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Jaguar, Lexus to push Germans in key SUV segment

Jaguar and Lexus are using the Frankfurt auto show to send a message to their German rivals: the premium compact SUV segment is about to get even more competitive.

Jaguar will reveal its C-X17 concept, which reports say will spawn a rival aimed at the BMW X3 and Audi Q5. The move gives the British brand its first entry in the luxury SUV segment.

Lexus's LF-NX concept previews an SUV that will challenge the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Lexus doesn't have a vehicle in the premium compact SUV class.

The Q3 was Europe's top-selling premium compact SUV in the first half followed by the X1, X3 and Q5. The Range Rover Evoque rounded out the top five.

Mercedes, meanwhile, is using the show to debut its GLA, which is also aimed at the X1 and Q3. The GLA gives Mercedes its second model in the segment after the GLK, which ranked seventh in European sales during the first half.

With so much activity in the premium SUV class, it's safe to say that the segment, which accounted for 213,886 sales in Europe during the half, is poised to have a strong growth spurt in 2014 and beyond. You can also count on the premium SUVs to battle each other around the world.

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@crain.com -- Follow Douglas A. on Twitter: BolducANE2014

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