When Daniel Tijerina determined to trade-up from a Subaru Impreza sedan right into a luxurious model, he didn’t have a look at a sporty coupe with velocity aplenty or soft sedans with modern silhouettes. As an alternative, he drove dwelling final month in a brand new Cadillac XT4, a plastic-clad crossover SUV.
What it lacks in dealing with and panache, the squat Normal Motors Co. sports activities utility automobile made up for in attributes the 25-year-old credit score analyst needed: A car-like journey with excessive seating and touchscreen apps that make it simple to order a pizza en path to his Fort Value, Texas-area dwelling.
“It clearly sits greater, however it doesn’t really feel any totally different from a automobile in the case of driving and efficiency,” Tijerina stated.
These well-liked options assist clarify why SUVs now make up 60% of luxurious automobile gross sales within the U.S., based on knowledge from Edmunds, pushing apart the as soon as mainstay sedan because the premium journey of alternative for well-heeled auto consumers.
For generations, the gilded carriages for rich American households have been giant, cozy saloon cars from Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln model and GM’s Cadillac. These storied nameplates misplaced floor in more moderen many years to Asian and European marques resembling BMW AG, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Lexus from Toyota Motor Corp. However till lately these manufacturers’ best-sellers have been sedans.
The earliest luxurious SUVs date again to the late 1990s with automobiles such because the Lexus RX and Lincoln Navigator. However these manufacturers nonetheless considered sedans such because the Lexus LS and Lincoln City Automobile as their flagship fashions.
Sport utilities and crossovers first overtook sedans within the mainstream automobile market 5 years in the past. It took longer for luxurious consumers to make an identical transition, however now automakers are racing to ramp up manufacturing to satisfy demand. Edmunds says the variety of SUV choices has grown to greater than 60 totally different automobiles, double the quantity supplied a decade in the past.
“The luxurious section has tailored in a short time,” stated Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst at Edmunds. “We’ve actually seen them rush out recent automobiles to the market.”
Lately, sedans are lingering on vendor heaps whereas crossovers and SUVs fly out of showrooms. Seven of the 10 best-selling luxurious automobiles final 12 months have been crossovers or SUVs, based on Automobile and Driver journal. These embody the Cadillac XT5 (No. 9), Mercedes GLC (No. 5) and Lexus RX (No. 2).
Sports activities automobile specialist Porsche obtained almost two-thirds of its gross sales from SUVs in 2018, and Aston Martin says the debut of its first SUV later this 12 months is important to the British automaker’s viability.
Years into the luxurious SUV craze, analysts say the shift away from sedans reveals no indicators of reversing course, with dozens of extra crossover and SUV launches within the pipeline. Financial institution of America Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy estimates nearly half of recent or redesigned crossover utility automobiles launched over the subsequent 4 years are aimed on the luxurious market.
“It’d high out in some unspecified time in the future not too far sooner or later, however it appears like there’s a bit bit extra gasoline left within the tank within the SUV transition,” Acevedo stated.
Rising gasoline costs snuffed out a SUV boomlet within the mid-2000s, and an identical spike in pump costs at the moment might need a dampening impact. One other attainable diversion may very well be the rising recognition of electrical motor-powered sports activities sedans.
Tesla Inc.’s Mannequin three was the best-selling luxurious automobile final 12 months and the upcoming electric-powered Porsche Taycan mannequin from Volkswagen AG can also be turning heads.
Jim Navarro and his spouse have owned a number of luxurious SUVs going again greater than 20 years, together with an Audi, Land Rover and Vary Rover. His newest is an all-wheel drive Volvo XC90, which the Las Vegas actual property dealer bought final month.
However the 55-year-old trendsetter is already occupied with being one of many first Taycan homeowners. “That is perhaps our subsequent automobile in our household,” he stated.