The SUV craze has also encompassed Europe, with the Old Continent expected to have rising sales of compact premium SUVs as consumers feel more confident to spend cash on big-ticket items.

Deliveries for compact SUVs in the luxury segment are now forecasted above the half million mark for the first time, as buyers are drawn by the flurry of new model introductions from brands such as BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz. Analysts at IHS Automotive believe sales could top 600,000 units next year, after the segment rose tremendously since 2010 – when sales were at around 270,000 units. The industry experts believe that innovation is a key driver of the increase – for example Britain’s Land Rover is launching the new Discovery Sport, the niche’s first seven-seat model. The niche could also yield new “niches” within itself, such as new variants of coupe-styled SUVs and maybe even a cabriolet.

To date, the compact premium SUV segment is dominated by Audi’s Q3, with European deliveries rising by 3 percent in 2014 to 76,078 autos. The closest pursuer is the Volvo XC60, which jumped 35 percent to 62,650 units in the mean time. Mercedes is also coming off strong in the segment after adding the A-class-based GLA, which had deliveries of 44,930 (No. 7) without even being sold for a full year. Audi has reasons to celebrate the segment, as the other entry in the niche – the older (since 2008) Q5 managing to keep fourth place last year after a 9 percent surge.

Via Automotive News Europe




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