By on May 16, 2016

2016 BMW 340i

America’s record-breaking new vehicle sales volume in calendar year 2015 was powered in part by better-than-average growth from premium automakers.

Yet after BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Acura, and Cadillac all failed to match the rate of industry-wide expansion in 2015, the first four months of 2016 have revealed that even more top-level premium brands are fading as the market for new vehicles continues to expand. U.S. auto sales are up 3.4 percent in 2016. Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, BMW (the three top-ranked premium auto brands), Acura, Cadillac, and Infiniti posted declining sales in the first-third of 2016.

Largely at fault are the passenger car divisions at each brand, but a number of high-volume SUVs/crossovers that are failing to match last year’s first-third sales pace, as well.

BMW’s cars, for example, plunged 22 percent so far this year, but BMW’s best-selling utility vehicle, the X5, also lost more than 2,000 sales over the course of 2016’s first four months. At Cadillac, where car volume is down 15 percent in 2016, Escalade growth has stalled and the SRX’s transition (into the just-arriving XT5) resulted in a 15-percent year-over-year drop for Cadillac’s best-selling model. At Acura, a 3-percent car sales decline translates to 521 lost sales over the course of four months and MDX sales are down by 2,718 units.

2016 Lexus GS350 red

Supply issues, recalls, and significant overhauls all work together, sometimes in concert with changing consumer tastes, to bring certain models down. In 2016, so great are their declines that premium brands have lost market share thanks to a modest sector-wide decline in sales.

These are the 15 most rapidly declining premium brand autos in the United States through the first four months of 2016. We’ve excluded from contention vehicles selling fewer than 1,000 copies per month to avoid the typically sharp fluctuations of low-volume vehicles.

Rank Vehicle April 2016 YTD April 2015 YTD % Change Actual Lost Sales
#1
Lexus GS 4,990 7,615 -34.5% 2,625
#2
Volvo XC60 5,102 7,754 -34.2% 2,652
#3
BMW 3 Series 18,781 27,086 -30.7% 8,305
#4
Audi A6 4,977 6,951 -28.4% 1,974
#5
Lexus IS 11,472 15,254 -24.8% 3,782
#6
Mercedes-Benz S-Class 5,496 7,065 -22.2% 1,569
#7
Cadillac ATS 6,254 7,943 -21.3% 1,689
#8
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class & GLS-Class 6,871 8,530 -19.4% 1,659
#9
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 9,005 10,896 -17.4% 1,891
#10
Cadillac CTS 5,308 6,362 -16.6% 1,054
#11
Cadillac SRX 15,818 18,684 -15.3% 2,866
#12
Mercedes-Benz C-Class 23,484 27,608 -14.9% 4,124
#13
Acura MDX 16,689 19,407 -14.0% 2,718
#14
BMW 5-Series 14,164 16,359 -13.4% 2,195
#15
BMW X5 13,814 15,846 -12.8% 2,032

Though it’s ranked third on this list, the BMW 3 Series’ 8,305-unit decline is most notable. 3 Series excluded, BMW USA’s sales are still down this year, but only 2 percent. 3 Series included, BMW volume is down by more than 9 percent to begin 2016.

Numerous 3 Series rivals have also taken harsh tumbles. The Lexus IS, Cadillac ATS, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class — the latter is America’s top-selling premium brand passenger car this year — fell 25 percent, 21 percent, and 15 percent, respectively, in the first four months of 2016. Combined, the 3 Series, IS, ATS, C-Class, Volvo S60 and V60, BMW 4-Series, and Acura TLX lost 24,000 sales already this year.

2016 Cadillac CTS grey

Up a notch in size, the bigger brethren are also losing U.S. sales volume. The Acura RLX, Infiniti Q70, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class join with members of this group — Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, BMW 5 Series, top-ranked Lexus GS — in selling less often this year than last.

A number of Mercedes-Benz S-Class rivals also posted sharp declines in early 2016, but they did not generate the kind of volume required to make this ignominious list. Combined sales of the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS, and Porsche Panamera are down 18 percent.

Less deserving of entry are two SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac. With the GL-replacing Mercedes-Benz GLS more available, April sales jumped 36 percent to 2,991 units. But scarcity skewed the year-to-date tally in March, when GL/GLS sales fell 64 percent to only 858 units.

Meanwhile, the Cadillac SRX is also in a transition phase. Its replacement, the XT5, produced its first 304 sales in April. In 2015, sales of the SRX shot up 29 percent to best-ever results of nearly 70,000 sales as Cadillac began clearance of the departing model.

[Image Sources: BMW, Toyota, General Motors]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, 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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150 Comments on “The Premium Plunge: Sales of the Most Popular Luxury Cars in America Are Nosediving...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    It’s the economy, stupid.

    Oh and this couldn’t be more ironic today:

    “In order to keep the campaign on message, Carville hung a sign in Bill Clinton’s Little Rock campaign headquarters that read:

    Change vs. more of the same
    The economy, stupid
    Don’t forget health care.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_the_economy,_stupid

    • 0 avatar

      It’s hard to afford a luxury car when just about everything is outpacing “inflation”.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      You forgot…

      Don’t Forget that little squealin billionaire Texas businessman Ross Perot

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      Three things are limiting traditional sedan sales:

      * slow economic growth

      * a mature market for sedans

      * SUV interiors can be pretty comfy these days.

      Going further, I would bet that sedans in general have already reached peak sales, i.e. Corolla and Camry.

    • 0 avatar

      I just love watching “economic experts” trying to figure out why:

      “Americans aren’t buying”

      “teenagers aren’t buying cars”

      “Apple stock is down”

      IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID.

      Your jobs are in ASIA and there’s nothing left for the low-end beyond WELFARE, JAIL and a BULLET.

      Add to that: CROSSOVERS CROSSOVERS CROSSOVERS.

      I made videos of the Levante, Model X and My new Nissan Rogue this weekend.

      Crossovers just check all the boxes.

      INTERIOR SPACE BABY.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The Cadillac ATS barely outsells the Mercedes Benz flagship S Class.

      The Cadillac CTS sells in FEWER numbers than the Mercedes Benz S Class.

      Somebody please provide me with a new adjective to describe how FUBAR Cadillac’s executives, planners, and strategies are, for I’ve run out.

      • 0 avatar

        S-class is the ultimate limo-luxury-livery fleet order.

        There’s a lot of money out there, but it’s concentrated in the rich and companies.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Once again, the previous regime at Cadillac severely screwed up the packaging/passenger space of the ATS and CTS, as well as not developing the Alpha platform to be suitable for crossover duty.

        Nonetheless, the CTS is now outselling the Lexus GS and with a higher ATP (and that’s even with another sedan, the XTS, competing at the same price-point).

        Funny how you aren’t harping on low GS sales, or for that matter, the S Class also outselling the GS, A6, Q70, XF, etc.

        With the CTS and XTS, Cadillac YTD has sold 12,702 luxury sedans in the mid-price segment.

        Lexus has sold 4,990 (40% of what Cadillac has sold in that price segment), Infiniti only 2,110 and Acura a paltry 487.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Cadillac also has 933 dealers while most of its competitors number around 300 nationally (I believe Lexus has 230 or thereabouts). If we are talking sold units per dealer, the ratios are about the same between Cadillac and Lexus, but Cadillac does lead Infiniti by some margin but nor nearly as much as you imply.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Of the 933 Cadillac dealerships, only about 200 are standalone in the top 80 metro markets which do the vast bulk of luxury auto sales.

            The others are much smaller dealerships affixed to a Buick/GMC or Chevy dealership in more rural areas where luxury sedans aren’t exactly in demand (something like the Escalade, otoh…).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Some Lexus dealers would also be part of larger conglomerates which could even include GM dealers. If you sampled say the Cadillac dealers of Philadelphia vs the Lexus dealers of Philadelphia, it is conceivable Cadillac cars outsell the Lexus but the reasons wouldn’t necessarily be because Cadillac sells the better product. Having worked with GM shops, I know credit standards can be a little more fast and loose than the Lexus counterpart, and I also know Cadillac incentives tend to be more generous than Lexus typically offers.

            I think to really make the conclusion you imply, one would have to sample major markets where all dealers have a presence and see how they stack up against each other vs raw national sales. My .02.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Same holds true for GM dealerships which can also be part of conglomerates.

            Lexus and the Germans have enough dealerships to cover the vast majority of the luxury market (major metro centers).

            Only advantage Cadillac has is with having smaller dealerships in rural areas where there isn’t much demand for luxury sedans.

            Anyhow, regardless – the whole point is that the much maligned CTS (in sales, not reviews) is now outselling the GS.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      For BMW in particular, if they actually built a 3-series, not a sad shell of what a 3-series once represented and was, and didn’t take the other Euro maker approaches of everything is optional, they actually might be selling more.

      There is a huge list of alternatives today for $35K to $55K. I don’t buy it’s the “economy stupid” as it seems plenty of buyers have $50K to plunk down on near luxury pick ’em up trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Auto sales are still up near recent highs and new car transaction prices continue to increase (for April 2106 – 2% over April of 2015).

      But prospective buyers these days have increasingly moved to crossovers, SUVs and pick-ups which don’t necessarily entail luxury brands as more and more buyers these days want something with “all the fixings” (esp. safety and convenience) instead of buying a modestly equipped luxury model.

  • avatar
    JReed

    Having just shopped for and purchased a new car, I wonder how the technology creep to lower priced vehicles will affect the luxury brands in general moving forward. I looked at $70k Mercedes that did not have a backup camera that comes standard on a $17k Honda Fit. I purchased a new car that has a better feature set overall for a third of the Mercedes price. It doesn’t have the three pointed star on the hood, but it does have radar cruise control, Android Auto, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights, blind spot monitoring, etc.

    It used to be that luxury cars gave you some luxury features unavailable at lower price points, as well as a durability reputation well above the rest of the field. Now I can get the features I want at significantly reduced price point, comparable reliability, and none of the stigma associated with driving a luxury brand among my peers. Maybe if the luxury brands lead the way in autonomous driving (as Mercedes and Volvo seem to be), buyers will again have a technological reason to pay the premium.

    • 0 avatar

      I think you and I are not the buyers luxury vehicles target. We’re out for the tech, fun and reliability; folks buying these are often after comfort and intangibles.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      +1. If you look at the top trim levels of the mainstream brands, there’s not that much of an improvement in the luxury branded vehicle. No need to pay the premium.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Exactly. I am absolutely the demographic targeted by the luxury brands, and yet I traded my 3 series in on a Mazda. The value simply isn’t there in the luxury brands. Normal vehicles have closed the gap quite a bit.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          This and same, my wife and I would absolutely be in the demographics for luxury car ownership – there simply is really no need with what near luxury and mainstream brands offer.

    • 0 avatar
      galloping_gael

      This.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      Except in certain cities where a subset of the population must drive around in a status symbol, most people who buy cars in the U.S. are happy to have something more utilitarian and save money on initial costs. This is especially true today, when (for example) a car like the Subaru Outback or Forester can offer standard and optional features that would have been seen only on “luxury” or “premium” cars not many years ago.

      Isn’t this the simplest explanation for any sales decline like those listed in the chart?

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      If anything, you are getting all the features with BETTER reliability than the luxury brands, at a fraction of the price.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      That’s exactly the point, you look at a fully loaded Honda Accord, that’s a damn nice car with basically all the tech and features you get in $80,000 plus cars, hell the fully loaded Civic has a boatload of tech and features, meanwhile BMW and Mercedes are trying to nickle and dime you for things on a car that is $70,000 plus.

    • 0 avatar

      I had the same doubts but then I watched Alex’s review of S-class that made it very clear that it offers feature content that nothing can touch among the luxury bottom-feeders like Cadillac, let alone Fit.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      I think you nailed it.

      Luxury sedans aren’t the status symbols they used to be (SUVs are) and as companies iron out the ‘fun to drive’ aspects of their cars, they get more and more like the ‘best in class’ regular cars.

      I drive a Lexus LS430 and I like the way it drives more than any other car I’ve driven (except for S classes with ABC). It drives great – exactly how as top of the line Toyota should drive.

      But the new Civic is incredibly close. It’s quiet enough. It’s fast enough. It’s roomy enough. But its MSRP is like 22.5 or 23.5 for a turbo with honda sensing and carplay/android auto.

      The idea that I could almost double my milage, get great safety tech, while keeping my 6.5 second 0-60 and spacious interior is astonishing at any price. But all that for a car that’s 1/3rd as much as my car when it was new? that’s mind blowing. And if I want all the niceties – rain sensing wipers, heated rear seats, ect. the civic is like $25k or 27k.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The Civic is available with heated rear seats!?

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The Elantra has been for quite some time.

          • 0 avatar
            yamahog

            That’s what Hyundai says but I don’t buy it. It might be irrational but I got burnt by an Elantra.

            I was 16 and had worked for a few years caddying and as a grocery bagger boy, saving up a princely sum of about $5,000 and was intending to by a Nissan 300zx. My mom was worried I’d tokyo drift into an oil tanker and explode upon impact. So I gave my parents my $6000 and they added their own money, and I got a new, 2007 Hyundai Elantra GLS with a 5 speed and a/c. It was good for the first 12k miles but then it went to hell. It rattled worse than my friend’s 1998 firebird (and I hate rattles so that was irksome). The transmission didn’t down shift in subzero temperatures (even after I put in redline gear fluid), the ABS pump blew up, the water pump died and luckily I noticed before the car overheated, the amplifier worked intermittently and the Hyundai dealer was the personification of a jive turkey about servicing the car when stuff broke.

            We sold it with 30k miles on it (luckily we didn’t take too big of a hit because we got a scorching deal on the car new).

            I just don’t see myself ever owning a Hyundai out of warranty. I’m sure they’re fine compared to Chryslers. But Hyundai is never going to make a car that’s as well-built as a comparable Toyota. In my experiences, toyotas with 150k miles have the same amount of rattles as my Hyundai with 15k miles had. Toyotas handle sub-zero temperatures much better than Hyundais (and everything except GMs), and I can live with Toyota’s dumb suspension calibration. Hyundai still can’t match springs with dampeners, their geometry is fine but the cars aren’t predictable enough in low traction situations.

            I like the features they put on the cars but their engineers should spend more time behind the wheel and less time behind the computer.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I remember in 08, riding in my coworker’s little tiny Kia Morning – I think that had heated rear seats on it.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Heck the Kia Soul has heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats. Has for a few years.

    • 0 avatar
      tbp0701

      I have similar thoughts. I last went shopping for a new car in 2012. I tried out the “entry-level luxury” cars from BMW, Acura, Infiniti and Audi, then I bought the least expensive car I tried, a Mazda 3. It definitely has more road noise and less leather than upper end brands, but there aren’t many other downsides to my spending a whole lot less. (And doing so was also a nice justification to blow some money on a couple guitars and a digital piano). Overall I’ve been very happy with the Mazda. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s considered an “economy car,” especially as I owned both a Pinto and Chevette in my school days.

      Edit: Also, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who noticed things like a folding rear seat or passthrough, not-terrible front seats, not-terrible audio system, and a host of other things often come standard in midrange and even many economy cars but are all fairly pricey ass-ons among the high end brands.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Yeah, I have to wonder if ‘compacts’ are killing midsize sedans.

        A modern Civic/Corolla/Cruze/Mazda3 have the interior volume of early 2000s midsize sedans and are about the size of mid 90s midsize sedans.

        low twenty thousands buys you a very well equipped car that’s about as frugal and reliable as you can get. They all get ~40 mpg freeway, are quiet, and can fit 4 large male adults in relative comfort.

        I can see why the obese / mobility impaired / people who deal with carseats buy CUVs, but if you’re just trying to get around, keep money in your bank, and listen to some bluetooth audio while you sit in traffic, the new compacts are great cars.

        They’re light enough that they drive pretty well, and they’re well-equipped.

        Heck, look at us. You cross shopped luxury brands and probably discovered the Mazda was more fun to drive and less stressful to own than any BMW ever could be. Beyond reliability, you don’t have to worry so much about parking a mazda in a bad neighborhood as much as you have to worry about a BMW.

        Heck, I daily drive a Lexus that has an inflation adjusted retail price of $75k, I’ve been through the car with a fine tooth comb and in some ways it’s better than when it left the factory, and when I get in a Mazda3 I think ‘this has excellent dampening and rebound control’. And when I got in a civic I thought ‘this thing has some PEP! and carplay!’ and when I got a string of Corollas as rentals I thought ‘this is as stress free and bland to drive as my big booty Toyota at home’ but they get ~38 mpg without even trying and my car gets 27 mpg with every trick in the book (low friction synthetic oil, ethanol free gas, highly inflated narrow tires, ect.)

        Modern compact/midsize cars are the reward for being a crafty consumer. I think the new accord and mazda 6 drive better than my dinan-suspended e36 328i ever did.

        In many ways, CUVs made this possible. Now that the beckys and pauls that tap their brakes for every corner in the road buy CR-Vs and Explorers, the manufacturers are free to make the midsizers drive well and accelerate hard.

        In my ideal world, ‘compacts’ would become the cheap people movers and mid-sizers would be the sport sedans. But with cars like the 1.5 civic and Mazda3, you can have your cake and eat it too.

        • 0 avatar
          tbp0701

          yamahog – The Mazda genuinely surprised me with how engaging and well thought out it was. It didn’t match the 328i I test drove, but it wasn’t far behind. (And I think the Mazda 3 is larger, inside and out, than a 1990 Accord I had).

          One thing that particularly bothered me about the BMW was the lack of a place to put a spare should I want to ditch the run flats. And on the roads where I live, even run-flats are likely to leave you stuck. So along with all the visions of BMW awesomeness and fun I imagined, I also had a one of calling my dad on Thanksgiving to tell him I would be late as I had a flat and was awaiting a tow truck. Should something like that ever occur my dad would probably end up hospitalized over the thought of putting such a useless human into the world.

          So I picked the Mazda. An upside was that, in the parking garage near my last job, I could easy pick out my oddly smiling car amidst all the silverblack BMWs and Audis.

          Another thought: Maybe luxury cars have reached a stage where watches were after quartz became standard. No one needed a complicated marvel of meticulous engineering anymore as inexpensive technology was even more accurate. So they had to focus instead on being a status symbol and/or for those who appreciate “the finer things.”

      • 0 avatar
        tbp0701

        My typo was unintentional. Add-ons. Eesh.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      This right here. A stripped out TLX gives me nothing that a loaded Accord EX-L does at roughly the same price. The Touring is even better, undercutting the cheapest TLX V6 by $1000 and offering significantly more feature content.

      The calculus gets more complicated but still leaning toward the mainstream brand when you consider that the Luxury car and similarly sized/optioned crossover are roughly the same price. Since cars seem to be nosediving, one can only assume that mainstream high-trim crossovers are taking up a portion of the increase as well.

      It’s getting to the point that I think the only reason to get a luxury brand over a mainstram one is the image portrayed, because there is a fairly large supply of still decent used Miatas and E46 BMWs for the people who want to drive something fun on the side.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        If Honda offered SH-AWD and appear packages on the Accord, CRV, and Pilot they could kill Acura overnight and hear nary a whimper. Badge the NSX as a Honda and bag ’em up.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Not really.

          Acura dropped SH-AWD for a simpler/cheaper AWD system on the RDX b/c the majority of buyers were not willing to pay a premium, as well as adding a FWD MDX due to consumer demand.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      We just finished shopping for a new people hauler, and this exact question came up. Was it worth it to get the lux equivalent of what we’re targeting?

      In the end, it was between a Honda Pilot and an Acura MDX amongst the models which fit our needs and suited the tastes of the missus. Comparably equipped, the two were within spitting distance of each other in pricing. But the MDX had a additional year of warranty, better AWD system, better resale, better NVH, better materials, better dealership experience / badge, supposedly better reliability according to various sources, and depending on your location better pricing than the Honda because the Honda model came out almost a year after the MDX. So we went with the MDX. In this case, it made sense to pay a tad more (I think it was just a few percent more) for the lux/premium version.

    • 0 avatar
      Rudolph

      Half the price of current M-Bs is for the three-pointed stars •

    • 0 avatar
      lemko

      True. I have a Toyota Avalon Limited which has just about all the features one would find in a Lexus for a fraction of the price. Heck, there are so many features on cars nowadays and I’d hardly miss them if they weren’t there as I’d never use them.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    sure part of it is the economy but also a big part is SUV’s have become the lux car to be seen in. I am mazed how many range rovers I see in my train station parking lot , a few years ago they would have been BMW 5 and 7 series. The volvo xc90 seems to have replaced the MDX as well for a few folks I know.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Creeping arthritis determining luxury sales?

      Who else still has the money?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Related: My aging relatives in AZ just changed out their ~2010 Tacoma 4×4 for a new Kia Soul, because it was easy to get in and out of and had nice visibility.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Luxury SUVs are a better value compared to luxury sedans in most cases. For example when I bought my Q7, if I wanted the same level of equipment in an A6/E-Class/5series, it would have cost about $15k more and given me less interior and cargo room.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            That was the interesting thing I found too – you’re getting E-class equipment in the ML-class, but at a noticeable discount.

          • 0 avatar
            johnxyz

            Thanks Mandalorian / onxytape,

            Huh…. I thought just the opposite would be the case, whereby the Mercedes, BMW and Audi SUV’s would price out higher for similar equipment versus the related sedan. I thought the Germans would base their pricing model similarly to the Big 3 and the Japanese manufactuers in which the SUV’s always costs more – much more than sedans/coupes.

            Any advice / recommendations on good values in used / CPO Merc, BWW or Audi SUV’s? Any specific models and years you recommend? Which to avoid? Thanks.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    What decline?

    If you add-up YTD on the 5 major European premium brands (Audi, BMW, JLR, Mercedes, Volvo), sales are up, slightly.

    What you are seeing is a small change in brand preferences among premium shoppers. I’m sure some of that is short-term (new model supply, incentives), and some of it will stick in the long term (SUV percentage, although all brands now offer SUVs).

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Tim has a tendency to make a mountain out of mole hill at times.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy Cain

        When U.S. passenger car sales are down 5% but sales of passenger cars at premium brands are down 15% – or 52,000 units over the course of only four months – we’re going to cover that story on TTAC. Particularly when car sales at the eight top sellers of premium cars – BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Audi, Cadillac, Acura, Infiniti, Lincoln – are decreasing. I see no molehill. Fortunately for most premium automakers, there’s no mountain in sight, either, because in most cases, their highly profitable SUV/crossover sales are rising almost as fast as their car sales are falling.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    JReed and seth1065 hit the nails on the head. We are pumping out more full sized SUV’s in our mix than we ever have since MAP shut down to retool for Focii.

    When you can get heated/cooled leather seats and 2nd row heated seats with a big @ss moon roof and all the tech bits in a Expedition, why would you buy a Lincoln Navigator?

    Granted, the Navigator now gets better fit and finish attention, but nobody knows that. I guarantee that if that was a known selling point, you’d see customers buy into that exclusivity. I can just imagine the ladies yaking on the putting green at the local country club bragging about their Lincoln in some Maude Lebowski accent: “My car received a thorough quality audit and a show room quality paint finish.”

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      tresmonos,
      People are looking at value. Why not buy a Camry, Accord, Mazda, Subaru or even a Altima. The same can be stated for most any consumer good. This is why we buy Chinese, that all whine about. The price for what you get is quite good.

      Like all manufacturing computers are the reason behind this. Basically the same software is designing a 3 Series or an Accord. The differences is minimal between these vehicles in comparison to years gone by when humans designed vehicles.

      Why should a Camry not be nearly as good as a MB, Audi or BMW? Electronic bling is cheap. I remember when a radio/cassette, A/C and power windows denoted luxury. Now even the cheapest hack has better than this.

      The above also can be attributed to the loss of jobs moreso than the whining individuals blaming Mexico and China. China also has lost over 30 million manufacturing jobs in the last decade.

      Robotics, computer designs, AI will rule our futures. So, most everthing we buy quality wise should improve. The more complex the consumer good the greater reduction in price.

      The simpler items will not reduce in price as much.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I’m curious if perhaps they are a victims of their own success in some ways. They (BMW for sure) have leased so many cars in the past five years that used 3 & 5 series are fairly attractive in price. Could it be that some new car buyers are going the used route to save 25-35k but essentially getting the same car?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      And there have been no significant updates to the cars in that time. Look at the 3-series. If you told most of those badge hounds that a 2005 325i was a brand-new 3-series, most of them would believe you. The E90 and F30 just look too similar.

      BMW’s solution it to change the nomenclature, rather than the car. Oh, you bought a 328? Well don’t try to pass if off as new, because BMW changed the badge on the trunk to 330. And definitely don’t buy a 330 badge on Ebay, because that would make it too easy to fool everyone.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      That $30,000 price point and up is right where Cadillac/Buick lead everyone by about 50,000 units

  • avatar

    Some premium models have been around for a while and are past the 12 to 18 months of peak demand. Others are on the way out like the SRX, while the march towards the “utility” version of the comparable model continues.

    The 7 Series is being replaced by a new model, 3 series are being cannibalized by the 4, CLA’s are morphing into GLA’s.

    Its a brave new world, come out with a new model, capture as many opportunistic customers as possible that are attracted by the brand, 18 months later come out with another new model to create a longer chain reaction and capture more opportunistic buyers.

    Lose 10 of the previous, gain 13 of the new still ahead by 3.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    I think it is a combo of the fact that many previous ‘luxury’ features are now in a Kia Forte and a lot of buyers will spend their $45K to get a loaded Pilot Elite vs a MDX to get the most bang for the buck i.e. ALL the tech they THINK they need.

    A lot of the cache of lux brands vs a ‘standard’ brand doesn’t mean as much anymore…and some people realize if I drive a 7-series just to have a 7-series, many of my friends and neighbors may just think I’m a d-bag…I still see people everyday driving a crappy ass GLA just so they can say they have a Mercedes-Benz but on the flip side, more and more people care less about the badge.

    • 0 avatar
      CarnotCycle

      I second this observation; especially in regards to engines. The propulsion of most allegedly ‘luxurious’ cars anymore is pretty pedestrian, almost an afterthought to the videogame in the dash. Would be interesting to see breakdown of what kind of power is going out with the cars actually sold. I would bet for items like BMW 5-series, buyers are more and more getting powerplants farther up foodchain that genuinely make vehicle different than just another turbo-4 sedan.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    I drive by a mid-size BMW dealership on the way into work every morning. They have 3-series sedans lined up as far as the eye can see, all in either white, silver, or black. In fact, the lot across the street from them is being used to park all the overflow. I’d estimate they have at least 80-100 new and CPO 3ers.

    The X3’s and X5’s are inside the showroom, behind the glass. Face it, people just don’t want luxury sedans anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      “I’d estimate they have at least 80-100 new and CPO 3ers. ” – Ouch!

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Yeah, BMW dealers compared to Mercedes and any of the other premium car dealers keep an insane amount of cars on the lot, I always wondered how they were able to do that?

    • 0 avatar

      Erm, I suspect the reason they have 80-100 is because they sell them all the time, hand over fist. The same way that you see only Rams and Caravans at your Chrysler dealer, or Escapes and F-150s at a Ford dealer. They have lots of what they can sell, not lots of what they can’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Rudolph

      My favorite luxury car was a 1954 Cadillac Series 60 Fleetwood with its 133” wheelbase ☺

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    400,000 Model 3 reservations may also be taking a bite out of these sales.

    I’m nursing along a 12 year old vehicle waiting for my Model 3 – I’m probably not the only one doing that.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Good point.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      April timing makes sense. I didn’t think of that. I wonder how long people will wait for a Model 3 before they splurge for another vehicle? We will find out…

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      No way this is a factor. People aren’t expecting to get a Model 3 any time soon, and most Tesla buyers are coming from Hondas or Toyotas or so. It appeals largely to a different set from the traditional luxury marque buyer/leasee.

      • 0 avatar
        Silverbird

        @derekson,
        I’m sure there are a few, I’m driving a 2012 A4 and am waiting on the Model 3 that I reserved.

        There clearly aren’t 400,000 people coming from Premium brands, but there are some, and even 20,000 not buying would have skewed the sales.

        I think we’ll get some cold feet (and a sales uptick for others), when the Part 2 reveal comes out, where the capabilities and styling are more locked in.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I’m keeping a 2004 Toyota Sienna going, possibly until I get my Model 3. Or until the wife makes me replace it.

      We shopped for a new 2016 Civic with adaptive cruise control for wife’s new hour-long commute, but she seems happy driving it in the Mazda5. So the Sienna may live until Model 3 Delivery Day!

      I’m NOT coming from a premium brand. I’m very skeptical of the value proposition of premium brands, and don’t want to be fleeced by a luxury car maker.l who’s selling me the same damn thing I can buy fro Toyota (with a higher price and a.lower reliability score). Tesla is different enough from mainstream cars (like the 2016 Honda Civic Limited) that I feel like its worth getting fleeced for it.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    No need for luxury badge snobbery when it’s clear you spent just as much or more, on your premium, fullsize SUV or luxo Pickup.

    Note the 328i lease and other “base badge” will get you laughed out of the country club, golf course, etc.

    You still get treated like royalty at the dealer, after dropping $70K, except there’s less warranty stuff to deal with. You do have to return to the dealer that sold you the rig though. They’re funny that way.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Show up in a 328, I dare you! BMW changed the model# to 330 just to embarrass anyone shopping in the CPO lane. Why update the product when you can change the name to get someone to cough up the green for a brand new one?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Any place where an expensive car is required to get in the door is probably too full of itself to be enjoyable.

        I have everything required to run with that crowd, except the temperament.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Add together Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo and you get about 10% of the total U.S. car market, at least according to the story TTAC ran on May 3 – and that’s ignoring the Tahoes, Grand Cherokees, Lariat Editions and other non-premium brand SUVs and trucks that can be optioned well into the $70,000s. Should everyone in the 90th percentile of income (or even the 95th percentile of income) be spending that much on a car? Heck, my income is closer to the 99th percentile, and I lease a Volkswagen. Maybe this is just a long-overdue return to sanity among the American car buyer.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Astigmatism,

      The used car market is many times bigger than the new car market, so 10% of the new car market doesn’t correspond to the 90th percentile of income. 10% of new sales might just mean 3% of total sales.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    So what’s going on with Infiniti and the Q50? They finally retired the old G-series, and I guess the successor isn’t doing too well. Not only did it not make the chart, but it couldn’t even make this “everything and the kitchen sink” sentence (even Volvo and Acura made the cut!):

    “Combined, the 3 Series, IS, ATS, C-Class, Volvo S60 and V60, BMW 4-Series, and Acura TLX lost 24,000 sales already this year.”

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If it were doing that poorly all the sudden, it would BE on the chart. This is a chart for models with the greatest sales decline. I’m thinking the Q50 sales are low but stable.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        That’s really shocking, that Q50 sales would be up when almost everything else is down. I think it’s one of the better cars in the segment, but I didn’t realize buyers agreed with me. Maybe it’s those cheap lease deals.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      YTD, Q50 sales are up 15% to 15,538. http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2016/05/usa-vehicle-sales-by-model-april-2016-ytd-all-autos.html

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    Lexus’ slide is self-induced – building some of the ugliest products available.

    Cadihack is also self-induced – cannibalizing CTS sales to sell the ATS – then the full-sized SUV’s are awful and aren’t really new anywhere except the skin and glass and some interior bits.

    Volvo is in transition.

    I guess we can’t laugh at Lincoln now. As much. Snicker.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Exactly! It’s so bad at Lexus I’m convinced they are trolling their customers just to see how much ugly that brand loyalty can take.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        I saw a new LS460 the other day and yee-gads, that grille!!! It makes the clown-car smile on the Acuras from a few years ago look positively beautiful. And the rear end looks like every other Camry Accord Hyundai BMW sedan out there.

        If anything, it just shows how timeless the understated design of any iteration of the LS400 was, or even the Mercedes-copy LS430 that came after that. You weren’t confusing the original LS400 with any other car on the road, and it still looks good to this day.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I really want to like Lexus, but I’m not going to try too hard until they fix their predator grills.

        Tesla will probanly make them obsolete before that happens.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    EZ credit/lax leasing standards can only pull so much future demand into the present. And pretty much every badge-obssessed, leveraged “aspirational” type has a 3-Series/E-Class.

    Maybe it’ll be this summer, maybe next spring, but eventually a Wil-E-Coyote moment will happen.

    Save them acorns.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Tesla Model S is up 12% (7190 vs 6400 YTD), but they’re not even mentioned here.

    And the Model X as a new entry is around 3250 sales YTD.

    The economy isn’t hurting *them*.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Let’s not forget the 400,000 people who put down $1000ea for a place in line to get a Model 3.

      Those aren’t real sales (and won’t be until they build us our cars), but that number is almost as big as this entire segment. Itay be apples and oranges, hut it’s a ton of oranges!

  • avatar
    dwford

    Luxury car sales are down, luxury goods sales are down, high end department store sales are down, iPhone sales are down. Is the phony Obama/Fed recovery coming to an end?

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      “Is the phony Obama/Fed recovery coming to an end?”

      I think so, yes. I don’t see how they can string it along until November, honestly.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Worked for them so far.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Can you please explain what’s phony about living in the longest period of private sector job growth in our history? What is phony about having minimal inflation and full employment, at the same time? About having equity values near their all time highs?

        Honestly, I don’t doubt that you feel this way, but in what factbase are these sentiments rooted?

        • 0 avatar
          56BelAire

          @vogo…..Can you please explain what is not phony about “having full employment” while 94,000,000 working age people in the US are not working, at the same time?

          Thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          Because GDP growth has been tiny while debt has soared? Because the jobs created are almost all part time minimum wage positions?

          The economy is still on the borderline of recession and only suppressed interest rates keep the superficial numbers looking good.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Derekson, US debt as a % of GDP has been essentially constant for the last 6 years. I don’t know where you get your data.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Love it. For years we hear that the economic recovery is fake because it’s all going to the 1%. Now luxury car sales – which have increased ahead over the overall market for years – have come back down to earth, while the rest of the market is booming, and so of course that means the recovery is fake.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Note – the US economy doing much better since Bush left office, as well as the US economy doing comparatively better than the rest of the world (hence, part of the reason for the strong US dollar which has hurt exports).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I picture the Kool Aide man busting through a wall saying “OH YEAH” as I read this and wonder how much of it you’ve been drinking (not implying Bush II economy better per se, I argue the real economy hasn’t been the same since the Dot Com Bubble and Greenspan’s real estate bubble masked it. Now we’ve got the Bernanke bubble plus 19T in debt, all in about 16 years give or take).

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The economy for the working class hasn’t been good ever since manufacturing jobs were outsourced to China (Walmart really accelerated this).

          Those with college (or even better, post-grad degrees) have done much better in the recovery than the working class – but big biz are doing everything they can to press down the salaries of the professional class.

          Whether that be tech giants such as Apple/Google and others having an unwritten agreement to not to go after a rival’s employees or abusing the H1-B visa system (not only tech companies, but companies like Disney).

          Even basic accounting and legal work once handled by Jr. accountants and attorneys are being outsourced overseas (mostly India) and as more physicians are working for the big health care providers as salaried employees – seeing an increase in doctors joining unions as management cut costs impairing working conditions.

          For the working class – what’s left are minimum wage service or manual labor jobs, but even then, big business abuse the B1 and B1 and H2 visa systems to the detriment of American workers.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree, but this process really took place twenty years ago and earlier.

            My observation is BA/BS level college hasn’t fared well for recent graduates, just added another bill they can’t afford to pay. Only those of us who earned experience before or during the onset of the 2008 depression seem to have been successful. Graduate level I can’t speak to and thus I won’t comment.

            I heard about the unwritten agreements many years ago but at the time it was not about H-1Bs. Collusion should probably be investigated and prosecuted, assuming it is illegal of course.

            Funny how legal work in this justice system can be outsourced to the Third World, this I was not aware of but I’m not surprised about accounting. All of this chase to save a few dollars an hour and yet what about the finished product, or more importantly, what about the economy we all must live in? My initial thought is to punitively tax outsourced work but reduce corporate income taxes at the same time in order to free up capital for business to pay for “more expensive” employees.

            “For the working class – what’s left are minimum wage service or manual labor jobs”

            Soon to be replaced by more automation. HAL is coming for these jobs.

  • avatar
    SlantSix

    Is the market *finally* reacting to the gouging on options from these makers? Probably not.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    So suddenly the market has decided that luxury cars are poor value and/or the economy has suddenly gone pear shaped? Not buying it for a second, come on you’re all smarter than that.

    Let’s take a closer look. The 3 series is 4 years old, the SRX is swapping over to a new model, new C class swapping over too, Volvo’s entire line up other than the XC90 is what … 6 years or so old, the X5 is ancient as-is the 9 year old Q5 etc etc etc.

    In the next 18 months volvo will re-vamp it’s entire fleet, we will have a new X3, X5 and Q5, new C class and GLC will be established and the caddy SUV will be in full swing.

    Badge whoring has not suddenly vanished.

    • 0 avatar
      sckid213

      I agree with everything you said except the C-class still swapping over. That model is established. I think the styling is hurting the new model.

      I think Caddy will shatter every record ever set by the SRX with the XT5. They can’t get the XT7 here fast enough to steal from the meh new Q7.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        I want to like the C-class so much, but that high cowl and the attendant plastics/interior design undo all that, and it just feels like an overpriced common car.

        Is it even available with a standing hood ornament? The C300s I’ve been in felt like my Dart(again– I hate this car’s high cowl and the interior design it forces) and didn’t impress. They also sound like a symphony played on leaf blowers.

        What were we talking about?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      ATP for light vehicles for April was $33,865.

  • avatar
    Silverbird

    Most of these are the mid sizers – On top of the SUV love, I think two more factors are at play:

    All of these have had price increases lately (A4 in particular is tough to swallow) because there is a new lower price class underneath.
    A3 and A class sales were just starting up last year, and are now clearly taking hold (2 series slightly less so) so that is taking the younger aspirational badge snobs

    And the fact that the non premium brands have all the tech most people want for a lower price.
    I have a 2012 A4 Avant, went and test drove a base Comfortline Golf on the weekend. That is a fantastic car for ~$22k (CAD). If my car was stolen or wrecked, I think that would be in the running to replace. Not worth getting into the 50’S ($CAD) for a new A4

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Regular cars are just too good now. I’m around 2.5 years out from a new vehicle purchase, and right now it’s a toss up for me – I’m a big fan of a new Jetta Sport, but at the same time I’m tempted by a CPO Hyundai Genesis too (current body style). They both offer a value and feature set to me at a price that’s too good to pass up in favor of an actual luxury car.

      I’m in a Mazda 3 now that was my wife’s car before we got her a baby-mobile, but prior to that I was in an Acura and an Audi before that. Now? A high trim normal car or a low trim pseudo-luxury car suits me just fine. The deciding factor is probably going to be my commute, as the extra 10-15mpg the Jetta gets are significant on a 85 mile round trip for work every day.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Interesting take. Like I always ask though… whole market is up 3%, so who are the winners?

    There are definitely a lot of moving pieces but I think the biggie, especially with BMW, is that market share kamikaze dealer stuffing nonsense. They borrowed from 2016 sales to try and take the top spot in 2015 and now they are paying for it dearly.

    Someone mentioned technology creep as well… another legitimate point. A base Civic can be equipped with the same drivers aids as cars 5x its price. Pretty much any car over $20K will cruise at 90 MPH without a fuss. Unless you really need the badge and luxury (I would def like to have at least 1 such car in the household) it is a bit silly. When interest rates go up all these games will cease.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Nothing new at Lexus. The GS has ALWAYS cratered after about two years on the market, going back to gen 1. The IS is aging rapidly, and it looks like crap on the inside compared to the new C and A4.

    I have no idea why Q50 sales are up. Price cuts? $300/month leases? I don’t know why you would buy one, although supposedly the robot steering is slightly less bad this year, and they don’t force it on you with the higher trims anymore.

    Acura sells about 15 RLXes a year. The RL(X): 20 years of failure and counting! I have no idea why Acura even bothers to keep banging their heads against the wall with that car. It probably costs more to certify it for the US than it makes Honda in sales. Just take it out back and shoot it already.

    The gap between mainstream and luxury brands is definitely closing, and in a few select cases it’s pretty much gone, particularly when you compare top trim mainstream cars against Acuras, which now have by far the cheapest and crappiest interiors of any of the premium set, particularly now that Volvo has gotten their interior act together.

    New products like the XC90 and the new E-class are setting the bar for where luxury interiors need to be if these cars want to continue to be a significant step up over mainstream alternatives. You may be able to get the same gadgets in a Pilot or Highlander as you can in the XC90, but in terms of design and materials, there’s no contest.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      For me, it’s about a big engine in a small car. I’d gladly pay the premium for an RDX just to have a smallish CUV with an honest to God V6. And a lot of times the luxury rebadge version of a mainstreamer just looks way better. OK you can get the Escape with the 2.0T, but it’s still thorougly ugly in and out. A base model MKC is much nicer to look at and be in even if it doesn’t have the build quality of a Bentley.

      If mainstream brands can close the gap in design, which really costs nothing, then luxury makes with a lot of rebrands will be in real trouble. An ES is worth the premium over a Camry V6 to me simply because the Camry is hideous. I imagine the next ILX will be a stunner (I found the current and previous ones to be not bad). Etc. The whole industry is in a design funk and whoever can get out of it will do well.

    • 0 avatar
      Spartan

      Even with the XC90, there’s gadgets that you can’t get in a Highlander, Pilot, or pretty much any mainstream 7 passenger CUV. You can’t get any self driving aids/traffic jam assist, PHEV option, of course you can’t get real wood or leather obviously. The XC90 is a great example of why people choose luxury vehicles over mainstream vehicles. It’s just better in every way.

      I have an XC90 T8 Inscription and it’s the bee’s knees. The interior is probably the best in any SUV under $100k in the Inscription model.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    I wonder how much of this is the pendulum swinging back? The rise of BMW, Mercedes were the Boomers reaction to the floaty overstuffed Cadillacs and Lincolns beloved of the Greatest Generation. Now with the rise of Ram Laramie Longhorn’s and other luxo-pickups, maybe big and brash is back in style amongst the young.

    Or perhaps the curtain is finally coming down on the Thatcher/Reagan era of conspicuous consumption and Greed is Good. Bernie Sanders and all that. The tumble of retail stocks last week shows the consumer is returning to a more thrifty paradigm.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I dont think this bodes well for Sergio’s launch of Alfa Romeo and to a lesser extent Maserati.

    I would love to see Alfa and Maserati succeed, but I’m not sure they have enough resources or time to make it work.

    Only a matter of time before Tesla, Apple, and Google are the new Big Three.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed on Alfa and Maserati.

      Alfa is on pace to sell 700 cars this year; Maserati about 10,000. Maserati could perhaps survive, but not Alfa.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Isn’t this simply matter of the luxury marques following the lead of the more pedestrian brands? The sedan overall is a dying breed. Crossovers are the volume vehicle now.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The party’s over. Peak Douchebaggery.

  • avatar

    Luxury used to be what you can charge more for. I recall A/C, power windows and locks as “luxury items”. Before that, power steering and power brakes were “luxury items”. Now, every car has them, top to bottom. A basic car with bluetooth connectivity will do just about everything a top shelf ICE by making the smartphone do the work, and you probably have one already.

    Now, it’s more power, nicer interior. At one time, it was Pinto vs. 300D, miles apart. Today, a Focus is not trash like a Pinto, and the Mercedes is still good, unless you buy a CLA. When BMW charges for seat pass through, or Infiniti makes you get a complicated option package for seat memory in a $45k car, we rebel because those items are almost trivial two classes down.

    When I shopped, used G37 were in the 25k range, e90 was 25-30k, and CTS were all over for 18-22k. Any of those cars, properly optioned, are as good or, in the case of the BMW, better than the replacement.

    New ? I’d want a Vette, a properly optioned 2 series or M4, but that is about it…pretty much every other car is OK in a CPO way, for half price or less….I saw an AMG CLA with matte paint today. When I looked up the price I could have both a CPO vette and a used G37.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I agree, mainstream cars have bridged much of the gap. In some cases, you get more with the premium option, but the value just isn’t there in most cases.

  • avatar
    Nigel

    Luxury is to some degree about being conspicuous. Growing up Luxury was Big Gray DeVille or some Mercedes with their random alpha numeric random car name generator. Trucks and SUVs were for farmers unless you had a Grand Wagoneer Then that was okay for weekend trips to the lake/beach/second house. Now SUVs are the conspicuous item to have. They have leather seats, and big V8s or turbo-charged engines comparatively gulping down fuel. Why sit low with the slobs in the Camry in a 5 series BMW when you can rock an Escalade or RDX.

    As previously noted I just bought a mid-range VW Passat. It has more gizmos on it than a three year old CTS or similar aged Lexus. Where’s the status in that?

  • avatar

    I recently traded my Jaguar on a CPO, low mileage, 2013 Honda Civic EX-L coupe. The reason I went for the 2013 is that I like the body style better than the newer ones. I’ve had my share of premium cars, Mercedes, Audi, & even an older Rolls Royce. The one thing I’ve learned about the many premium cars I’ve owned is that when they break be prepared for a $1,000 & up repair. Parts are outrageous, a brake light switch for the Jag was $225 & another $100 to put it in because it’s in some obscure cavity no where near the brake pedal.

    The EX-L has leather, a sun roof, heated seats, Bluetooth & about every other option you can think of. I’m surprised at how fun it is to drive, it’s peppier that I expected & handles well, all the time averaging 34 mpg combined. I’m done with luxury brands now that you can get a well equipped, fun to drive, reliable car.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Which model Rolls, if you don’t mind my asking?

      • 0 avatar

        ’84 Silver Spirit, that I sold about 10 years ago. When I bought it my mechanic told me it would cost $1,000 a month to keep it going. He was wrong, it was more like $2,000 a month. The $6,000 brake job was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          That’s absolutely insane.

          I’m curious how new.ish (90s & 2000s-ish) Bentleys & Rollers compare to older versions in terms of reliability, ease of repair and parts expense.

          The car I’d love to own but would be afraid of the reliability/repair expense is a pristine 2004-2005 Jaguar XJS Supercharged (in menacing black).

          As it is, I’m searching for a 2010-2011 AMG C63.

        • 0 avatar

          My father had a friend who was a Rolls service adviser for the factory back in the 60’s, he said plan on spending 10-20% of the value of the car when new on maintenance every year. 100k car 10k a year maintenance. He told me he often had to tell that to customers wondering why their car cost so much to fix.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Is that just parts that cost so much, or are the cars themselves Byzantine, Rube Goldberg-esque to disassemble?

  • avatar

    I forgot to say when I bought the Civic that the dealer experience is the best I’ve ever had. It’s small town local dealership that has been around forever. I was out of there in an hour, without being run through a ringer in the closing office. The first thing that came up was the extended warranty I said “no”, he said “I had to ask” & moved on through the process. After saying “no” to the extended warranty, he didn’t try any other up-sells & just completed the necessary paperwork to get me out the door.

  • avatar
    Joss

    flop-out from DOW & NASDAQ being flat past few months.. mutual fund managers not getting their jollies.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    New vehicle sales are hitting new records and the average transaction price is close to $34k. The doomsday regulars who post here need to do less typing and more number crunching.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Why buy a luxury brand when ‘normal’ brands have better quality in its vehicles?

    One can buy something like a Honda/Toyota/Nissan/Mazda model vehicle with tech features and ‘luxury’ type items that are Included as Standard equipment.

    Many ‘luxury’ brands make people buy ‘options’ to include such items that the non-luxury vehicles include as standard. What a total ripoff!

    If one wants to buy a luxury brand, mainly to satisfy one’s EGO, then, by all means, do so.

    The rest of us want some Value in our vehicles and can use that money saved, instead of buying a luxury vehicle, for something else like putting the money into investments or retirement.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Lol, you people.

      “Many ‘luxury’ brands make people buy ‘options’ to include such items that the non-luxury vehicles include as standard. What a total ripoff!”

      I’ll say it again, luxury is about more for more, not more for less. “Value” does not come into the equation of luxury, unless you’re talking about used vehicles.

      “This Rolls Royce was a great value, at $325,000!”
      “My filet mignon was a great value after I used my coupon!”
      “These imported Italian loafers were such good value!”

      See, these sentences don’t make sense – that’s not what luxury is for.

      “If one wants to buy a luxury brand, mainly to satisfy one’s EGO, then, by all means, do so.”

      Yes, that’s the free market and having choice. Stop b!tching about it.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The “luxury” market still has its own value play.

        Sales of the original LS400 was based on its tremendous value at $35k and the LS460 is still a very good value compared to the S Class.

        And for even more value, there is the ES and the other FWD-based Lexus models.

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