When we see a vehicle like a Lamborghini Urus or the Bentley EXP 9 F concept, we may at first scratch our heads, wondering why an automaker would take this route. When the accountants see these vehicles, they see one thing: dollar signs. No matter what angle you come at it from, SUVs and crossovers are cash cows for carmakers, especially luxury brands. It's a truth that Kicking Tires laid bare in a recent article.
One shining example given highlights this phenomenon by way of recent sales figures by Infiniti. September deliveries of the JX fullsize crossover shown above represented 24 percent of Infiniti's sales. In fact, Infiniti's four crossovers (FX, QX, and don't forget the EX) accounted for 39 percent of the Japanese luxury brand's sales. 10 years ago, the brand sold only one SUV, the QX4. In a four-model lineup, the gussied-up Nissan Pathfinder SUV accounted for a fifth of its sales in 2002. Fast-forward to the present, and Infiniti "truck" sales in 2012 were up 63.3 percent, while car sales were up just 2.5 percent.
The article goes on to point out similar trends based on the proliferation of the X3 and X1 in BMW's lineup, Acura's crossovers making up half of its sales in September and how the Cayenne outsold the rest of the Porsche lineup combined. There are a lot more sales facts and figures if you read through to the article, but the gist of it is: luxury SUVs and crossovers sell big, and they can float a brand's sales when other vehicles are not moving off the lot.
Even so, judging by today's earlier Automotive News Europe report, it appears that even luxury SUVs aren't immune from sales pressures – the aforementioned Lamborghini and Bentley SUVs may be delayed due to Europe's tortured new car market.