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A luxury car is a
car A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of ''cars'' say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four wheels File:Roue primitive.png, An early wheel made of a sol ...

car
that provides increased levels of
comfort Comfort (or being comfortable'')'' is a sense of physical or psychological pleasure, ease, often characterized as a lack of suffering, hardship. Persons who are lacking in comfort are uncomfortable, or experiencing discomfort. A degree of psyc ...
, equipment, amenities,
quality Quality may refer to: Concepts *Quality (business), the ''non-inferiority'' or ''superiority'' of something *Quality (philosophy), an attribute or a property *Quality (physics), in response theory *Energy quality, used in various science disciplin ...
, performance, and
status Status (Latin plural: ''statūs''), is a state, condition, or situation, and may refer to: * Status (law) Legal status is the position held by something or someone with regard to law. It is a set of privileges, obligations, powers or restricti ...
compared to regular cars for an increased price. The term is subjective and reflects both the qualities of the car and the
brand image A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money ...
of its manufacturer. Luxury brands rank above ''premium brands'', though there is no fixed demarcation between the two. Traditionally, most luxury cars were large
vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine that uses Power (physics), power to ...

vehicles
, though smaller sports-oriented models were always produced. “
Compact Compact as used in politics may refer broadly to a pact or treaty; in more specific cases it may refer to: * Interstate compact * Blood compact, an ancient ritual of the Philippines * Compact government, a type of colonial rule utilized in British N ...
“ luxury vehicles such as
hatchbacks A hatchback is a car body style, car body configuration with a rear door that swings upward to provide access to a cargo area. Hatchbacks may feature fold-down second row seating, where the interior can be reconfigured to prioritize passenger or ...

hatchbacks
, and off-road capable
sport utility vehicle A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive Four-wheel drive, also called 4x4 ("f ...
s, are relatively modern trends.


Classification standards

Several car classification schemes include a luxury category, such as: * Australia: Since the year 2000, the Federal Government's luxury car tax applies to new vehicles over a certain purchase price, with higher thresholds applying for cars considered as fuel efficient. As of 2019, the thresholds were approximately AU$66,000 (US$,000) for normal cars and AU$76,000 (US$,000) for fuel efficient cars. * Europe: Luxury cars are classified as
F-segment The F-segment is the 6th category and largest of the Euro Car Segment, European segments for passenger cars, and always belongs to "Luxury_vehicle#Luxury_saloon_/_full-size_luxury_sedan, luxury cars". The equivalent categories are full-size lux ...
vehicles in the European Commission classification scheme. * Italy: The term "auto di lusso" is used for luxury cars. * France: The term "voiture de luxe" is used for luxury cars. * Germany: The term german: Oberklasse (''upper class'') is used for luxury cars. * Russia: The term ( (''"representative class vehicle'', also translated as ''luxury vehicle'') is used for luxury cars. * Rental cars: The
ACRISS Car Classification Code The Association of Car Rental Industry Systems Standards (ACRISS) is an industry body for car rental companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Amongst the standards produced by ACRISS is the Car Classification Code. History ACRISS was for ...
is a system used by many
car rental A car rental, hire car, or car hire agency is a company that rents automobile A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of ''cars'' say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight peo ...
companies to define equivalent vehicles across brands. This system includes "Luxury" and "Luxury Elite" categories (along with "Premium" and "Premium Elite" categories). The criteria for a vehicle to be considered "luxury" is not published.


Characteristics


Features

Luxury cars have traditionally emphasized higher levels of comfort and safety, with manufacturers often introducing new safety technologies and comfort amenities on luxury models before they trickle down to mass-market models. Numerous "
smart car File:smart crossblade1.jpg, smart Crossblade Smart (stylized as smart) is a German automotive brand and Division (business), division of Daimler AG. The marque is based in Böblingen, Germany. It produces microcars and Subcompact car, subco ...
" features were found on luxury cars as early as 2009. Luxury vehicles can be a status symbol for
conspicuous consumption Conspicuous consumption is the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display the economic power of the income or of the accumulated wealth of the buyer. To the conspicuous consumer A consumer is a per ...
. However, since many European luxury car buyers shy away from conspicuous consumption, brands offer buyers the option of removing exterior badges that identify the model name or engine size. The suspension system of most luxury cars is tuned to prioritise
ride quality Ride quality refers to a vehicle's effectiveness in insulating the occupants from undulations in the road surface (e.g., bumps or corrugations). A vehicle with good ride quality provides a comfort for the driver and passengers. Importance Good rid ...
over handling, however some cars are marketed as "sports luxury" and have greater emphasis on handling characteristics.


Layout and powertrain

Traditionally, luxury cars have used a front-engine, rear-wheel drive (FR) layout. The FR layout is more expensive to produce and produces lower fuel economy than a front-wheel drive layout, however it allows for larger engines (particularly
straight-six The straight-six engine (also referred to as an inline-six engine; abbreviated I6 or L6) is an internal combustion engine An internal combustion engine (ICE) is a heat engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually ...
, V8, and V12) to be used. Since the introduction of the
Bentley Continental GT The Bentley Continental GT is a grand tourer manufactured and marketed by British automaker Bentley, Bentley Motors since 2003. It was the first car released by Bentley under Volkswagen AG management, after the company's acquisition in 1998, and ...
in 2003, an increasing number of luxury cars have used
all-wheel drive Image:Hayes Arbegui 2010.JPG, Hayes Truck, Hayes WHDX 70-170 6×6 tractor An all-wheel drive vehicle (AWD vehicle) is one with a powertrain capable of providing power to all its wheels, whether full-time or on-demand. The most common forms of al ...
. Many American luxury cars from the 1970s to the 1990s switched to a front-wheel drive layout with
transverse engine A transverse engine is an engine mounted in a vehicle so that the engine's crankshaft axis is perpendicular to the direction of travel. Many modern front-wheel drive vehicles use this engine mounting configuration. Most rear-wheel drive vehicles u ...
, due to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 and the 1979 fuel crises which eliminated many FR platforms in favor of the more economical
front-wheel drive Front-wheel drive (FWD) is a form of internal combustion engine, engine and transmission (mechanics), transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel-drive vehicles feature a tr ...
(FF) layout. From the early 2000s, several of these American luxury cars reverted to FR layouts.


History


European manufacturers

Prior to
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
, a wide array of European producers made luxury cars, including
Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce (always hyphenated) may refer to: * Rolls-Royce Limited Rolls-Royce was a British luxury car and later an aero-engine manufacturing business established in 1904 in Manchester Manchester () is a city and metropolitan borough in ...
,
Bugatti Automobiles Ettore Bugatti was a French car automotive industry, manufacturer of high performance vehicle, high-performance automobiles, founded in 1909 in the then-German Empire, German city of Molsheim, Alsace by the Italian-born industrial ...
,
Delage Delage is a French luxury automobile and racecar company founded in 1905 by Louis Delage in Levallois-Perret near Paris; it was acquired by Delahaye in 1935 and ceased operation in 1953. On 7 November 2019, the association "Les Amis de Delage" ...
,
Delahaye Delahaye was an automotive manufacturing company founded by Émile Delahaye in 1894, in Tours, France, his home town. His first cars were belt drive, belt-driven, with single- or twin-cylinder engines mounted at the rear. His Type One was an inst ...
,
Talbot-Lago Automobiles Talbot S.A. was a French automobile manufacturer based in Suresnes, Hauts de Seine, outside Paris. Origins Alexandre Darracq The Suresnes factory had been built by Alexandre Darracq for his pioneering car manufacturing business ...
,
Bentley Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of luxury cars A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality (business), quality, performance, and social status, status relative ...
,
Jaguar The jaguar (''Panthera onca'') is a large felid species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defi ...
, Alvis,
Avions Voisin Voisin C25 Aérodyne, 1934 Voisin C27 Avions Voisin was a France, French luxury automobile brand established by Gabriel Voisin in 1919 which traded until 1939. History Gabriel B. Voisin was an aviation pioneer and manufacturer who in 1919 ...
,
Isotta Fraschini Isotta Fraschini was an Italian luxury car manufacturer, also producing trucks, as well as engines for marine and aviation use. Founded in Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and th ...

Isotta Fraschini
,
Horch Horch was a car brand manufacturer, founded in Germany by August Horch & Cie at the beginning of the 20th century. It is one of the predecessors of the present day Audi company, which itself resulted from the NSU Motorenwerke#Volkswagen Group ...

Horch
, Simson,
Stoewer Stoewer was a Germany, German automobile manufacturer before World War II whose headquarters were in Szczecin, Stettin (Now Szczecin, Poland). The first company was founded by the Stoewer brothers, Emil (lived 1873 - 1942) and Bernhard (1875 - 193 ...

Stoewer
,
Maybach Maybach () is a German car brand that exists today as a part of Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz (), commonly referred to as Mercedes, is both a German automotive marque and, from late 2019 onwards, a subsidiary – as Mercedes-Benz AG – of ...

Maybach
,
Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz (), commonly referred to as Mercedes, is both a German automotive marque and, from late 2019 onwards, a subsidiary – as Mercedes-Benz AG – of Daimler AG. Mercedes-Benz is known for producing luxury vehicles and commercial vehi ...

Mercedes-Benz
,
Hispano Suiza Hispano-Suiza () is a Spanish automotive–engineering company and, after World War I, a French aviation engine and components manufacturer. It was founded in 1904 by Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt and Spanish investors. It is best known for its pr ...
,
Daimler Company The Daimler Company Limited ( ), prior to 1910 The Daimler Motor Company Limited, was an independent British motor vehicle manufacturer founded in London by Harry John Lawson, H. J. Lawson in 1896, which set up its manufacturing base in Cov ...
, and
Spyker Spyker or Spijker was a Dutch carriage, automobile and aircraft manufacturer, started in 1880 by blacksmiths Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker. Originally located in Hilversum Hilversum () is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. ...

Spyker
. France was a leading producer of powerful luxury automobiles prior to World War II. After World War II, the French government used ''puissance fiscale'' tax regulations to encourage manufacturers to build cars with small engines, and French motorists to buy them. The Maserati-powered and the
Citroën C6 The Citroën C6 is an executive car Executive car is a British term for a large car which is equivalent to the European E-segment and American full-size car, full-size classifications. Executive cars are larger than compact executive cars (and ...
were arguably the last domestic French luxury cars. In the 2010s, some French manufacturers have attempted to develop luxury cars, however the lack of a historical legacy has hindered these efforts. In 2014, Citroën introduced
DS Automobiles DS Automobiles is a French premium automotive marque founded in 2009 as a sub-marque of Citroën Citroën () is a French automobile manufacturer. It was founded in 1919 by industrialist André Citroën, and has been part of Stellantis since 2 ...
sub-brand to market luxury cars. Pre
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
intermediate car manufactures like
Renault Groupe Renault ( , , , also known as the Renault Group in English; legally Renault S.A.) is a French multinational automobile manufacturer established in 1899. The company produces a range of cars and vans, and in the past has manufactured t ...

Renault
,
Fiat Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. (, , ; originally FIAT, it, Fabbrica Italiana Automobili di Torino, lit=Italian Automobiles Factory, Turin) is an Italian automobile manufacturer, formerly part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and since 2021 a subsidiary of ...
,
Opel Opel Automobile GmbH (), usually shortened to Opel, is a German automobile manufacturer which is a subsidiary of Stellantis since 16 January 2021. It was owned by General Motors from 1929 until 2017 and the PSA Group, a predecessor of Stellanti ...

Opel
,
Lancia Lancia () is an Italian car manufacturer and a subsidiary of FCA Italy S.p.A., which is currently a Stellantis division. The present legal entity of Lancia was formed in January 2007 when its corporate parent reorganised its businesses, but its h ...
, Škoda, Riley,
Praga Locator map of Praga-Północ and Praga-Południe ">Praga-Południe.html" ;"title="Praga-Północ and Praga-Południe">Praga-Północ and Praga-Południe Praga is a district of Warsaw, Poland. It is on the east bank of the river Vistula T ...
,
Peugeot Peugeot (, , ) is a French brand of automobiles owned by Stellantis Stellantis N.V. is a multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, ...
,
Hillman Minx 1937, 1185 cc 4-cylinder Hillman is a British automobile marque created by the Hillman-Coatalen Company, founded in 1907, renamed the Hillman Motor Car Company in 1910. The company was based in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, near Coventry, Engl ...
, Tatra made luxury cars but were forced to make economy cars and superminis post
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
. Following World War II, Germany rose to become an export powerhouse, building on success with the Mercedes-Benz brand, later joined by
BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, commonly referred to as BMW (), is a German multinational corporation which produces luxury vehicle A luxury car is a car A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most defi ...

BMW
, which acquired Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, as well as
Volkswagen Volkswagen (;English: , . shortened to VW ) is a German motor vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Wolfsburg Wolfsburg ( , , ) is the fifth largest city in the German state of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, ...

Volkswagen
that controls
Audi Audi AG () is a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German lan ...

Audi
,
Porsche Dr.-Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, usually shortened to Porsche AG (; see below), is a German automobile manufacturer specializing in high-performance sports cars, SUVs A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines ele ...

Porsche
,
Bentley Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of luxury cars A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality (business), quality, performance, and social status, status relative ...
,
Lamborghini Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. () is an Italy, Italian brand and manufacturer of luxury sports cars and SUVs based in Sant'Agata Bolognese. The company is owned by the Volkswagen Group through its subsidiary Audi. Ferruccio Lamborghini, an Ita ...

Lamborghini
, and
Bugatti Automobiles Ettore Bugatti was a French car automotive industry, manufacturer of high performance vehicle, high-performance automobiles, founded in 1909 in the then-German Empire, German city of Molsheim, Alsace by the Italian-born industrial ...
brands. In the Soviet Union, the manufacturer
ZiL OJSC AMO ZiL, known fully as the Public Joint-Stock Company – Likhachov Plant () and more commonly called ZiL (, was a major Russian automobile, truck, military vehicle, and heavy equipment manufacturer that was based in Moscow, Russia. The las ...
(then called Zis) began producing representational limousines in the mid-1930s. In the early 1950s
GAZ GAZ or ''Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod'' (russian: ГАЗ or Го́рьковский автомоби́льный заво́д, , Gorky Automobile Plant) is a Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, ...
joined with the somewhat smaller "Chaika" model range.


North American manufacturers

The luxury car phenomenon began at the start of the automobile industry when the wealthy frequently invested in the manufacture of such models to gain the social prestige associated thereby. Emphasis was also placed on custom-built coachwork. The 1920s and 1930s were the apogee of production of these very large luxury automobiles from many manufacturers. The significant North American manufacturers from 1910-1940 were Auburn,
Buick Buick () is a division of the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the Un ...

Buick
,
Cadillac The Cadillac Motor Car Division is a division Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Divi ...

Cadillac
,
Chrysler Chrysler (; officially Stellantis North America) is one of the " Big Three" automobile manufacturer The automotive industry comprises a wide range of company, companies and organizations involved in the design, Business development, develop ...
,
Continental Continental may refer to: Places * Continent * Continental, Arizona, a small community in Pima County, Arizona, US * Continental, Ohio, a small town in Putnam County, US Arts and entertainment * Continental (album), ''Continental'' (album), an alb ...

Continental
,
Cord Cord or CORD may refer to: * Cord (unit), a unit of measurement for firewood and pulpwood used in North America * Electrical cable, in electronics ** Extension cord ** Power cord * String (structure) made of multiple strands twisted together or ** t ...
, Daniels, DeSoto,
Duesenberg Duesenberg Motors Company was an American manufacturer of racing cars and high-end luxury vehicle, luxury automobiles (sometimes referred to as Duesenberg#Etymological note, "Duesy"). It was founded by brothers August Duesenberg, August and Fr ...

Duesenberg
,
Franklin Franklin may refer to: People * Franklin (given name) * Franklin (surname) * Franklin (class), a member of a historical English social class Places Australia * Franklin, Tasmania, a township * Division of Franklin, federal electoral divis ...
,
Imperial Imperial is that which relates to an empire, emperor, or imperialism. Imperial or The Imperial may also refer to: Places United States * Imperial, California * Imperial, Missouri * Imperial, Nebraska * Imperial, Pennsylvania * Imperial, Texas * ...
,
LaFayette Lafayette or La Fayette may refer to: People * Lafayette (name), a list of people with the surname Lafayette or La Fayette or the given name Lafayette * House of La Fayette, a French noble family ** Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757– ...
, LaSalle, Lincoln, Marmon,
Packard Packard was an American luxury automobile marque built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit (strait) , nicknames = The Motor City, Motown, Renaissance City, City of the Straits, The D, D-Town, Hockeytown, The ...

Packard
,
Peerless The Peerless Motor Car Company was an American automobile manufacturer that produced the Peerless brand of motorcars in Cleveland Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio, and the count ...

Peerless
, Pierce Arrow, Ruxton,
Stearns-Knight F. B. Stearns and Company, later known as F.B. Stearns Company was an American manufacturer of luxury car A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality (business), quality, performance, and social ...
, and
Stutz The Stutz Motor Car Company, was an American producer of high-end sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive physical activity or game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensi ...
. The Great Depression put many luxury car manufacturers out of business; others would hold on before going defunct during the postwar era. From 1946 to the late 1990s, Cadillac was the top selling brand of luxury cars in the U.S. and Lincoln was second. The most successful and long-running model names during this era were the
Cadillac DeVille The Cadillac DeVille was originally a trim level and later a separate model produced by Cadillac The Cadillac Motor Car Division is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors Company (GM) that designs and builds lu ...

Cadillac DeVille
and
Lincoln Continental The Lincoln Continental is a series of Mid-size car , mid-sized and Full-size car, full-sized luxury cars produced by Lincoln Motor Company, Lincoln, a division of the American automaker Ford Motor Company. The model line was introduced followin ...

Lincoln Continental
. The
personal luxury car Personal luxury car is a North American car classification describing somewhat sporty, sophisticated Mass market, mass-market coupés that emphasized comfort over performance. The North American manufacturers most often combined engineering, desig ...
emerged into mass popularity and affordability as an America-specific category of popularly-priced cars made from the 1950s by the four domestic manufacturers (GM, Ford, Chrysler, and AMC) that reached peak popularity in the 1970s. The cars were stylized, mass produced two-door
coupé A coupe or coupé is a passenger car with a sloping or truncated rear roofline and two doors. The term ''coupé'' was first applied to horse-drawn carriages for two passengers without rear-facing seats. It comes from the French translation of " ...
s or
convertible A convertible or cabriolet () is a passenger car Passenger car may refer to: * A car (automobile) as opposed to a truck * Passenger car (Ferris wheel), a compartment for carrying passengers * Passenger car (rail), railway rolling stock for carr ...
s, relying on standard components. These distinctively styled cars were targeting the needs of individual customers, not an entire family. The longest running model lines were the 1958-1997
Ford Thunderbird The Ford Thunderbird (colloquially called the T-Bird) is a personal luxury car produced by Ford Motor Company, Ford from model years 1955 until 1997 and 2002 until 2005 throughout 11 distinct generations. Introduced as a two-seat convertible, t ...

Ford Thunderbird
and the 1967-2002
Cadillac Eldorado The Cadillac Eldorado is a luxury car manufactured and marketed by Cadillac from 1952 to 2002 over twelve generations. The Eldorado was at or near the top of the Cadillac line. The original 1953 Eldorado convertible and the Eldorado Brougham mo ...

Cadillac Eldorado
. In 1990, American luxury brands dominated with Cadillac selling over a quarter-million cars and Lincoln had its best year ever at 231,660 units. However, the market was changing with an ever greater acceptance of smaller, more efficient imported luxury brands while at the same time the domestic manufacturers were downsizing their models with product decisions that backfired on quality and brand respect. Since the late 1990s, Japanese and German brands have sold the most luxury-type cars in the United States. However the
Cadillac Escalade The Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury SUV engineered and manufactured by General Motors General Motors Company (GM) is an Passenger vehicles in the United States, American multinational corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, US ...
has led the luxury SUV segment sales in the United States since its introduction in 1998, with the highest sales for 15 out of its first 20 years on the market. In the 2000s, both Ford and General Motors produced luxury pickups: the 2002-2013
Cadillac Escalade EXT The Cadillac Escalade is a Full-size car, full-size luxury SUV engineered and manufactured by General Motors. It was Cadillac's first major entry into the SUV market. The Escalade was introduced for the 1999 model year in response to competition f ...
, 2002-2003
Lincoln Blackwood The Lincoln Blackwood is a luxury car, luxury pickup truck that was marketed by the Lincoln Motor Company, Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company for the 2002 model year. The first pickup truck marketed by Lincoln, the Blackwood was derived from th ...

Lincoln Blackwood
and 2006-2014
Lincoln Mark LT The Lincoln Mark LT is a luxury pickup truck A pickup truck or pickup is a light-duty truck that has an enclosed cabin and an open cargo In economics, the word cargo refers in particular to goods or produce being conveyed—general ...

Lincoln Mark LT
. In the late 2000s, the
Cadillac CTS The Cadillac CTS is an executive car Executive car is a British term for a large car which is equivalent to the European E-segment and American full-size car, full-size classifications. Executive cars are larger than compact executive cars (and ...

Cadillac CTS
and
Cadillac DTS The Cadillac DTS (short for ''DeVille Touring Sedan'') is a full-size luxury sedan that was produced by Cadillac The Cadillac Motor Car Division is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors Company (GM) that design ...

Cadillac DTS
led to a resurgence in the brand's luxury sedans. The equivalent sedan from the Ford group, the 2008
Lincoln MKS The Lincoln MKS is a full-sized luxury sedan that was manufactured and marketed by the Lincoln subdivision of Ford from 2008 to 2016. First shown at the LA Auto Show in November 2007, the MKS began production for the 2009 model year at Ford's ...

Lincoln MKS
, was also regarded as a significant improvement over previous models. In 2010, BMW was the best-selling luxury vehicle manufacturer by sales, with Audi and Mercedes-Benz the second and third highest selling luxury brands.


East Asian manufacturers

Chinese manufacturer Hongqi was launched in 1958, making it the oldest Chinese luxury car marque. Later new comers joined taking advantage of the rise of electric powertrains, with NEV brands such as
NIO or are two wrathful and muscular guardians of the Buddha The Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni) was a philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philo ...
in 2014, Li Auto in 2015, and
HiPhi HiPhi is an automobile manufacturer headquartered in Shanghai, specializing in designing and developing Electric car, electric vehicles. HiPhi is the brand under the Human Horizons company focusing on the development of new energy vehicles. The fir ...
in 2019 producing luxury electric and hybrid vehicles. Japanese manufacturers have been producing luxury cars since the 1950s, including the
Toyota Crown The is an automobile A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of ''cars'' say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four wheels, and mainly transport people rather ...

Toyota Crown
(1955–present), (1959–2004),
Nissan Cedric The is a large automobile produced by Nissan Motors, Nissan since 1960. It was developed to provide upscale transportation, competing with the Prince Skyline and Prince Gloria, Gloria which were later merged into the Nissan family. In later years, ...
(1960–2015),
Mitsubishi Debonair The Mitsubishi Debonair (Japanese 三菱・デボネア) is a four-door luxury car A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality (business), quality, performance, and social status, status relative ...
(1964–1998),
Nissan President The is a Japanese luxury car, luxury limousine that was produced by Nissan from 1965 to 2010. The car was mainly used by corporate executives and government officials. It is a luxury sedan specifically aimed to the Japanese market, where its mai ...
(1965–2010),
Toyota Century The is a luxury vehicle produced mainly for the Japanese market, serving as Toyota The is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational Automotive industry, automotive manufacturer headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. It was founde ...
(1967–present), Mazda Luce/929 (1969–1991), and
Honda Legend :''Sections of this article are translated from Japanese Wikipedia The is the Japanese-language edition of Wikipedia Wikipedia ( or ) is a free, multilingual open-collaborative online encyclopedia created and maintained by a commun ...

Honda Legend
(1985–present). Since the 1980s, overseas sales of Japanese luxury cars have increased, challenging traditional European luxury brands. Several East Asian manufacturers have created sub-brands for the marketing of luxury cars. The first of these was the 1986 launch of
Acura Acura is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Honda is a Japanese public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality ...

Acura
(a Honda sub-brand), followed by
Lexus is the luxury vehicle A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality, performance, and status relative to regular cars for an increased price. The term is subjective and reflects both the qua ...

Lexus
(Toyota) in 1989,
Infiniti is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Nissan. Infiniti officially started selling vehicles on November 8, 1989, in North America. The marketing network for Infiniti-branded vehicles included dealers in over 50 countries in the 20 ...

Infiniti
(Nissan) in 1989 and
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain * Genesis, a fictional character from the ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'' comic-book series * ''Genes ...
(Hyundai) in 2015.


Global financial crisis

The late-2000s
global financial crisis Global means of or referring to a globe A globe is a spherical physical model, model of Earth, of some other astronomical object, celestial body, or of the celestial sphere. Globes serve purposes similar to some maps, but unlike maps, do not dis ...
was the first time since the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning Great Depression in the United States, in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied around the world; in mos ...
of the 1930s that the luxury car market suffered considerably, something not seen in previous economic downturns. Many such customers saw their net worth decline following the collapse in financial markets and real-estate values. For example, some of the steepest drop-offs came at the high end, including the
BMW 7 Series The BMW 7 Series is a full-size luxury sedan produced by the German automaker BMW since 1977. It is the successor to the BMW E3 "New Six" sedan and is currently in its sixth generation. The 7 Series is BMW's flagship car and is only available ...

BMW 7 Series
and Rolls-Royce Phantom, and in 2010 Mercedes-Benz unexpectedly dropped the price of the W212 E-Class. The unusually sharp decline in luxury car sales have led observers to believe that there is a fundamental shift and reshaping of the luxury automotive market, with one industry official suggesting that the marques no longer command the premiums that they used to, and another saying that conspicuous consumption was no longer attractive in poor economic conditions. Additionally, mainstream brands have been able to offer amenities and devices such as leather, wood, and anti-lock brakes, previously found only on luxury cars, as the costs decline. However, luxury vehicle sales did not collapse as much as their non-luxury counterparts. This was aided by growing interest in luxury vehicles from emerging markets such as China and Russia. Sales in the entry-level luxury segment remained strong throughout the GFC, due to prices being lowered to compete with well-equipped non-luxury cars. For example, in Canada, several luxury manufacturers set sales records in August 2009, due mostly to discounted pricing on entry-level luxury vehicles.


Brands

Some auto manufacturers market their luxury models using the same
marque A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money ...

marque
as the rest of their line. Others have created a separate marque (e.g.
Lexus is the luxury vehicle A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality, performance, and status relative to regular cars for an increased price. The term is subjective and reflects both the qua ...

Lexus
, launched by
Toyota is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign sta ...

Toyota
in 1989) or purchased one (e.g.
Bentley Bentley Motors Limited is a British manufacturer and marketer of luxury cars A luxury car is a car that provides increased levels of comfort, equipment, amenities, quality (business), quality, performance, and social status, status relative ...
, by
Volkswagen Volkswagen (;English: , . shortened to VW ) is a German motor vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Wolfsburg Wolfsburg ( , , ) is the fifth largest city in the German state of Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, ...

Volkswagen
in 1998). Occasionally, a luxury car is initially sold under a mainstream marque and is later
rebranded Rebranding is a marketing strategy Marketing strategy is a long-term, forward-looking approach and an overall game plan of any organization or any business with the fundamental goal of achieving a sustainable competitive advantage In business, ...
under a specific luxury marque (for example the Hyundai's
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain * Genesis, a fictional character from the ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'' comic-book series * ''Genes ...

Genesis
to
Genesis G80 The Genesis G80 ( ko, 제네시스 G80) is an Executive car, executive Sedan (automobile), sedan manufactured by Korean luxury automaker Genesis Motor, Genesis, which is owned by Hyundai Motor Company. The first-generation G80 model was originally ...

Genesis G80
as well as the
Citroën DS The Citroën DS (), and its less expensive variant, the Citroën ID, are front-engined, front-wheel drive executive car Executive car is a British term for a large car which is equivalent to the European E-segment and American full-size car, ...

Citroën DS
to
DS 5 The DS 5 is a compact executive hatchback A hatchback is a car body style, car body configuration with a rear door that swings upward to provide access to a cargo area. Hatchbacks may feature fold-down second row seating, where the interi ...
). For mass-produced luxury cars, sharing of Car platform, platforms or components with other models is common, as per modern automotive industry practice.


Market categories


Premium compact / Subcompact executive

The premium compact class is the category of the smallest luxury cars. It became popular in the mid-2000s, when European manufacturers— such as Audi, Volvo, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz— introduced new entry-level models that were smaller and cheaper than their compact executive car, compact executive models. Examples include the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, CLA-Class, Audi A3, Volvo S40, BMW 1 Series, and BMW 2 Series, 2 Series. Premium compacts compete with well-equipped mid-size cars, and highly optioned premium compact cars can have pricing and features that overlaps with compact executive cars. File:2019_Mercedes-Benz_A220,_front_8.22.19.jpg, Mercedes-Benz A-Class (W177), Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2018–present) File:2020 BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe Front.jpg, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé (2019–present) File:Audi_A3_8Y_Sedan_IMG_3577.jpg, Audi A3#Mk4, Audi A3 (2020–present)


Compact executive / compact luxury

A compact executive car or a compact luxury car is a premium car larger than a Luxury car#Premium compact, premium compact and smaller than an executive car. In European classification, compact executive cars are part of the D-segment. In North American terms, close equivalents are "compact premium car", "compact luxury car", "entry-level luxury car" and "near-luxury car". File:MB W206 1.jpg, Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W206), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2021–present) File:2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia (952) sedan (2018-11-22) 01.jpg, Alfa Romeo Giulia (952), Alfa Romeo Giulia (2015–present) File:Volvo S60 T5 R Monrepos 2019 IMG 1886.jpg, Volvo S60#Third generation (2019–present), Volvo S60 (2019–present)


Executive / mid-size luxury

Executive car is a British English, British term for an automobile larger than a large family car. In official use, the term is adopted by Euro NCAP, a European organization founded to test for car safety. It is a passenger car classification defined by the European Commission. File:2016 Mercedes-Benz E220d AMG Line Premium+ 2.0 Front.jpg, Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W213), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2017–present) File:2018_BMW_540i_in_white,_front_right.jpg, BMW 5 Series (G30), BMW 5 Series (2017–present) File:2021_Genesis_G80_2.5T_AWD_in_Uyuni_White,_front_right.jpg, Genesis G80, Genesis G80 (2016–present)


Luxury saloon / full-size luxury sedan

The next category of luxury cars is known in Great Britain as a "luxury saloon" or "luxury limousine," and is known in the United States as a full-size luxury sedan, large luxury sedan, or flagship sedan. It is the equivalent of the European
F-segment The F-segment is the 6th category and largest of the Euro Car Segment, European segments for passenger cars, and always belongs to "Luxury_vehicle#Luxury_saloon_/_full-size_luxury_sedan, luxury cars". The equivalent categories are full-size lux ...
and German :de:Oberklasse, Oberklasse segment. Many of these luxury saloons are the flagship for the marque and include the newest automotive technology. Several models are available in long-wheelbase versions, which provide additional rear legroom and may have a higher level of standard features. Examples of luxury saloons / full-size luxury sedans include the
BMW 7 Series The BMW 7 Series is a full-size luxury sedan produced by the German automaker BMW since 1977. It is the successor to the BMW E3 "New Six" sedan and is currently in its sixth generation. The 7 Series is BMW's flagship car and is only available ...

BMW 7 Series
,Jaguar XJ, Cadillac CT6 Genesis G90, Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Lexus LS, and Maserati Quattroporte. File:Mercedes-Benz W223 IMG 3970.jpg, Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W223), Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2020–present) File:2019 BMW 740Li Automatic facelift 3.0.jpg, BMW 7 Series (G11), BMW 7 Series (2015–present) File:Audi_A8_50_TDI_(D5)_–_Frontansicht,_24._Dezember_2017,_Velbert.jpg, Audi A8, Audi A8 (2018–present)


Ultra-luxury

Luxury cars costing over (as of 2007) can be considered as "ultra-luxury cars". Examples include the Rolls-Royce Phantom VII, Rolls-Royce Phantom, Mercedes-Maybach S600, Maybach S650, Hongqi L5, Bentley Flying Spur (2005), Bentley Flying Spur,
Toyota Century The is a luxury vehicle produced mainly for the Japanese market, serving as Toyota The is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational Automotive industry, automotive manufacturer headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. It was founde ...
and Aurus Senat. High-end sports cars which are targeted towards performance rather than luxury are not usually classified as ultra-luxury cars, even when their cost is greater than . The history of a brand and the exclusivity of a particular model can result in Price premium, price premiums compared to luxury cars with similar features from less prestigious manufacturers. Ultra-luxury cars are usually selected as the official state car. File:Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII EWB Genf 2018.jpg, Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII
(2017–present) File:Bentley Mulsanne, GIMS 2019, Le Grand-Saconnex (GIMS1013).jpg, Bentley Mulsanne (2010), Bentley Mulsanne
(2010–2020) File:Aurus Senat Genf 2019 1Y7A5897.jpg, Aurus Senat
(2021–present)


Grand tourer


Luxury SUV/Crossover

Long before the luxury SUV segment became popular in the 1990s, the vehicle in this segment was the 1966 Jeep Wagoneer (SJ)#Super Wagoneer, Jeep Super Wagoneer, which was marketed at the time as a station wagon. It was the first off-road SUV to offer a V8 engine and automatic transmission along with luxury car trim and equipment. Standard features included bucket seating, a center console, air conditioning, a seven-position tilt steering wheel, a vinyl roof, and gold-colored trim panels on the body sides and tailgate. By the late 1970s, optional equipment included an electric sunroof. The 1978 Jeep Wagoneer Limited was the spiritual successor to the Super Wagoneer and was the first four-wheel drive car to use leather upholstery. Another early luxury SUV is the Range Rover Classic, Range Rover. Released in 1970 as a two-door and a four-door version in 1981, the model was pushed upmarket in 1983 by introducing an automatic transmission (Chrysler's A727 TorqueFlite) as an option. The Range Rover had a long-travel coil-spring suspension and an aluminium V8 engine. In the mid-1990s, the SUV market expanded with new entrants. By the mid-1990s, the entry-level Ford Explorer and upscale Jeep Grand Cherokee were the market leaders for SUVs. The fastest-growing sector of this market was for the so-called luxury SUVs, which included the Jeep Grand Cherokee ... the Grand Cherokee's allure: "This vehicle is proof you can have a true off-road vehicle without giving up luxuries and amenities" with the Jeep providing a crucial new intangible factor for buyers—image. The SUV models generated higher profit margins than passenger cars, and car manufacturers began introducing new luxury SUVs during the late 1990s. SUVs such as the 1995 Lexus LX, 1997 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and 1998 Lincoln Navigator were the first SUVs produced by these luxury car brands. Some of these early luxury SUV models used Vehicle frame#Unibody, unibody construction, becoming part of the trend moving away from the body-on-frame construction traditionally used by off-road vehicles. During the mid-2000s, SUVs from luxury car brands grew at almost 40% in the United States to more than 430,000 vehicles (excluding SUV-only brands like Hummer and Land Rover), at a time when luxury car sales suffered a 1% decline, and non-luxury SUV sales were flat. By 2004, 30% of major luxury brands' U.S. sales were SUVs. Crossover (automobile), Crossover SUVs became increasingly popular in the mid-2000s, and manufacturers also began to produce luxury versions of crossovers. The Lexus RX was the earliest luxury crossover on the market, and it has since been the best-selling luxury vehicle in the US. Some luxury crossovers are built on a car platform, platform shared with sedans or hatchbacks. For example, the Infiniti FX is based upon the same platform as the Infiniti_G-series_(Q40/Q60)#Third_generation_(V35,_2002–2007), Infiniti G35 sedans and coupes. While early luxury crossovers released in the late 1990s have resembled traditional boxy SUVs, later crossovers, such as the Infiniti FX and BMW X6, have been designed with a sporting appearance. Despite the increased popularity of crossover models, luxury versions of traditional SUVs remain in production, often being badge engineering, badge-engineered versions of their non-luxury SUVs. Examples include the Lexus LX, Infiniti QX80, and Lincoln Navigator, which are the premium versions of the Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol, and Ford Expedition respectively. Research data from the mid-2000s suggested that luxury SUV buyers did not consider traditional luxury cars (e.g. sedans and coupes), therefore the SUV is becoming the key to bringing new customers to the luxury dealerships. Luxury car companies have increasingly introduced SUV or crossover models in the 2010s. For example, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Bentley Bentayga, Aston Martin DBX, Maserati Levante, and Lamborghini Urus.


See also

* Car classification * Luxury goods


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Luxury Vehicle Luxury vehicles, Car classifications