There are, in most cases, two reasons U.S. sales of many high-profile luxury cars posted severe year-over-year sales declines in calendar year 2015.
Consider the Mercedes-Benz E-Class as a prime example. U.S. sales of the E-Class tumbled by a quarter in 2015, falling by nearly 17,000 units to a sub-50K total since 2009, when U.S. auto sales were falling fast in the midst of a recession.
Reason #1 for the decline: the current E-Class has aged; consumers typically turn in large numbers to more recently redesigned models than to older models.
Reason #2: Legions of potential E-Class buyers aren’t potential E-Class buyers after all. At Mercedes-Benz, as the M-Class transitioned into the GLE-Class, combined sales of this alleged E-Class “equivalent” jumped 14% to 53,213 units in 2015. Not since 2008 has the M-Class even come close – and it didn’t, not quite – to catching the E-Class. But the tide has turned.
Why do we pay such attention to the E-Class? It’s a hugely popular luxury car, even now; Mercedes-Benz has finally revealed a new E-Class; and the E-Class is emblematic of a trend across the sector.
There were dramatic exceptions to the trend in 2015, of course. At the lower end, the Audi A3 is more popular than ever. Mercedes-Benz’s own new C-Class surged in 2015. Lower-volume nameplates like the Infiniti Q70, Lexus GS, and Volvo S80 managed measurable increases in 2015, as well.
But the E-Class, like America’s top-selling premium brand car from BMW, the 3-Series, is simply not selling nearly as well now as it once did. In the case of the E-Class, an all-new model may not change that fact in a market that’s increasingly less interested in conventional sedans.
You can click any model name in the tables below to find historical monthly and yearly U.S. auto sales data. You can also select a make and model at GCBC’s Sales Stats page. These tables are now sortable, so you can rank luxury brand cars any which way you like. Suggestions on how GCBC should break down segments can be passed on through the Contact page.