If you think you know what a luxury car is, think again. The automobile landscape has shifted, and old definitions of luxury no longer apply. Read on to discover how times have changed and what makes a luxury car in today’s market.
Image via Flickr by Saebaryo
How Has the Meaning of Luxury Cars Changed?
Price was once the greatest indicator of a car’s luxury status. However, according to Toyota Lexus’ vice president of marketing Brian Smith, “the difference is not just price.” Instead, he feels luxury has more to do with the car owner’s experience, from the treatment he receives at the dealership to the satisfaction he feels owning the car.
Don Butler, Cadillac’s marketing manager, agrees modern luxury is more to do with “the feel of the vehicle.” ”The definition of luxury changed,” he mused in an interview with USA Today. “Luxury was size, space, comfort, presence.”
While these traditional markers can still be found in luxury vehicles, they aren’t such definitive indicators.
Ludwig Willisch, the president of BMW, North America, adds “emotion” is now the intangible force which separates a luxury car from the rest of the market.
What’s Behind This Shift?
For the past two decades we’ve seen the price of luxury vehicles dropping as their sales soared. This shift to lower price points has made luxury automobiles more attainable to a wider range of car enthusiasts.
Some observers, including Canadian car analyst Dennis DesRosiers, wonder whether pricing luxury vehicles comparably to mid-range cars undermines the core brand values of these luxury labels. They argue that chasing sales may be detrimental to these premium brands’ reputations.
“I could argue that one of the kicks a luxury buyer gets out of embracing a luxury vehicle is the signal to their neighbor that they can afford to ‘overpay’ for their vehicle and their neighbor can’t,” he reasoned to The Globe and Mail.
But perhaps these labels aren’t simply aiming to increase their sales, but to compete with the mid-range labels muscling in on the luxury sector. Established luxury labels may need to adapt to the changing auto landscape to remain relevant.
Whatever the case, perhaps it’s just time to accept a new definition of luxury which goes beyond tradition. continue reading…