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.


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  • 35 Comments
      telm12345
      • 2 Years Ago
      Josh (below) hit the nail on the head. This is not a sedan vs. SUV thing, they're really for people who jsut don't want to drive minivans.
      zizixx89
      • 2 Years Ago
      wouldnt this look better if it had the twin exhaust tips?
      FIDTRO
      • 2 Years Ago
      Damn, that's an ugly Nissan. Shame on you autoblog.
      GasMan
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is why we need $5 / gallon gas.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GasMan
        [blocked]
        Zoom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GasMan
        Amen. These behemoths take up too much space. They hog lanes. The block the view of what's going on up front. And the people that drive them can't handle their size.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GasMan
        [blocked]
        BG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GasMan
        Gas in the USA will go up to $5/gallon sometime in the next few years. You can be sure of that - a minor Mideast or supply disruption will trigger it. And then the millions of people who bought huge crossovers and SUVs will squeal like pigs and say it is their right to have cheap gas and why doesn't the government do something about it? Note, many of these will be the exact same crowd who proclaim to be true capitalists and why doesn't the government get out of our way, etc., etc.
      PatrickH
      • 2 Years Ago
      People are so stupid. You give them a wagon with an extra 6" of height and they cream their pants over it.
      dss10
      • 2 Years Ago
      As an ex marketing director you have to look at how these manufactures have positioned their lineup sothat if, as a consumer, you every need to bring a dog on a trip, have the need to bring home a box that is more than 24" tall, or take trips with two kids in car seats you are forced into the SUV market. SUV's have a higher unit cost and profit margins and due to the relativly inexpensive cost of gas are a relatively "easy sell" sell in the market place. If you dispute this, go to an Audi or VW dealership and ask to see the wagons they have in stock (A4's, Allroads, and Jettas) and look at how many versions of the same model of sedans they have on the lot. You will find that the wagon inventory turns over much quicker than either the sedan or SUV's and a lot of SUV's are upsells from Wagon inquires. SUV's are important as a profit center for the auto companies, but as consumers we'd be better off financialy with a different option. Where is my fusion wagon? Can't have it so Ill have to buy an escape or exploder because I have a dog. Three kids and overnight trips to grang ma's same diff. Have a drum kit, stuck again with a SUV.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dss10
        [blocked]
          dss10
          • 2 Years Ago
          I didn't get fired, are you still in the parts department? If you knew anything about product differentiation or competitive strategy you might understand what I am talking about. If the Auto companies rely too much on a single generic strategy (AKA the Fully loaded SUV as the solution for every customer) they put them selves at risk. I have a feeling that you have never read Micheal Porter, so the link below might give you a little insight but I'm warning you there ar some big words and long sentences... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porter_generic_strategies
          dss10
          • 2 Years Ago
          Listen, you are none too smart and I'm sure you driving faster than you head lights already. Read the Porter article, maybe look up some case studies, and perhaps you'll be able to figure it out.
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
      Jake
      • 2 Years Ago
      Big ugly profit cows. What's to explain? I'd make them too.
      Mercennarius
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Infiniti JX seems to be selling like hot cakes around here...gorgeous interior and decent gas mileage for an SUV of this size...
        BG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mercennarius
        It demonstrates that there IS a market for the minivan, the perfect family hauler.
          Sj027
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BG
          I agree about the minivan. They are just functional. The original Mazda MPV was way ahead of the crossover curve in retrospect.
        SethG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mercennarius
        The JX is a hit not simply because people will buy any SUV. But because it's exactly what the luxury space needs but doesn't have. It gives the luxury market a flexible, (relatively) efficient, three-row option that to date has only existed in mainstream brands. The exception is the MDX but the JX is a little bit larger and more flexible. It's not the most exciting Infiniti on the lot but, like the Lexus with the RX, Infiniti is providing exactly what luxury buyers with families are looking for.
      Fred Herbert
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't get enough of these luxury utes.
      desinerd1
      • 2 Years Ago
      @Zoom I agree. If the SUV costs same as the sedan, and if the fuel efficiency is not significantly different, it hardly makes sense to buy a sedan or wagon.
        vvk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @desinerd1
        The only way I would drive an SUV is if someone paid me to do it.
      Xtrios
      • 2 Years Ago
      And it's priced very competitive.
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