Top 15 Best-Selling Luxury Vehicles In America – March 2013


2014 Cadillac CTS
Cadillac’s Next CTS Will Be A Major 
Player, But The ATS Accounts For 39% 
Of Cadillac Car Sales This Year

Historically, GoodCarBadCar has listed the best-selling premium brand vehicles in America in this space. Premium brands, however, are increasingly participating in low-priced categories, while mainstream brands are equipping (and sometimes pricing) their vehicles in lofty fashion. 

So we began showcasing only the vehicles with base prices above $45,000. There are inherent problems with picking a specific price point – it specifically excludes vehicles which would typically sell for more than $45K, for example.

This month, and going forward, we’re using both formats. First, check out the 15 best-selling vehicles which come from established premium brands… and Buick. Second, the $45,000+ vehicles are showcased near the bottom of this post

The $39,660 Lexus RX was America’s top-selling premium brand vehicle in March 2013; the $32,550-$68,750 BMW 3-Series was America’s favourite premium brand car. 3-Series sales are down 16% this year. Consequently, the surging Mercedes-Benz C-Class (up 32% in March) leads the 3-Series by 2250 units through the first quarter of 2013. Buick’s $37,445 Enclave, which trails the Lexus RX by 5592 units so far this year, was up 55% in March. Its platform-sharing partners at Chevrolet and GMC were up 55% and 77%, respectively. 

U.S. luxury auto brand market share chart March 2013
Click Market Share Chart For Larger View
Beware: Chart Now Includes Buick! Eek!

537 of the 3951 Audi A4s sold in March 2013 were Allroads; 1290 of the 9795 sold so far this year. In the second list you’ll see the Cadillac Escalade, sales of which jumped 8% last month. The regular-wheelbase Escalade was down 2% to 987 units in March; Escalade ESV sales jumped 14% to 746; the EXT shot up 55% to 211 units. 

Overall, the Escalade family trailed the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class by 859 sales. The GL was one of the five German vehicles which controlled the list of the top third of the best-selling $45K+ vehicles list in March 2013. Only four of the 15 best-selling $45K+ vehicles in March didn’t come from Europe.

As always, you can find historical monthly and yearly sales figures for any of these vehicles by selecting a make and model at GCBC’s Sales Stats page. More than two dozen best-selling luxury vehicle lists can be clicked through here.

March 2014 – April 2013 – February 2013 – March 2012

Rank
Luxury Vehicle (Premium Brands)
March 2013
%
Change
Year 
To Date
YTD
% Change
#1
Lexus RX
9072 + 28.6% 21,404 + 19.7%
#2
BMW 3-Series
8858 – 10.5% 20,662 – 16.3%
#3
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
8396 + 32.4% 22,912 + 26.5%
#4
Lexus ES
6798 + 116% 16,801 + 96.5%
#5
Buick Enclave
5676 + 55.1% 15,812 + 44.4%
#6
Infiniti G
5572 – 7.1% 12,916 – 15.7%
#7
BMW 5-Series
5306 – 2.7% 12,139 – 4.5%
#8
Cadillac SRX
4368 + 5.4% 12,856 – 3.3%
#9
Buick LaCrosse
4157 – 1.9% 11,372 – 15.6%
#10
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
4009 – 28.0% 13,689 – 1.3%
#11
Audi A4
3951 + 20.1% 9795 + 12.8%
#12
BMW X5
3876 + 36.4% 11,891 + 37.1%
#13
Acura RDX
3875 + 285% 9159 + 216%
#14
Cadillac ATS
3587 —– 9750 —–
#15
Buick Verano
3564 + 42.7% 11,395 + 129%

For the purposes of the above list, premium brands include Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo. Brands like Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Lotus don’t report specific monthly sales data. Bentley and Maserati only report brand totals.

Rank
Luxury Vehicle 
(Min. Base 
Price $45K)
March 2013
%
Change
Year 
To 
Date
YTD
% Change
#1
BMW 5-Series
5306 – 2.7% 12,139 – 4.5%
#2
Mercedes-Benz 
E-Class
4009 – 28.0% 13,689 – 1.3%
#3
BMW X5
3876 + 36.4% 11,891 + 37.1%
#4
Mercedes-Benz 
M-Class
3501 – 14.0% 9162 – 20.2%
#5
Mercedes-Benz 
GL-Class
2803 + 42.4% 7618 + 47.8%
#6
Cadillac Escalade
1944 + 7.9% 5110 – 3.2%
#7
Lexus GS
1882 – 26.4% 4089 – 19.0%
#8
Audi A6
1746 + 18.1% 4375 + 22.2%
#9
Porsche Cayenne
1508 + 20.2% 4181 + 43.9%
#10
Land Rover 
Range Rover Sport
1386 + 2.2% 3898 + 9.0%
#11
Mercedes-Benz 
S-Class
1216 + 24.0% 3077 + 20.2%
#12
Infiniti QX56
1143 – 14.3% 3370 – 4.2%
#13
Audi Q7
1092 + 52.5% 2901 + 48.4%
#14
Chevrolet Corvette
1053 – 23.5% 2941 + 0.3%
#15
BMW 7-Series
1046 – 18.3% 2338 – 30.8%

Source: Manufacturers & ANDC
Red font indicates year-over-year declining sales
$45,000 USD (before delivery) is an arbitrary borderline, but if GCBC was to follow this system of designating only expensive vehicles as luxury vehicles, adding approximately $15,000 to the average new car transaction price seemed like a fitting place to begin. Plenty of less expensive vehicles with specific models feature prices above $45,000 – M, RS, and AMG models come to mind, specifically – but in the case of the second list, we know that none of the registrations were of cars priced at $32,550, as would be the case with the new BMW 320i, which costs less than a Honda Accord V6 Touring. The biggest problem with a $45,000 minimum price of entry? Cars like the Cadillac XTS, which starts at $44,075, and SUVs like the $44,655 GMC Yukon XL.

RECOMMENDED READING
Top 15 Best-Selling Luxury Vehicles In America – March 2014
Top 15, X2, Best-Selling Luxury Vehicles In America – April 2013
Top 15 Best-Selling Luxury Vehicles In America – February 2013
Top 30 Best-Selling Luxury Vehicles In America – March 2012
U.S. Auto Sales Brand Rankings – March 2013
Top 30 Best-Selling Vehicles In America – March 2013

  • Merc1

    Buicks are not luxury cars!!!

    M

  • I'd personally be happy to exclude Buick – as GCBC always has – but I am suspending editorial discretion because of the number of emails I get wanting Buick to be included as a premium brand, citing Acura as a direct rival, and Lexus as a direct rival for Acura… you get the drift. Start a campaign to have Buick excluded and perhaps we can see it removed.

  • Merc1

    Its not worth the effort lol. Whoever is championing Buick probably doesn't even know what a true luxury car is so…..

    M

  • Anonymous

    Does buick make the equevelant of IS350, IS-F, LFA, LS460??

    If not, then it doesn't belong on this list.

    Also Buick is more of a Toyota Avalon competitor, not even Acura

  • Anonymous

    Take both buick and acura out of luxury car category. they dont deserve a place here.

  • Jeff

    I would beg to differ. Buick has changed leaps and bounds. I had a 3 series, and looked very hard at the Regal GS. It was a beauty. The only draw back was that I have only seen one guy under 55 driving one here in Toronto. In the end I got an ATS and absolutely love it. But I know a thing or two on nice cars, and the Buicks I drove hit the nail.

    • Anonymous

      Buick acura lincoln are upscale brands but they dont have a luxury or premium feel. try to understand.