• CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
  • CLA; 250 Sport; 7G-DCT; designo polarsilber magno; Leder/Mikrofaser DINAMICA schwarz NEON ART
According to research conducted by global information company IHS Automotive, the leporine birthing of new models by luxury manufacturers over the past six years hasn't increased their market share in the US. Even as car sales reached 15.6 million units, IHS says what's happened instead is that luxury buyers are merely moving from one brand to another, moving from larger luxury vehicles into hot segments like compact luxury crossovers or leaving the market at the same rate as other buyers enter.

Whether broken out by makes or by segment, market share has rollercoastered inside a narrow band from 10.5 to 11.5 percent since "at least" 2008. Closer investigation reveals the shifting boundaries in the aspirational pond, with brands like Mercedes-Benz and Audi gaining territory as Lexus and Lincoln lost it, and Saab and Hummer were buried, dead, under it. One neat note is that Tesla has gone from a share of zip to .12 percent.

The subcompact and compact crossover segments show growth, with those little high-riders jumping from .3 percent to 1.16 percent of overall industry sales. Their rise, though, is concomitant with the decline of four other segments: compact and midsize cars and fullsize cars and SUVs. We think the next few years that will tell if the small-car expansion can overcome the large-car retraction, with a phalanx of smaller offerings like the CLA only recently hitting the market and others like the GLA, Macan and Q1 doing so in the near future.


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  • 50 Comments
      Mr Sled
      • 1 Year Ago
      Go drive a $32k Mazda 6 and then go drive a $32k BMW 320i. Really the only people being drawn to the premium brands, IMHO, are social ladder climbers and hard core enthusiast bargain shoppers in the mid 30's price range. The 3 may be more dynamic, but the younger crowd in General seems to want more tech and features than a dynamic drive or a fancy badge.
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      The problem with this analysis is that it assumes all cars made by a luxury brand are luxury cars. A fully loaded Accord has more luxury than the base model of 5-series.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        I wish more brands and dealers focused their advertising on this. You don't need a fancy badge to get a nice car -- and getting the badge at a bargain price pretty much ensures you're giving up several other features/characteristics (and I'm reluctant to use the word 'features' here since the BMW/Audi/etc. fanbois have started to condemn it as a bad word).
        Steve
        • 1 Year Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Correct me if I'm wrong, but what about drivetrain and engine... I noticed a lot of the luxury brands have small engines with 200+ HP compared to the mainstream brands that usually lack that kind of power. So what I'm trying to ask is can it be because the luxury brands drive better than brands like Mazda, Honda, ...?
      JonZeke
      • 1 Year Ago
      I remember a time when the BMW 3 series was just a boxy sedan to the average person (I can recall my mom once saying "why would someone buy that small square thing (e30 BMW sedan)? It's too expensive and not a real luxury car.") Why indeed would anyone buy such a car? If they understood what driving magic was, then it made sense. This was a luxury: to buy something that didn't stand out in looks, but was (somewhat) handbuilt, relatively rare, and gave the owner a feeling that they had something truly special. But what is luxury today? A flashy brand? A CLA isn't a luxury car even if it is a good Mercedes. What defines luxury? Price? Size? Ride/handling? All this, and an undefinable sense of owning something rare and of high quality. These numbers skew the reality that most people know intuitively: it makes less sense on a normal (flat) income to throw money today at a true luxury car (S-Class, Phantom, LS, Quattroporte) then it ever did before. Better to invest in the markets, real estate, small business - anything but a rapidly depreciating asset like a luxury car. If these markets were looked into with greater detail, model-by-model - and if we could agree on a cutoff for what a true luxury vehicle is then we'd see a segment truly shrinking as a result of the new global economic reality.
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's interesting that Cadillac is mentioned nowhere in the article. Among the luxury brands, their market share increased the most.
      dohc73
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Despite premium carmakers going downmarket, luxury auto sales stick at 10-11%" Then it really isn't a sale of a luxury auto if the carmaker is going downmarket.
        Technoir
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dohc73
        It shows that the auto business is getting tougher...more conpetitive, more inveatments into more models, while overall sales are flat.
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      IHS points this out but it's really flawed to think of 'luxury vehicles' as only coming from certain manufacturers or even segments. The study did include study of luxury segments but I would be surprised if they included pickup trucks. Like it or not, a significant percentage of luxurious vehicles sold in the US are pickup trucks.
        infra
        • 1 Year Ago
        @The Wasp
        Putting leather and some nice materials into a pickup truck makes it a luxury pickup truck, but doesn't put it on par with a luxury brand. You're still going to a Ford, Dodge, or Chevy dealership to buy it and service it, and those most decidedly are not providing a luxury experience. People buy expensive luxury cars because of the experience, the treatment, and the service. A luxury dealership doesn't just sell nice cars, they also sell a service that minimizes the time you must spend dealing with the car itself. Concierge, service pickup/delivery at your house or place of business, free loaners, etc, all add up. Many buyers value the time they gain well worth the cost.
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @infra
          The dealler experience is fair to consider. However, if you think people buying from luxury brands always have a better experience than people buying from a mainstream brand, that is incorrect. Despite the many, many dealers that lack ethics, there are many others who genuinely provide good service (both sides of the coin apply to both mainstream and luxury brand dealers). Furthermore, I would state that luxury pickup trucks are every bit as luxurious as many entry-level luxury cars -- especially true for Ford and Dodge, probably also true for GM. They even put up a solid fight in terms of performance -- a metric that should strongly favor any type of car over a 5000-pound truck.
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think you summed it up correctly - total market share has stayed the same but people are buying the cheaper/smaller entries. MB captured the number one slot in total sales in the US, mostly due to the new cheap entry level CLA. I wonder if there is any data to say where all of the buyers of the mid/large vehicles are going. Are they really buying compacts? Or did they all move over to Tesla or large vehicles from non-luxury brands?
      Gator
      • 1 Year Ago
      Because most people that move from an Accord to shitty CLA will never buy another German car again. They are just uninformed about reliability and maint cost beyond 4yrs of ownership, which they usually own a car for 10yrs +. Thus the market share never grows because people are always jumping ship back to cheaper, longer lasting, and reliable cars.
      FoxJ30
      • 1 Year Ago
      Less-loose financing probably has something to do with it. If you had your heart set on a C350 but can't get the terms you were hoping for, maybe you'll leave with a C250 or a CLA instead. If these manufacturers hadn't gone downmarket, the disappointed customers likely would've re-evaluated and gone somewhere else.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FoxJ30
        Maybe BMW and Mercedes should have mainstream or bargain brands like most other manufacturers do. People criticize Hyundai for making luxury cars with an economy badge. Isn't it just as bad for BMW to make an economy car with a luxury badge?
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Are cars like the CLA and A3 actually luxury cars?
      imag
      • 1 Year Ago
      I see no one stating the obvious: they have to go downmarket to sell cars because there are fewer people with enough money to buy the more expensive vehicles. This is what happens when the disparity of wealth grows. Upper middle class people have less than they used to. There are fewer people with the money to buy expensive cars. Luxury car manufacturers must make cheaper cars to maintain volumes. On the other end, there is a huge proliferation of super-expensive cars for the few people who have so much money that a $300K car is incidental. The Ferrari 250 GTO was one of the most expensive cars in the world in 1962, at $18,000. That inflation adjusted price is $130K. Today, we have cars that are twenty times that price (Zonda, La Ferrari, 918, Veyron, P1). This is basic, people. Disparity of wealth is real. This is how it looks when the wealthy take all the money from everyone else. Quantitative easing takes the value of your money and redistributes it to the people at the top. That's why the salaries of the vast majority of folks is not keeping up with inflation.
        nocommie11
        • 1 Year Ago
        @imag
        Nobody took your money, just because you earned less, doesn't mean someone took it from you. QE hurts the wealthy more than the poor because they have more liquid assets that loses value. Sure the income inequality is here, but income inequality is what makes this country great, you can't just "do better" you can become ridiculously wealthy.
          imag
          • 1 Year Ago
          @nocommie11
          And folks like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett - capitalists to the core - are calling for some redistribution of wealth. So are the vast majority of economists. Absurdly rich heirs are a vampire class on society, leaching out productivity gains while contributing nothing but spending. And their spending is less as a percentage of their wealth than everyone else. So their contribution is a net negative.
          imag
          • 1 Year Ago
          @nocommie11
          And as a thought, there were some kings that did good things too, but that doesn't make kingship a good form of societal organization. It has been proven to be much better to educate people and give opportunities to folks who are smart, but not wealthy. The skyrocketing price of higher education is taking that chance away from those who didn't grow up with rich parents.
          akitadog
          • 1 Year Ago
          @nocommie11
          The worst of this set of the ultra-rich are the Wall Street vampires. Wall Street used to be simply a vehicle to allow those with investment money to create and pad a nest egg. Not so anymore. Wall Street is now merely in it for themselves as they move money around to manipulate share prices of the company/industry du jour, so that they can skim pennies off the 10s of millions of robotic trades they make daily. Then, they risk blowing it all by acting like casinos, and successfully get the taxpayer to bail them out. All without adding ANY value in the process. Of course, they haven't learned a thing because they haven't properly been punished. And none of it would be possible without the regulators and representatives they've got in their pockets. Yes sir, the best government money can buy.
          imag
          • 1 Year Ago
          @nocommie11
          I am not advocating for communism. Some wealth disparity is generally good in a society. The U.S. in the 50's and 60's was much more egalitarian than it is now - and that coincided with some of our "greatest" periods of productivity relative to the rest of the world. The greatness of this country came about because it cast aside the system of lords and serfs dominant in Europe, and a recognition that institutional wealth was bad for society. Things like estate taxes and progressive taxes on the uberwealthy return money to the rest of society, benefiting everyone. I don't think you realize just how disparate it has become. Your head is buried in the sand. We have lost much of our social mobility, and six people (the Walton heirs) have more than the bottom 40% of Americans. That's not a gentle income equality; that is kingship, and it's not what America was founded on. FYI I make more than I used to make, well into six figures, thank you for your concern. But prices have gone up faster than my salary and most others. And one doesn't need to be impoverished to care about others in society.
          nocommie11
          • 1 Year Ago
          @nocommie11
          The 50's and 60's were a time of prosperity because US rode a wave of success after WW2 and the fact that the rest of the world competition was still rebuilding. The high taxes were levied to get out of the debt that WW2 created and was a very temporary measure. In short, there's a huge disconnect between correlation and causation. Also what about people like Elon Musk, T Boone Pickens, and many other ridiculously wealthy people that are throwing billions into next generation technologies that will benefit the country as a whole,... without the huge wealth gap, that would not be possible.
        JonZeke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @imag
        This the internet, and AOL blogs... stop making sense!
      sixsix
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dear Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. I have left your brands because I find your commercials obnoxious, as well as your brand image. Especially you Audi, only the weakest of sales teams use negative selling to promote products. The owning of a Mercedes (or other German) has become a rite of passage. People's goals in life center around getting behind the wheel of one. Whether it be a top of the line new Mercedes, or a crappy used one or new C class. People have done magical tricks in their brain to justify why their decision to purchase these marks is justified. It's this very mass cult following that turns me away from them. The new S class is fantastic. A superb car. However, the brand has been so diluted by crappy cheap models that the perceived value of the S class has decreased in my eyes. Now we have the CLA. The only thing worse than people who can afford the best Mercedes has to offer, are the people who can't, and spring for a C class, or CLA. They are terrorists. They act like they just cured world hunger behind the wheel of their $40k turd. Just like people at the bank. $20 million in their account and they are the nicest people. $20 thousand and they are the rudest and most entitled. SO Mercedes etc., stop diluting your brand. Do a spin off for the Cheaper people. Your cheapest car should be $50k.
        kcroc10077
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sixsix
        MB also makes delivery vans, garbage trucks, military vehicles, A and B segment cars, buses, OTR trucks and a few others I'm sure I missed. Take a look at a MB website outside of North America. Methinks you might be surprised.
          ksrcm
          • 1 Year Ago
          @kcroc10077
          What do you mean "outside of North America"? You mean, like, Canada? What's that Asia you're talking about, some hot new pr0n star?
        Feurig
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sixsix
        Sounds like you have it all figured out man. Check out http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/about_us/careers. They need you as part of their team. Jokes aside, you do realize the A-class came out in '97 and the B-class came out in '05...
        throwback
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sixsix
        You left because of brand image, so do you think the actual cars are fine? My thought is luxury cars have to be "event" motoring to suceed. They have to offer something special. A Ford Fusion for example can be had with the same features and technology that was available on the previous generation S class! Lane departure warning, blind spot detection to name 2 features it even has automatic parking something the S class did not have. CAFE and CO2 are what is driving Mercedes down market.
        ken
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sixsix
        go get a life. you don't know what hell you talking about. not every body can afford to spend 60k for car. what is wrong to have entry level BMW or Mercedes. they act like terrorist/? go head buy lottery and you could be one of beautiful people with s class Mercedes $20 million in bank account
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