While electronic gadgets such as the iPhone and Blackberry are becoming popular cultural status symbols, particularly among young people, there will always be plenty of people who express themselves through the type of car they drive. While your iPhone may spend time in your briefcase or purse, your car is an outward symbol of your values and your income. Carmakers know this, and they are more than happy to accommodate people who want to express their style with steel and pistons.
Most every luxury auto maker produces an “entry level” model – a model that is beyond, but not too far beyond, the price someone would pay for a decent standard sedan or SUV. Generally, entry level luxury cars will run from $30,000 to $35,000. Mercedes-Benz has its C-Class, BMW has the 3 Series, Lexus has the IS and ES, and Infiniti has the G35. Cadillac, Lincoln, Volvo, and Jaguar are also luxury car companies that make entry level vehicles.
In general, these models offer more comfort and style than typical cars, and let people have a taste of luxury without having to pay an astronomical sum. Because many of these vehicles are within the price range of middle class customers who either manage their money well or have plenty of credit, market competition for these models is fierce.
Midsize luxury cars cost from $35,000 to $60,000 and include features such as recent safety innovations, a V6 or V8 engine, and technological innovations that have not worked their way into less expensive models. German automakers dominate this segment of the luxury car industry, with 47% of the market, followed by American automakers with 30% and Japanese with 23%. Midsize luxury cars are sometimes referred to as “executive cars.”
The top of the line, or “flagship” models make up the most expensive segment of the luxury car market. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Jaguar XJ, the Lexus LS, and the BMW 7 Series are all considered flagship models. These cars cost from $60,000 to $100,000, and are often seen on television being driven by celebrities and highly compensated athletes. High-end luxury cars’ association with the rich and famous is a big part of what motivates ordinary people to want such models.
If you are considering investing in a luxury car, spend time doing some research in consumer publications and in online discussion forums first. Even the entry level luxury cars represent a big investment for most people, and you want to end up with something that makes you happy, not just something that will make others envious.