2012 Year End Top 30 Best-Selling Luxury Vehicles In America


2013 Infiniti JX35 silver white
Infiniti’s JX35 Is The Only Vehicle In
The Top 30 Which Wasn’t On Sale All Year

Clearly not selling at pre-recession levels, when 140,000 landed in U.S. driveways, the BMW 3-Series still ended 2012 more than 4000 sales ahead of its nearest premium brand rival. The second-ranked Lexus RX is certainly dominant in its own way: its nearest SUV/CUV rival is 35,537 sales abaft.

As you may have just read in the December 2012 edition of this post, GCBC will be dramatically altering the best-selling luxury post when the January edition appears at the beginning of February.

But it has become clear that the amount of overlap between premium brands and mainstream brands results in a very subjective post that doesn’t accurately reflect where big spenders spray their automotive dollars. Rather than list an Acura ILX as America’s 27th-best-selling luxury vehicle, we’d rather show that 1110 American new car buyers spent at least $92,350 on a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

U.S. luxury auto brand market share chart 2012 year end
Click Market Share Chart For Larger View

Once a price limit is chosen, it will seem unfair to the vehicles which are definitely luxurious but too inexpensive. Obviously, a minimum base price of $40,000, or $45,000, or $50,000 cuts out some very high-end vehicles. Yet it’s the easiest way of excluding the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and including the Buick Enclave, for example.

Before that change takes effect, you have this list of the 30 best-selling luxury vehicles in America for 2012. 16 are cars, 14 are SUVs or crossovers of one sort or another. Cadillac and Lincoln combined for five Detroit appearances. German brands owned twelve spots, including the first and last. That left two Volvos and eleven Asian nameplates.

Expect to see something a little different in the results below? Find the sales figures for any currently marketed vehicle by making your selection at GCBC’s Sales Stats home.

Updated at 11:15 AM AT on 01.06.2013

Rank
Best-Selling
Luxury Vehicle
2012
2011
% Change
#1
BMW 3-Series
99,602 94,371 + 5.5%
#2
Lexus RX
95,381 82,595 + 15.5%
#3
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
81,697 69,314 + 17.9%
#4
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
65,171 62,736 + 3.9%
#5
Infiniti G
59,844 58,246 + 2.7%
#6
Cadillac SRX
57,485 56,905 + 1.0%
#7
BMW 5-Series
56,798 51,491 + 10.3%
#8
Lexus ES
56,158 40,873 + 37.4%
#9
Acura MDX
50,854 43,271 + 17.5%
#10
Cadillac CTS
46,979 55,042 – 14.6%
#11
BMW X5
44,445 40,547 + 9.6%
#12
Audi A4
38,530 35,234 + 9.4%
A4 Sedan
34,163 31,729 + 7.7%

Allroad
3115 —– —–

A4 Avant
1252 3505 – 64.3%
#13
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
38,101 35,835 + 6.3%
#14
BMW X3
35,173 27,793 + 26.6%
#15
Hyundai Genesis
33,973 32,998 + 3.0%
#16
Acura TL
33,572 31,237 + 7.5%
#17
Acura RDX
29,520 15,196 + 94.3%
#18
Mercedes-Benz GLK
29,364 24,310 + 20.8%
#19
Acura TSX
28,865 30,935 – 6.7%
TSX Sedan
24,631 27,725 – 11.2%

TSX Sport Wagon
4234 3210 + 31.9%
#20
Audi Q5
28,671 24,908 + 15.1%
#21
Lincoln MKZ
28,053 27,529 + 1.9%
#22
Lexus IS
27,708 29,669 – 6.6%
#23
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
26,042 25,139 + 3.6%
#24
Lincoln MKX
25,107 23,395 + 7.3%
#25
Volvo S60
23,356 21,282 + 9.7%
#26
Cadillac Escalade
22,632 25,503 – 11.3%
Escalade
12,615 15,079 – 16.3%

Escalade ESV
8083 8388 – 3.6%

Escalade EXT
1934 2036 – 5.0%
#27
Lexus GS
22,160 3746 + 492%
#28
Infiniti JX35
21,674 —– —–
#29
Volvo XC60
19,139 12,932 + 38.4%
#30
Audi A6
18,998 11,124 + 70.8%

Source: Manufacturers
Red font indicates year-over-year declining sales 
GCBC qualifies all vehicles from Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Acura, Cadillac, Audi, Infiniti, Lincoln, Volvo, Land Rover, Porsche, and Jaguar while also making exceptions for overtly premium cars like the Chevrolet Corvette, Nissan GT-R, Volkswagen Touareg, Hyundai Equus, and (reluctantly) Hyundai Genesis. Buick’s lack of anything truly high-end hinders its value-priced vehicles from qualifying as premium despite the image Buick held in a previous era. Yes, this means the B-Class is eligible because of the S-Class; the A3 because of the R8, to an extent. Unfortunately the lack of data separating vehicle trim lines from one another (F-150 XL vs F-150 Platinum, for example) means vehicles like the GMC Yukon Denali and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 aren’t included. None of this should lead you to believe the Chrysler 300 and Toyota Avalon and Buick Enclave aren’t luxurious, particularly as they’re viable competitors for true premium players.

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