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Saturday, October 16, 2010

In a Weak Economy, Luxury Brands Are Thriving

The automotive industry is an unsteady one, beset by fluctuating gas prices and the whims of vehicular fashion. The luxury segment has traditionally been insulated from the economy's ebb and flow, tied as it is to consumers who have a great deal of financial cushioning. According to industry analysis house, the past nine months have not contained any surprises: In a time when most brands are just beginning to see a light at the end of the recession's tunnel, luxury carmakers are seeing a significant increase in sales. 

According to TrueCar, more than half of the 13 major luxury brands increased sales by more than 20 percent in 2010. On top of that, incentive spending — the amount that manufacturers spend in rebates, discounts and packages to get you in the door — among 10 of those brands dropped.  

TrueCar's numbers compare the past nine months with the same time period last year, and the company's published release contains a chart outlining the differences in spending and sales.

Cadillac led the luxury market this year, with a sales increase of 43.8 percent. Acura was close behind, with a 25.8 percent increase, followed by Infiniti, up 24.9 percent; Porsche, up 23.6 percent; and Audi, up 23.6 percent. The only high-end brands surveyed that did not show an increase were Saab and Volvo, with drops of 12 percent and 53.3 percent, respectively. Saab's decrease can largely be explained by the brand's ownership troubles and dearth of new products.

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