The top 12 luxury brands accounted for only 10.8% of total U.S. car sales through the first 11 months of this year. But these lines are important to the companies that own them because the profits on luxury cars tend to be higher than for other models. U.S. car companies ruled the domestic luxury market for decades. Mercedes-Benz USA was not formed until 1965, while Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) Lexus brand was not launched until 1989.
However, it did not take long for foreign manufacturers, many of which now have U.S. factories, to overwhelm the sales of American luxury car brands — which are down to General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Cadillac and Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) Lincoln. Neither is a major player in a segment that is dominated by Lexus, Mercedes, BMW and Acura — two of which are German and two of which are Japanese.
The growth of the luxury car market grew steadily over the first 11 months of this year. All of the top 10 manufacturers saw gains in unit sales, with the exception of Cadillac and Lincoln. Lexus, Acura and Infiniti had sales gains of over 20% for the same period.
Over the next several years, luxury car analysts will be looking to see if American companies can gain back any of the luster they lost to foreign brands.
Based on Edmunds.com data for first 11 months of 2012, 24/7 wall st. reviewed the top nine luxury brands in the country. Edmunds also provided us with comparable 11-month sales for 2011, both for the brands, and for the top-selling models within each brand. This report covers brands that sold more than 60,000 car and light truck units in the first 11 months of the year.
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