2023 was a healthy year for the auto industry, and even with incentives returning and dealer lots filling up, there's plenty to like about the market if you build luxury automobiles, and we expect 2024 to be more of the same, which makes luxury-segment rivalries all the more interesting. Top luxury car brand rivalries? Well, that sounds downright uncivilized. But we know better, don't we? And when every quarterly sales update is an opportunity to remind somebody else that they bought the wrong status symbol, well, who can resist? Certainly not the diehard customers who fly their favorite brands' banners high.
This is a tricky segment to define, but essentially, we're looking at luxury car brands with depth to their portfolios and dealerships that exist to attract real-world customers. The Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and McLarens of the world are luxury cars, certainly, but we're more concerned with brands that have a bit more mass appeal — manufacturers who treat supply constraints as fiascos rather than features. If you disagree with our selections, feel free to let us know in the comments.
And since we're mostly concerned with finishing order, the luxury brands and totals featured here may change as new data come in throughout 2024. Due to the wild swings of the past several years, we're treating 2023 as the baseline by which we'll measure sales performance. And rather than rank brands vs. their finishing order in 2022, when supply-chain and inflationary issues still played havoc with sales figures, we're starting 2024 off with a clean slate.
The mainstream luxury segment is always a dogfight, but with their varied approaches to electrification all of the major luxury brands are in the midst of reshaping the premium landscape. Who is doing it right? Well, according to U.S. shoppers, the usual suspects are up to their old tricks. Here are the numbers and why they matter.
The numbers from 2023
BMW - 362,244
Lexus - 320,249
Mercedes-Benz - 282,229*
Audi - 228,550
Cadillac - 147,214
Acura - 145,655
Volvo - 128,701
Lincoln - 81,818
Porsche - 75,415
Jaguar-Land Rover - 73,139
Genesis - 69,175
Infiniti - 64,699
Alfa Romeo - 10,898
Maserati - 6,580
*With Mercedes-Benz Vans: 351,746
Why they matter
We could tell you that we can discern certain larger trends from the results in this segment, but frankly, we'd be talking out of our tailpipes. Why do these figures matter? Plainly, the competition is fun. Watching rivalries develop and manufacturers gain and lose ground is fascinating in its own right. Here are 6 luxury brands we have our eye on in 2024:
The launch of the Tonale should give Alfa a badly needed shot in the arm. This accessible plug-in hybrid should help build the brand's electrified credibility too; here's hoping the brand's quality metrics continue their upward trajectory.
Ultium has been sketchy for GM so far and Cadillac is counting on the Lyriq and forthcoming Optiq and Escalade IQ to help buoy its electric volumes, but deliveries thus far have been few and far between — and fraught besides.
This brand has been on the "to watch" list since its inception, but thanks to a tumultuous launch and subsequent re-launch, it has really only recently found its footing.
The volume crown has been BMW's to lose for a while now, but the usual suspects are nipping at its heels. Roughly 40,000 units separate BMW from second-place Lexus, and the gap from Toyota's subsidiary to Mercedes-Benz is about the same size. We wouldn't expect to see a 40,000-unit swing in anybody's favor in any given year, but as quickly as this segment evolves, we can't rule anything out.
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