The European midsize premium segment grew at a near double-digit pace in the first half because of new models from Audi, Jaguar and BMW. The sector is forecast to remain hot for years to come, according to LMC Automotive.
Six-month volume in the sector rose 9 percent to 302,798 units, according to JATO Dynamics, as the Audi A4, Jaguar XE and BMW 4-series Gran Coupe boosted demand. The strong first half led LMC to predict that full-year volume will reach 729,000 units, a gain of 11 percent, and expand to 750,000 in 2017, giving models such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 series a 4.6 percent share of the total European market. Sales will rise to 760,000 by 2020 but then remain relatively flat, LMC believes.
In the first six months of 2016, the new A4 rose to No. 1 in the segment from No. 3 during the same period last year by passing the Mercedes-Benz C class and BMW 3 series. Sales of the A4 rose 29 percent during the period. Demand for the C class declined by 12 percent compared with the first half of 2015, dropping it to third from No. 1 in the segment. The 3 series remained No. 2 in the segment with a 2.4 percent rise in sales during the first half.