a falloff
in demand for some electrified models
and the fact that more sporty body styles
are outpacing traditional limousines.
The Mercedes-Benz S class was still leading the segment in the region through
May despite sales dropping 22 percent, according to figures from market
researcher JATO Dynamics. Also losing
sales was the third-place BMW 7 series,
down 9 percent, while the Porsche Panamera fell to fifth after a poor five months
during which sales slid 31 percent.
One of the biggest losers, however, was
Tesla, which saw sales of the Model S
sedan drop 52 percent - likely a result
of buyers switching to the new, smaller
Model 3 sedan. As a result, the Model S,
the segment leader in 2017 and 2018,
dropped to sixth place.

Coupe styling
The most impressive growth in the segment came from the Mercedes CLS, a
coupe-styled four-door sedan that was
renewed in 2017. Its sales of 4,689
were up 76 percent and put the car into
second place in the segment. Sales of
Audi's A7, in contrast, fell 1.7 percent to
place it fourth ahead of the Panamera.
BMW, meanwhile, is phasing out its rival to the CLS, the 6-series Gran Coupe,
and replacing it with the 8-series version, which will go on sale in September.
The 8 series follows the lead of the Mercedes CLS in offering a four-door version
with a full five seats for the first time,
instead of just four. That is expected to
make the car more appealing to those
who might have previously gone for the
more traditional limousine.
"Today's four-door coupes give buyers
the sporty image and performance they
want with a usable back seat that is traditionally lacking in these flagship mod-

16

www.autonewseurope.com

The AMG GT sedan is the sportier entry in Mercedes' top-line range.
els," said Sam Fiorani, vice president of
AutoForecast Solutions.
Mercedes also expanded its offerings
in the segment under its AMG brand by
launching the four-door GT sedan - which
starts at 91,808 euros (about $102,900) in
its home market of Germany, slightly more
than the entry price of the S class. Sales
are impressive so far, reaching 2,220 to
place the AMG GT eight through May.
BMW is aiming for the same higher-end
customer with the 8-series Gran Coupe.
The price will start at 91,500 euros in its
home market of Germany, up from 84,900
euros for the four-door 6 series.

More EVs
The upper premium sedan segment is
fast expanding into the full-electric market. Starting next year, competitors for
the aging Tesla Model S will include the
Porsche Taycan four-door EV, while Jaguar will replace its slow-selling XJ with a
new battery-powered model. Audi is preparing to start production on the e-tron
GT, based on the Taycan platform, at the
end of 2020.
"In theory, EVs should work really well
in the segment," said Tim Urquhart, prin-

cipal analyst at IHS Markit. The larger
platform size has room for enough battery cells for a long range and automakers can charge higher prices to absorb
the cost of the cells," he said. Electric
cars also have the smoothness, torque
and low NVH [noise, vibration and harshness] that are valued highly by the customers in the segment.
The EVs' zero-emissions powetrains
will appeal to company directors who

SUPER PREMIUMS
Europe's top-selling upper-premium
sedans in the first 5 months of 2019;
change from 2018.
1. Mercedes S class
2. Mercedes CLS
3. BMW 7 series
4. Audi A7
5. Porsche Panamera
6. Tesla Model S
7. Audi A8
8. Mercedes AMG GT
9. Jaguar XJ
10. BMW 6-series GC

5,205
4,689
4,070
3,887
3,523
2,702
2,580
2,220
0,352
0,186

-22%
+76%
-8.9%
-1.7%
-31%
-52%
-6.1%
+18%
-38%
-82%

Source: JATO Dynamics

AUGUST 2019


http://www.autonewseurope.com

Automotive News Europe - August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Europe - August 2019

Contents
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - Intro
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - Cover1
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - Cover2
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - 3
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - Contents
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - 5
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - 6
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - 7
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Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - 37
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - 38
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - Cover3
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - Cover4
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - S1
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - S2
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - S3
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - S4
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - S5
Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - S6
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Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - S29
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Automotive News Europe - August 2019 - S32
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