Premium compact SUV sales forecast to top 500,000 this year
The Audi Q3 gained further ground last year as Europe's top-selling premium compact SUV.
Sales of compact premium SUVs in Europe are poised to top half a million for the first time this year because of new model launches from brands such as BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz, according to forecasts.
The segment has expanded significantly since 2010, when about 270,000 units were sold. Analysts at IHS Automotive now predict sales will exceed 600,000 units in 2016.
They expect innovation in the segment will be a key driver of this growth. This includes the launch of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, the niche’s first seven-seat vehicle, as well as more economical versions of diesel models and more segment-busting variants such as coupe-styled SUVs and possibly even a cabriolet.
The compact premium SUV market is led by Audi’s Q3, with European sales up 3 percent last year to 76,078 units. It was followed by Volvo’s XC60, which grew by 35 percent to 62,650 sales over the same period. Mercedes added a second model in the segment last year, the A-class-based GLA, which achieved sales of 44,930 to rank seventh in the segment in less than a full year of availability in European markets.
Despite being around since 2008, the Audi Q5, which is the Q3’s big brother, managed to grow sales by 9 percent in 2014 to hold fourth place.
“Audi has done a lot to them [the Q3 and Q5], appealing to customers in terms of interiors, technology content, brand and styling,” IHS Automotive Principal Analyst Ian Fletcher told Automotive News Europe.