Luxury Cars Will Account for 50 Percent of U.S. Growth

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Automotive Editor

Armaan Almeida was an Automotive Editor who produced buying guides and sneak previews, in addition to publishing daily news stories and tracking monthly deals, incentives and pricing trends from Toyota, Nissan and Lexus.

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, Automotive Editor - March 26, 2015

The increase is big, but what defines a luxury car nowadays?

Light vehicle production in North America is expected to reach a staggering 19 million units by 2022. The forecast comes from Mike Jackson, Senior Manager of Vehicle Forecasting at IHS Automotive. The surprising nugget of info for us is that luxury vehicle production will be a big part of the rise. According to Jackson, it will grow by roughly 1 million units, which signifies a heady increase of 50% overall. The move means that consumers will spend more on a new car, but more importantly, automakers will see a big increase in competition as they scramble to produce models with more value.

2015 Luxury Vehicle Buying Guides »

Hyundai Sonata

What Does Luxury Mean?

Luxury cars today are seeing more competition than ever before. And we mean ever. Take a 2015 Hyundai Sonata. It arguably offers one of the best values in the midsize sedan class. But if you take a closer look, it teeters on the tightrope of full-blown luxury. Select the Limited trim level, and it comes with a slick integrated navigation system, butter-soft leather seats and a bargain basement price of $27,350. Savvy CarsDirect Pricing Insider readers will know that Hyundai offers solid incentives this time of year. Factor in those incentives, and you'll shave off another $2,000 in rebates*. The established luxury marques rarely offer rebates, hurting perceived value.

Base MSRP Well-Equipped Rebate Horsepower Fuel Economy Warranty
2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited $21,975 $32,400 $2,000 185 hp 24/35 5-yr/60k
2015 BMW 320i $33,900 $41,350 No 180 hp 24/36 4-yr/50k
2015 Audi A4 $36,425 $46,825 No 220 hp 24/32 4-yr/50k
2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 $39,325 $49,485 No 241 hp 25/34 4-yr/50k

More. We Want More.

Want more? No problem: Hyundai offers a high-content option package that's big on value. Un-ceremoniously dubbed Option Group 06, it includes a host of safety upgrades for around $1,400. Step up Option Group 05 and you get air-conditioned and heated seats, heated steering wheel and a killer Infinity 9-speaker system complete with subwoofer that's all controlled by a massive high-resolution 8-inch color touch screen monitor. Here's a quick comparison of the stiff competition:

2015 Hyundai Sonata 2015 BMW 3-Series 2015 Audi A4 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300
Feb 2014 11,190 7,791 2,497 5,621
Mar 2014 19,248 10,120 3,692 5,660
Apr 2014 20,495 9,794 3,516 5,114
May 2014 20,404 10,915 3,450 5,284
Jun 2014 23,672 11,543 3,756 5,607
Jul 2014 22,577 12,497 3,083 5,700
Aug 2014 21,092 12,477 3,818 1,151
Sept 2014 14,918 12,814 2,994 6,285
Oct 2014 15,563 13,621 2,672 7,412
Nov 2014 18,515 14,702 3,104 9,259
Dec 2014 17,924 19,464 3,599 8,224
Jan 2015 12,363 7,348 1,790 6,236
Feb 2015 13,987 8,748 1,924 7,072
Total Sold 231,948 151,834 39,895 82,625
Average 19,329 12,652 3,324 6,885

Increased Competition

Some of you might feel that the comparison above is not a fair one. And hey, everyone's entitled to their opinion (feel free to leave yours in the comments at the end of this story). The merits and attributes of each model can be argued endlessly. That's why we have the internet. Yeah, the BMW feels sportier. The Mercedes will get more oohs and aahs at your local Fresh & Easy. But each model features a 4-cylinder engine. Each has four doors and similar fuel economy. But one thing that's almost indisputable is the price. The Sonata will leave you with a cool $10,000 in your bank account.

So how will luxury automakers compete, and how on Earth will they hit 1 million in sales by 2022? Well, they'll have to roll up their french cuffs and try harder to differentiate their models. More power, more innovation, more fuel economy and more styling. And they will most certainly have to boost value.

What It Means For You

In the end, this means we as consumers win yet again. As competition in the overall automotive landscape increases, so do the chances of you getting a 245-horsepower, 32-mpg, 6-speed 4-door sedan for around $32k. Wait, it's already happening.

*Incentives apply to residents in Southern California and will differ from region-to-region. They amount is also subject to change. Current offer will expire March 31, 2015.

Hyundai Sonata Side

Hyundai Sonata Rear

Hyundai Sonata Interior

, Automotive Editor

Armaan Almeida was an Automotive Editor who produced buying guides and sneak previews, in addition to publishing daily news stories and tracking monthly deals, incentives and pricing trends from Toyota, Nissan and Lexus.

Follow On: Google+ | Website

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