Chart of the Day: America's Favorite Expensive Vehicles in 2015's First Six Months

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
chart of the day america s favorite expensive vehicles in 2015 s first six months

So many upper-crust products sit at the top of their respective automaker’s lineup and do little more than look pretty. They are flagships, technological showcases, standard bearers.

On the other hand, there’s the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with its base price of more than $95,000 in the United States. Flagship? Yes. Technological showcase? That, too. Standard-bearer? Of course. But the S-Class is also popular.

6.4% of the non-Sprinter sales produced by Mercedes-Benz USA come from the S-Class.

Granted, that’s down from 7.4 percent a year ago, but even that figure is skewed by the expansion of Mercedes-Benz’s already massive lineup. S-Class sales are also down 5.8 percent through the first half of 2015 after sales reached a seven-year high in 2014.

Regardless, no vehicle with a base price beyond $70,000 sells more often in America than the S-Class, which now features both a sedan and a coupe, formerly the CL-Class.

Incidentally, the next three best-selling vehicles on the list are SUVs. Mercedes-Benz’s own GL-Class would sit atop this list with 12,938 year-to-date sales, but GL pricing starts below $65K. That likely helps to explain some of the GL’s popularity.

Clearly then, this list doesn’t take into account costly versions of lesser vehicles, whether that be the $96K BMW M5 or a $71,415 GMC Yukon Denali XL 4×4. For one thing, sales figures for distinct trim levels aren’t made available by automakers. Additionally, there’s arguably a different level of prestige afforded to a car line that’s truly expensive in all variants. And what of the Tesla Model S? We still don’t receive reliable, monthly sales reports from Tesla, but estimates 11,900 year-to-date Model S sales, including a surge to 2,800 units in June alone. The Model S’s base price is now $76,200*.

* This chart and article were filed before Tesla Motors’ announcement of a new, base-model Model S, now priced at $71,200 with destination.

All base prices in chart include destination/freight/delivery.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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4 of 61 comments
  • Pragmatic Pragmatic on Jul 20, 2015

    What would be interesting to see (though maybe not worth the work) is total sales dollars per model (sales times base price) for a vehicle type. Say all sedans, or all small CUVs. Where are americans spending their money? Does an S-class pull more money than a 3-series?

  • VenomV12 VenomV12 on Jul 20, 2015

    I'd say a lot of the reason the Escalade does so well is that it really has no competition with its LWB model, not that it is the best. The Navigator is old and has no V8 anymore, so if you want the full fledged super long luxury SUV with 3 rows and a V8, the Escalade is it. The GL sells very very well and pretty much would suck up a major part of the Escalade sales if it had an LWB version that was as long as the ESV. Once the GL gets updated with an interior on par with the new S-Class, it will eat up even more of the Escalade SWB business.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jul 21, 2015

      But a full-size Cadillac CUV (which Cadillac is working on) would also sell very well - so it goes both ways (not everyone wants an SUV).

  • Jdt65724922 How can a Chrysler E-Class ride better than a Chrysler Fifth Avenue?
  • Lorenzo This series is epic, but I now fear you'll never get to the gigantic Falcon/Dart/Nova comparison.
  • Chris P Bacon Ford and GM have decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Odds are Chrysler/Cerberus/FCA/Stellantis is next to join in. If any of the companies like Electrify America had been even close to Tesla in reliability, we wouldn't be here.
  • Inside Looking Out China will decide which EV charging protocol will become world wide standard.
  • Chris P Bacon I see no reference to Sweden or South Carolina. I hate to assume, but is this thing built in China? I can't help but wonder if EVs would be more affordable to the masses if they weren't all stuffed full of horsepower most drivers will never use. How much could the price be reduced if it had, say, 200hp. Combined with the instant torque of an EV, that really is plenty of power for the daily commuter, which is what this vehicle really is.