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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This list is for December 2012. I am a little bit surprised how far down Infiniti is. Hopefully this name change and the new cars will work in their favor.


1. Mercedes-Benz
> 2012 sales: 245,926 (up 12.0%)
>Share of luxury market: 17.3%
> Top-selling model: C-Class
Mercedes set a company record in U.S. sales for eight of 11 months this year, and December will also be a new high for the German automaker, Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, told the Detroit Free Press. It is hard to tell what bragging rights are worth because there may be a cost to owning the number one position. BusinessWeek recently reported that: “Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes-Benz, guarding its U.S. luxury-auto sales lead, is letting some buyers skip more monthly payments than Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) and offering as much as $5,000 discounts to VIP customers.” The Mercedes line-up is as broad as BMW’s — from the relatively inexpensive C-Class, which starts at $35,550, to the SLS AMG GT, which has a base price of $199,500. Mercedes has five sets of sedans and coupes, which offer various engines and amenities, four sets of SUVs, and two sets of roadsters. The company also maintains a performance line under the AMG badge. Mercedes has a huge parent based in Germany — Daimler AG.


2. BMW
> 2012 sales: 244,061 (up 10.4%)
> Share of luxury market: 17.1%
> Top-selling model: 3 Series
BMW and Mercedes will race until the end of the year before it is clear which is the top luxury brand in the United States. BMW won last year by a mere 2,715 units. Neither of the German companies has posted particularly strong growth this year. BWM’s percentage improvement barely made it into double digits for the first 11 months. Sales of its popular low-priced and mid-priced sedans — the 3-Series and 5 Series models — have each risen by less than 4%. BMW sold almost 89,000 3-Series cars so far, over a third of all sales, a sign of how critical the model is to the company’s overall success. BMW’s line is broken into 11 basic models, which include SUVs, sedans, coupes and hybrids. These have base sticker prices that range from a low of $31,200 for the 1-Series base coupe to $140,200 for the flagship 760Li. BMW’s swift movement into all-wheel drive may reflect the pressure coming from Audi. The majority of BMW’s models are offered with “xDrive,” its version of the technology.

3. Lexus
> 2012 sales: 213,555 (up 23.3%)
> Share of luxury market: 15.0%
> Top-selling model: RX
Lexus was the best-selling luxury line in America for 11 consecutive years, until 2011. The primary reason for its loss of that position was the shuttering of a number of Toyota’s manufacturing facilities after the Japanese earthquake. Lexus showed a substantial recovery this year with a rise in unit sales of 23.3%, second only to Acura. Lexus has an extremely broad line-up of 15 models, with base prices from $31,850 for the CT hybrid to $375,000 for the LFA “supercar.” The few people who could afford the LFA have the opportunity to own a carbon-fiber-based body, under which is a 4.8-liter V10 engine that generates 552 horsepower, and orthopedically designed seats. For most other people who shop for luxury cars, Lexus has three SUVs — the RX, GX and LX. The RX is the best-selling of the Lexus lines, with 82,847 units sold so far this year. Lexus has four sedan models, topped by the flagship LS. The brand also markets five hybrid models.

4. Acura
> 2012 sales: 140,182 (up 27.2%)
> Share of luxury market: 9.8%
> Top-selling model: MDX
Honda’s Acura division has models that tend to be priced toward the lower end of the luxury range. Its most expensive model, the ZDX, has a base price of $50,920. The low-end ILX has Acura’s best-selling vehicle is its mid-sized SUV, the MDX, of which 45,785 have been sold this year. The second best-selling Acura so far in 2012 has been the mid-sized TL sedan. The TL comes in seven versions, starting with the base model for $35,905 and moving up to the SH-AWD version, which sells for over $50,000. Features available on this model include technology that tracks blind spots and real-time weather reports.


5. Cadillac
> 2012 sales: 131,534 (down 3.4%)
> Share of luxury market: 9.2%
> Top-selling model: SRX

The troubled luxury division of GM had the largest percentage drop in unit sales among the top 10 luxury brands in the United States. Cadillac’s best seller is the aging SRX crossover, which has a base price of $37,155 and can run above $58,000 fully loaded for its all-wheel drive “Premium” model. Total sales of the SRX in the first 11 months were 51,085. Cadillac’s mid-sized CTS car has started to lose momentum as it ages. Sales of units fell 12.1% in the first 11 months to 43,607. The CTS series includes a coupe, a sedan,and the CTS-V “supercar.” The V has a 558-horsepower engine that propels the car from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds. The car sells for as much as $74,910. Cadillac’s shaky hopes rest on its new, small ATS, which has a base price of $33,095, and its XTS full-sized sedan, which has a base price of $44,075.


6. Audi
> 2012 sales: 124,469 (up 18.6%)
> Share of luxury market: 8.7%
> Top-selling model: A4
Audi’s best known claim to fame is that all its vehicles have all-wheel drive. This has been true for decades, during which time many other luxury brands focused on rear-wheel drive vehicles. Audi has come into its own recently. Its low-end A4 has sold 32,044 units so far this year, while its entry-level Q5 SUV has sold 25,045. Audi’s A4 is the smallest of its sedans, which include the A6 and large A8. The S8 performance version of this last model has a base price of $110,000. Audi is one of the luxury car companies that produces and sells a “supercar.” Its version, the R8, includes one model with an engine that generates 525 horsepower, can go from 0 to 60 mph and in 3.7 seconds, and can cost as much as $185,000.

7. Infiniti
> 2012 sales: 106,872 (up 22.8%)
> Share of luxury market: 7.5%
> Top-selling model: G
Infiniti is the luxury division of Nissan, and it has often been seen as the weakest of the high-end Japanese nameplates, which include Honda Motor Co. Ltd.’s (NYSE: HMC) Acura and Toyota’s Lexus. Although Infiniti had a better than 20% increase in sales in the first 11 months, that rate was behind its two rivals. And Lexus sales are ahead of Infiniti by 2 to 1. Infiniti’s top-selling line by far is its G-Series, with 54,328 units sold year to date. Infiniti makes a G coupe, G sedan and G convertible, which range in price from $36,900 for the base sedan to $60,600 for the highest-end IPL G convertible. Infiniti maintains a fairly wide set of models, including modest and expensive sedans and coupes, three crossovers and a jumbo SUV — the QX, which has a base price of $60,650.

8. Lincoln
> 2012 sales: 74,766 (down 3.2%)
> Share of luxury market: 5.2%
> Top-selling model: MKZ
In early December, Ford decided to change the name of its luxury division from Lincoln to Lincoln Motor Co. It will take a good deal more than that for the high-end operation of the number two American car company to catch up to the most successful imports — or even GM’s Cadillac. According to CNN, Ford “is tacitly admitting that its sporadic efforts over the past 90 years to establish Lincoln as a top-tier luxury brand have failed, and it has to start over again.” USA Today reports that the first model from the newly launched line shows some promise: “It helps that Lincoln has an impressive new vehicle on the way, the redone MKZ with its distinctive looks and huge glass roof. Three other models are coming as well.”


9. Volvo
> 2012 sales: 61,976 (up 0.01%)
> Share of luxury market: 4.3%
> Top-selling model: S60
Volvo is in a lot of trouble, so it is no shock that its market share in the luxury category is so low. The company recently reported that its operating profit fell by 84% in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2011. Volvo is currently owned by Chinese car maker Geely, but even with a fairly new owner, rumors of problems persist. Volvo has a very limited lineup of vehicles, which includes its C-Class coupes, S-Class sedans and X-Class crossovers. All of the most successful luxury manufacturers have a broad array of models, engines, models and features. Volvo’s overall share of the U.S. car market — luxury and otherwise — is 0.5%.














 

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That's pretty much where I expect Infiniti to be.

The entry/mid level luxury car segment is saturated by the Big Germans. They have powerful badges and a wealth of perception. I don't think Infiniti will ever be able to compete with the top 3 quite frankly in that regard.

Most buyers at these segments buy with their perception. I will admit--I didn't expect Acura to be higher than Cadillac. Up 27% is frigging huge. The MDX has definitely been a big hit lately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am just surprised that Infiniti is so far away from Lexus and Acura. All three of them are japanese brand luxury. We are only beating Lincoln and Volvo :(
 

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Perhaps I'll just never understand the fascination with BMW's 3-series :confused: Those cars are so miniature-looking & almost every driver on the road seemingly has one, which doesn't impress me. In fact, I have a lot of pride in pulling up next to one of them with my G37x. Infiniti has won me over.
 
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Infiniti is one strong or two moderate and consistent sellers, besides the G/Q50, JX/QX60 and the QX/QX80 (I'm practicing these new names lol) from jumping to the #5 spot. Caddy and Audi are moving up too but I think Infiniti has the potential to leap frog Audi, but maybe not Caddy. Acura... I am kinda loosing respect for them and don't really see them advancing too much. The only true strength they have is the MDX.

The Q50 will for sure be a hit, the G has consistently been the #3 seller, some times #2 in its class and I think it may really start to rival the 3 Series and C class in Q50 guise. The JX has given them a solid #2 seller, the QX56 continues to hold steady at #3. I think if the next EX/QX50 grows to have a livable backseat it could be a strong seller too. Infiniti definitely has potential and I really think their line-up, which is aging for the most part is why they rank so low at this point. Once they start this upcoming blitz, they will probably have similar growth as to what Audi is experiencing now.
 

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The new Q50 which was previously know as the G class is infiniti's bread and butter. Most of the sales will depend on it. So whether the Q50 sells or not they still have the Q60 the coupe version which will be released at a later date. Personally since they dont have a manual version in the Q50 that is a huge turn off for me. So ill be waiting for the Q60.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The expansion into the hybrid market for the G class (Q50) will also bring more sales to Infiniti. They do have some work to do. The competition is getting tight and there are a few new cars that I am looking forward to seeing.

The ATS, The Lexus IS, Mercedes CLA, the new Acura TLX.
 

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I have been very impressed with the Mercedes CLA too. The price point is amazing and I read the 4matic version only costs about 3k extra.
 

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I have been very impressed with the Mercedes CLA too. The price point is amazing and I read the 4matic version only costs about 3k extra.
The 4Matic AWD system for the CLA is FWD biased and isn't RWD biased like all other Mercedes products. That alone makes it blah to me.
 

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The 4Matic AWD system for the CLA is FWD biased and isn't RWD biased like all other Mercedes products. That alone makes it blah to me.
But's that the thing.

That's the point of the CLA. It's meant to be a simple compact, all season FWD driver with the Mercedes nameplate.
 

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Im guessing the moments that when the CLA does transfer all the power to the rear is for traction and safety reasons which make it more better for handling. It sounds nice and good on paper but i still am not convinced that AWD vehicles handle better than RWD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Im guessing the moments that when the CLA does transfer all the power to the rear is for traction and safety reasons which make it more better for handling. It sounds nice and good on paper but i still am not convinced that AWD vehicles handle better than RWD.
handling is one of the most subjective terms ever.

There is handling in terms of raw grip, handling as in driver feedback from the car, handling in terms of lap times, handling in terms of fun to drive, handling in terms of easy to drive. too many aspects of handling. AWD is different. But it does put power the ground better then RWD - though there is more drivetrain power loss.
 

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Im guessing the moments that when the CLA does transfer all the power to the rear is for traction and safety reasons which make it more better for handling. It sounds nice and good on paper but i still am not convinced that AWD vehicles handle better than RWD.
LOL I supposed I should have read one post down. That makes sense. I never heard of this kind of system before. Is this something new from Mercedes or can this be found from other car manufacturers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I read it in this review
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 First Drive - Motor Trend

For the record, I also sampled a 4Matic all-wheel-drive system that incorporates a power takeoff in the seven-speed DCT, and an electronic clutch on the rear differential that dials in as much rear torque as conditions call for, between 100 percent front-wheel drive and nearly 100 percent rear if the fronts are in mid-air or on wet glare ice. The system is supposedly lighter than most as well.
 
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