Australia’s luxury vehicle market is showing signs of slowing down in 2017 after a few years of disproportionate sales growth and increased market penetration.
Key luxury brands such as Audi and BMW are both down by double digits this year — in an overall market down 2 per cent — after years of setting records, while growth for Mercedes-Benz has slowed to a comparative trickle.
This comes against a backdrop of mixed economic sentiment in which some organisations (such as Westpac) say consumer confidence is robust, while others (such as ANZ) say it’s plateauing or dropping.
Either way, the headline sales data on Australia’s key premium brands after the first quarter of the 2017 calendar year makes for interesting reading.
BMW has been hit hard with 15 of its 19 models dropping sales this year compared to Jan-Mar 2016, while Audi has seen declines on 11 out of 13 model lines sold across both years (the Ingolstadt brand was outsold by Land Rover in March).
Bucking the trend and showing upwards trajectories are the BMW 5 Series (new generation) and BMW X4, and the runout Audi Q5, due for replacement with a new generation car this June. The Audi Q2 has also added 389 units this year, incrementally.
Of course, after years of record-breaking growth, it gets harder to keep moving at the same clip, and periods of consolidation aren’t always a bad thing. It’s the figurative taking of a breath.
Mercedes-Benz continues to dominate the market thanks in part to its enormous range of passenger cars and SUVs, led by the C-Class that is the second most popular medium passenger vehicle after the Toyota Camry.
Yet even the Stuttgart marque has seen 13 of 22 relevant models sold over both years fall, and is being buoyed by in some part by new arrivals such as the new-generation C-Class coupe and E-Class, and the new-to-market GLC coupe.
It's a mixed bag for smaller-scale luxury brands. Down are Land Rover, Volvo, Mini and Alfa Romeo, while up are Lexus, Porsche, Jaguar, Infiniti and Maserati. See the full break-down below.
|LUXURY SALES JAN-MARCH|
(Commercial vehicles excluded)
Up 4.3 per cent
Down 15.4 per cent
Down 14.9 per cent
Land Rover/Range Rover
Down 3.5 per cent
Up 3.2 per cent
Up 1.8 per cent
Down 20.8 per cent
Down 1.7 per cent
Up 20.6 per cent
Up 49.2 per cent
Up 54.3 per cent
Down 17.7 per cent
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