The absurdity of calling the BMW X1 a luxury vehicle simply because it wears the blue and white propeller is all the more absurd when you realize its base price is half that of a BMW M3’s $60K point of entry. And the M3 is just a high-octane version of what is a very high-volume, not at all exclusive BMW, the 3-Series.
Regardless, under the premise that Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo are premium brands, and other brands are mainstream – ignoring the fact that you can easily option up a GMC Acadia to $55,000 – these were the 15 best-selling luxury nameplates in America in May 2013. It’s a list controlled by German brands. Eight of the first 14 vehicles are BMWs, Audis, or Benzes.
The second list avoids that premise, but introduces its own series of quandaries. If you’re paying for a vehicle that costs at least $45,000, your options are expansive. But your options are far more expansive if you take into account vehicles which might generally cost less than $45,000 but can cost more than $45K.
The barely-above-$45K GMC Yukon XL quickly extends northward toward $70,000 in Denali trim. A huge uptick in May sales produced greater Yukon XL sales than Mercedes-Benz managed with any vehicle other than the C-Class, greater sales than BMW managed with any vehicle other than the 3er, and higher sales than any Audi of any letter-number combo.
GMC isn’t the first thing you think of when “luxury” comes to mind. But for big spenders, the Yukon XL was a common choice in May 2013. Don’t expect General Motors to sell 5000 Yukon XLs again in June, however.
Historical monthly and yearly sales figures for any of these models can always be accessed through the dropdown menu at GCBC’s Sales Stats page, and for those not viewing the mobile version of this site, near the top right of this page, as well.
For the purposes of the above list, premium brands include Acura, Audi, BMW, 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. Buick has been excluded with a bunch of other automakers that don’t sell vehicles with base prices higher than $40K. A4 sales include the Allroad.
Luxury Vehicle (Min. Base Price $45K)
Year To Date
YTD % Change
GMC Yukon XL
Range Rover Sport
Land Rover Range Rover
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.