> 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%.
> 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.”
> 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.
> 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.