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Thread: What defines a Luxury vehicle ?

  1. #1
    billeee is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
    Automobile(s): 2011 DTS 2012 CTS
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    What defines a Luxury vehicle ?

    In the past the luxury car segment was defined by several factors, including:

    1) They were bigger

    2) They had large, quiet, engines

    3) They had features not available on average cars

    As a result, they could command a higher price.

    With the advent of government-mandated fuel economy standards, all manufacturers are increasingly forced to build smaller cars with smaller engines (like the new ATS and BMW 4-bangers).

    So how will the luxury brands justify their higher prices in the future? It seems like the only avenue left is features. I get the impression that the luxury manufacturers are really scratching for features you can't get in a Honda Accord. Thus we get stuff like an iPad in the dashboard and seats that vibrate your butt when a car is coming. The problem is that electronics get cheaper to manufacture over time and the number of things that a driver can interact with, without driving into a tree, is limited.

    My conclusion is that cars will become more and more like commodities (think desktop PC's) and there will be fewer things that can justify a premium price. The final blow will be self-driving cars where the only features of interest will be seat comfort and the sound system.

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  3. #2
    Jesda's Avatar
    Jesda is offline Super Moderator
    Automobile(s): 2002 Seville STS F55, 2006 Mazda Miata
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Re: What defines a Luxury vehicle ?

    There's luxury (Bentley, Rolls Royce), and there's upscale middle class (Cadillac, BMW).

    Somewhere in between the two extremes is Jaguar and Land Rover.

  4. #3
    investor74 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
    Automobile(s): '97 Forest Green Catera
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: What defines a Luxury vehicle ?

    4) They use better, more attractive and more expensive materials.
    5) They are better looking. An ATS is a compact car. Does it look better than the average compact car?
    6) Things work better and are more solid for the most part - windows roll up and down more smoothly, knobs turn smoothly and feel substantial, turn signal stalks work just right, door handles work more smoothly. When you touch a control in the car, the word "flimsy" should not pop into your head like it often does in a cheap car.
    7) Longer warranties and premium dealer experience.

    I believe the last five define the segment now.

  5. #4
    JSATS is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
    Automobile(s): 2015 SRX Luxury
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Re: What defines a Luxury vehicle ?

    I would say that luxury has alot to do with how comfortable you are in a car and the quality materials around you. Luxury no longer is just defined by how big something is. The ATS and BMW 3 series along with other cars like the Audi A4 are considered luxury performance sedans. Thats a completely different kind of luxury car aimed at a completely different car enthusiast. I owned many Pontiac Grand Prix's and such that were loaded and thought they were a performance luxury car. That was until I test rode a few BMW's and Audi's and were blown away with the quality and performance they offered that I never had been exposed to before. After owning two Audi's this will be my first american built car since my 2002 Grand Prix. When my wife and I test drove the ATS we got the same feel from it that we had when we first test drove the BMW and Audi. My wife was blown away with it so much that she thought it rode and handled better than her Audi. The quality of the interior and how it felt behind the wheel also was very impressive. It had the same quality feel both our Audis had and that says alot when you consider Audi has been the benchmark for quality interiors for some time now. I think that luxury can be felt as soon as you sit behind the wheel and thats what my definition of luxury is.


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