The demise of the three-box saloon:
The rise of SUVs has historically meant a corresponding slide in conventional saloons. And although isolating sales of four-door saloons from those of hatchback and estate body styles is not easy, JATO’s figures suggest that trend continued globally, with the exception of China.
Three of the four main saloon/hatchback/estate segments in China actually expanded last year: mid-size (10% year-on-year growth), executive (14%) and luxury (109%). Only the compact segment decreased (-5%).
The opposite is true in America, where all four segments posted declines, and Europe, where both mainstream and premium compact and mid-size segments fell.
Luxury is buoyant – all thanks to China:
Mercedes-Benz S-Class - 72,613 sales - The great secret success story of global luxury car sales is Cadillac. Invisible in Europe, the storied US brand has three models in the global luxury top ten best- sellers list.
The explanation, according to JATO Dynamics, is the rapid growth in the number of billionaires in China.
Cadillac XTS - 60,980 sales - Mercedes’ mighty S-Class takes top spot, as always, but its lead over the Cadillac XTS narrowed last year.
When Lincoln is included, there are two American brands in the top five. Where are Rolls-Royce and Bentley? Of course, it’s all down to price and volume.
BMW 7 Series - 55,990 - More food for thought: there’s a case for including the Range Rover in this list – it would feature in the top three if it did. Also consider Jaguar, as it readies a new XJ saloon, which is expected to be pure electric. It would need to find 25,000-plus units to enter the top five.
Europe recovers: Germany top, UK falls:
Growing sales in Italy, Spain, Poland, France and, to some extent, Germany and France put Europe’s new car market back on track. Germany was top, with 3,432,928 cars sold. SUVs became the biggest-selling segment in 23 of 29 Western European markets, according to JATO, largely at the expense of MPVs, which lost 11% of market share.