We look closer at European luxury car sales
Looking at European sales of the 7 Series, A8, XJ and S Class since 1997 (figures courtesy Left-Lane.com) in chart form is revealing. Of course, each brand’s sales pick up when a new model is released, but the S Class jump with its last three model launches is proportionally huge compared with the others. But as the model becomes established, it sinks to quite similar levels as the A8 and 7 Series. Why is this? One explanation may be the private hire trade. In this a Mercedes is the default choice and, as I heard from one guy who runs his own car, clients don’t like being picked up in a previous model – as soon as the new model becomes available he puts in his order for a car that lasts him 7 years.
But this chart underlines the fact that Jaguar isn’t the only loser. In Europe all sales, even Mercedes are on a downward trend (assuming the current S Class rise shown from 2013 launch will soon reverse) and, in fact, the fall of the 7 Series is steeper than the XJ’s, though an imminent new model will presumably give a respite. Of the four, Audi seems to have the least volatile sales profile, though the rather forgettable third series A8 doesn’t seem to have registered with buyers as the first two did. Actually, the peaky profile of S Class sales must be quite hard for Mercedes. They need to gear up to churn them out as quickly as possible, then sales go into a relatively steep fall. Still, the others should have problems like that.
Jaguar traditionalists, of course, will point to the end of the last Century when, for one sweet moment, Jaguar were outselling both Mercedes and Audi with a car that was arguably, in essence, 20 years old – if you take into account when it should have been launched. But the obvious answer for anyone wanting to get Mercedes-like sales figures is to build a Mercedes under licence.