What’s Happened to American Luxury Cars?
I just read that American near-luxury buyers prefer, umm, the Hyundai Genesis to the competition—for the second straight year. And, with demand for luxury cars rising, most of the gains seem to be going to the Germans—plus a few bones thrown to Jaguar, Acura, and Land Rover. Where are the American brands?
Only one is making progress: Cadillac’s SRX crossover sales increased 750 percent over last July. In general, full-size pickups and big fat SUVs are selling, too, as pent-up demand surges for at least a while.
Cadillac is doing something right. While the SRX is a front-wheel-drive beast, the CTS wagon (above) may finally represent a successful attempt to compete with cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series wagons. And it does so on its own American terms.
Now comes (later this year) the CTS-V Sports Wagon, with 556 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque. This ought to be a killer car.
Are American manufacturers finally getting serious about luxury cars? Well, I don’t think Lincoln is. It is coasting on Ford’s success with its mainstream cars, and Lincolns are little more than “upgraded Ford models with differentiated styling.”
Too bad they didn’t differentiate a little more. These are just plain plug-ugly cars—from gaping shark’s tooth grille to bulging rear. The MKT crossover (shown here), for example, would embarrass any self-respecting hip-hop artist, much less a minister, who drove it.
Linclon is supposedly creating new cars, but they are some years down the road.
The Caddy CTS wagons, first designed for the European market, have dramatic styling, performance to die for, and an American approach to traveling comfort and convenience that used to make our wagons the standard of the world.
Which would you buy, and why: the Benz E-Class wagon, the BMW 5 Series, or the CTS?