Luxury cars in USA

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/18/2006 | Auto and Trucks

Luxury vehicles are the last word in comfort. They pack the latest in technology, have plush interiors, sleek exteriors and powerful engines under the hood. They also cost a fortune. That is why all the major luxury car makers target the US market.

A good way to define luxury cars is by using the Mean Selling Price. This method also helps classify the luxury market into four clear segments: entry level, mid-level, high-end and ultra luxury segment.

Another yardstick is prestige. This may be quite abstract in terms of value, but it definitely reflects the owners social standing. Also, the price paid for the car also has a lot to do with the manufacturers emblem. The BMW 3 series, for instance, would cost less than what it actually is, if it was labeled a non-luxury car. It should also be noted that all prestige cars need not be luxurious, just as the Dodge Viper is.

The entry level luxury cars can be classified as those that range from 30,000 to 36,000, provided they pay extra attention to luxury and comfort. There are several entry level luxury cars. These include the Mercedes Benz C class sedan, Lincoln Zephyr, BMW 3 series, Lexus IS, Audi A4, Mercedes C class, Infiniti G 35, Acura TL and Jaguar X-type. Some of these cars also have upgraded variants that fall under mid-level luxury vehicles.

The mid-level luxury cars come with a price tag of approximately 36,000 to 60,000. They offer a high level of comfort and are equipped with the most modern technology and safety measures. They are also good performers and have powerful engines. The Infiniti Q45, Mercedes Benz E class, BMW 5 series, Lexus GS430 and Jaguar S type are some of the vehicles in this class. Some flagship sedans like the Lincoln Towncar, Cadillac DTS and Acura RL can also be included in the mid-level luxury segment. The segment comprises manufacturers from Germany (40%), United States (30%) and Japan (23%).

The high-end luxury cars comprise Maserati Quattro Porte, Mercedes Benz S class, BMW 7 series, Audi A8, Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS 460. There is also the Volkswagen Phaeton V8 but it is not sold with the luxury car tag. These cars are priced between 60,000 and 100,000 and are known for their fine quality, technology, comfort level and prestige. This segment is ruled by the German car makers (60%) followed by the Americans (30%) and the Japanese (8%).

The ultra luxury segment boasts of the most expensive and precious cars on the planet. Priced over 100,000, these cars are highly exclusive and give their owners a celebrity status. The entire line up of Rolls Royce, Bentley, Maserati and Maybach come under this category. Even the Mercedes Benz S500, BMW 750, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Audi A8, Volkswagen Phaeton WR and Toyota Century can be included in this. These cars are mostly built with 12 cylinder engines. The Germans rule this segment with 70% market share, while the Americans and Italians enjoy 10% and 15% share respectively.