Cars get larger and wider. They become big and luxury and really popular in some important markets. The E-Segment is the land of Germans who created the segment so many years ago. Now other car makers have their own model as this kind of cars is the perfect solution for the rising executive class who looks for a luxury sedan with enough room in the back seat when they are moving around making business. It’s the main target of E-Segment cars along with high income families that choose Station Wagon body type. All its members have in common their length, between 4.8 and 5 m and luxurious interiors with high quality materials. For some car makers is their top offer, but there is also one larger segment to be analyzed in the coming days, the F or G-Segment.
In 2011 around 2 million units were sold worldwide, which represent 3.3% of world’s market. It may not sound a big number but in terms of money it is certainly attractive as most of these cars are not cheap at all. In Europe E-Segment cars start at $40.000 €. In America there are two categories, the mainstream brands and the luxury ones, starting at US$27.000 for the first ones and US$45.000 for the other ones. By markets the US market is clearly the largest one: 766.000 units were sold in 2011 (6% of total market). In China, where new executive class is rising, around 300.000 units were delivered (but only represent 2.4% of the market). Meanwhile in South Korea 200.000 E-segment cars were sold, 13.7% (mostly Hyundai and Kia), and Germany, the land of Mercedes, BMW and Audi, 184.000 vehicles were sold, or 5.8%. It is also important to mention Northern Europe where Volvo’s SW are really appreciated (Sweden, 12.4%, Finland, 7% and Norway, 5.5%).
Fiat-Chrysler position within the segment is in some how poor. They only offer two different models: the Dodge Charger for America and the Lancia Thema for Europe (in America the Chrysler 300 version is considered D-Segment, but in Europe the Lancia version is positionated as E-Segment because of its luxury features, engines, size and price). Although is an old product (launched in 2006) the Charger continues to be successful in USA and Canada, being the second best selling car of the segment in 2011 in both markets. The car offers a nice mix of big american sedan (5.08 m), big engines (up to 6.1 liters and 432 hp) and good prices (starts at US$25.595), but is the opposite to fuel efficiency and lightness. Thanks to this product F-C Group could reach segment’s market shares of 9.2% in USA and 9.3% in Canada, not bad numbers (in the Middle East the car allows the group to have an average market share of 6.4%). Eventhough the group must accelerate the arrival of new generation because fuel efficiency is becoming an important sales topic and the car is getting old, while the rivals are re borning with Ford and its beauty Taurus and Chevrolet and its all new Impala, the best selling one. In the other hand there is the Thema or rebadged Chrysler 300. It was introduced in late 2011 but has not had the sales performance expected by the brand. According to Europe’s sales figures in the first quarter, if the trend continues, the Thema will sell only 2.400 units in the whole year, really far from 10.000 units Lancia is expecting to sell. After some bad experiences with its Thesis and Kappa, Lancia decided to import the 300 from Canada and offer as high class sedan with powerfull American engines. But there are so many problems with this car: first, the economic situation of the continent does not allow everybody to buy the Lancia especially when they can buy for the same money a German D-Segment sedan. Then comes the problems with Italian new taxes for expensive cars. And finally the lack of awareness the brand has outside Italy. Nevertheless the car must be understood as temporary car waiting for next all new generation, that will arrive thinking on both markets, America and Europe.
Below, the list with all E-segment cars available in the world: