Large luxury SUV sales continue to grow in Australia

It’s no secret that new car sales overall have been in the doldrums for a while now. As of June there have been 27 continuous months of declining new car sales, when compared with the corresponding month the year prior.

However, the sedanapocalypse is well and truly here, with large, luxury SUVs taking over. The segment was one of the few to experience sales growth in June (up 8.0 per cent in the Large $70,000-plus segment) in the year to date, even with COVID-19 forcing many people inside and to tighten the purse strings.

In June, compared to June 2019, all SUV ‘Upper Large’ vehicles costing more than $100,000 recorded a 22.4 per cent increase in sales. So, let’s look at a few of the key performers, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ (FCAI) June 2020 VFACTS report.

BMW X7

In the year to date, 445 BMW X7s have been sold, up 73.8 per cent on the same period in 2019. However, this is still a relatively new model following its local arrival in Australia in May 2019.

As BMW’s flagship SUV, the X7 tops the range at around $210,000 drive-away. For that you’ll get the full-spec M50i with a 4.4L twin-turbo petrol V8. This does 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.7 seconds, so you can transport the kids to soccer practice VERY quickly.

Audi Q7

As an aspirational competitor to the BMW X5, the Audi Q7 offers a lot at a slightly cheaper price tag. In the year to date, the Q7 has recorded a massive 393.4 per cent spike in sales. And for good reason – a new model has just arrived.

The top-line model tops out at about $122,000 before on-road costs, and for that you get a turbo-diesel V6. With a massive 600Nm on tap, the 50 TDI goes 0-100km/h in a claimed 6.5 seconds, which is markedly slower than the equivalent X5 but you’re comparing apples with oranges.

BMW X6

Marketed as the ‘sportier’ brother to the X5, the X6 sold 344 units by the end of June – up 196.6 per cent on last year. A new model did launch recently which likely helped.

The X6 is the ultimate yuppies’ choice with room to grow with a family and is one of many models to join the ‘SUV coupe’ craze – even though many still have four doors. By the time you drive it off the lot the top-line model will cost more than $160,000.

The ever-so-slightly more svelte body means the X6 M50i goes 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.3 seconds.


Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

As a direct rival to the X5, the GLE continues on with the SUV craze, and arguably goes one-better. In the year to date, there have been 1637 GLE models sold – a 369.1 per cent increase on last year.

The top of the line GLE 63 AMG comes in at just under $230,000 drive-away, with a 5.5L twin-turbo V8 engine on board. A massive 430kW and 760Nm is enough to get you moving from 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds. This is frankly crazy for a vehicle that weighs well over two tonnes.

Other notable mentions:

Rolls-Royce Cullinan – Up 14.3 per cent year to date (8 units sold)
Volvo V90 CC – Up 333.3 per cent year to date (39 units sold)
Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class – Up 267.2 per cent year to date (503 units sold)

Overall, luxury SUVs’ marketshare is quite small, but is increasing. Even as new vehicle sales dwindle, those with the cash to spend on a large, expensive SUV keep coming – rain, hail, or pandemic.

Harrison is a finance journalist with a keen interest in cars, the car loan market, and industry rumours. He loves 1980s BMWs, and persists with driving a manual even while living in inner-city Brisbane.