Mercedes, Buick sales rise as drivers upgrade

Sales of luxury cars, including Mercedes, Buick and Infiniti models, are climbing as consumers reopen their wallets.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 4, 2010 1:15PM

TheStreetBy Jason Notte, TheStreet 

 

Luxury vehicle sales numbers are often like the cars themselves -- pretty from afar, but gaudy and overblown upon further inspection. February's tally was no different.

 

After delaying car purchases and curbing spending during the economic recession, consumers are peeling out of dealerships in new Buick, Mercedes and Infiniti models. Except for Toyota's namesake brand, US sales of luxury cars rose last month at most automakers.

 

General Motors: Buick ran down its upscale competitors as sales jumped 47%, including a 163% boost from its LaCrosse sedan. Cadillac posted a 32% gain despite flagging sales from each of its mainstay sedan models. If not for significant gains by two Escalade SUV models and a more than 540% sales spike by its SRX crossover, Cadillac's sales would seem as dried up as the Corvette's, which dropped by more than a third.

 

Toyota (TM): Sales of Toyota's Avalon fell 65% from 2,100 a year ago to just 732 last month. While sales of Toyota Land Cruisers and FJ Cruiser SUVs fell, Lexus-brand SUV sales rose 5.8% as sales of GX models nearly tripled.

 

Bing: More on the Toyota recalls

 

Lexus managed a 5.2% increase overall, though a 4.5% jump in car sales was fueled by its LS, the only model to report gains last month.

 

Ford (F): Ford’s Crown Victoria couldn't capitalize on the Avalon's weakness, losing 23% of its sales from a year earlier, but its Taurus delivered a 93% boost as the Lincoln and Volvo divisions gained momentum.

 

Lincoln sales were up 18% as the MKX drew 58% more sales last month than it did last February, while the bulky Navigator SUV bucked the crossover trend and posted a more than 48% sales gain. Even the Town Car managed a 1.2% sales boost. Volvo sales, meanwhile, grew 38% as sales of its midlife-crisis convertibles doubled at the same rate as its warhorse wagons.

 

Mercedes Benz: The good news is sales of Daimler's (DAI) Mercedes models rose 8.4%. The bad news is that car sales, minus the sale of 515 Sprinter commercial vans, rose at half the pace. While the popular C- and E-class luxury cars posted 6% and 92% gains respectively, any Mercedes that wasn't a G-Class SUV or a G- or M-Class crossover suffered double-digit declines.

 

Audi: This was one of the few luxury labels that actually put some horsepower behind its soaring sales numbers. Audi's 34% increase came on the back of its A3 and A5 models, which more than doubled their sales. In the A3's case, new high-mileage TDI diesel models made up more than half of its take. Sales of A4 and A6 sedans and the Q5 crossover rose by double-digit percentages.

 

Chrysler: Chrysler's still selling luxury vehicles? The 300 is in the Avalon's class and still managed a 62% sales bump from February 2009. On the other side of the coin is the Dodge Viper, which saw its sales drop 50% from 47 in February 2009 to 24 last month. Not surprisingly, Chrysler announced last month that its new batch of 32 Viper SRT10s would be its last. Chrysler's luxury future will only improve if partner Fiat brings its Ferrari and Alfa Romeo models into the fold.

 

Nissan: The company's Infiniti division was one of the few luxury labels whose cars carried the day. Infiniti's 11% uptick over February 2009 came as its G series sedans and coupes recorded 25% and 41% gains, respectively -- boosting car sales more than 15%. While sales of Infiniti's QX56 SUV more than tripled in the same period, its EX and FX crossover wagons put a double-digit drag on its truck sales.

 

Honda (HMC): You get the feeling Honda's next Acura model will be named the Loss Leader. Despite a 17% upswing in overall sales, its TL, TSX and RL coupe and sedan sales slumped, with the RLs dropping 30%. Its RDX and MDX crossovers, however, revved up their sales by nearly 19% and 65%, respectively.

 

Hyundai: While the company isn't synonymous with luxury, Hyundai's Genesis is taking a larger chunk of the upscale sedan market. While its Azera model's sales slumped by more than a third, the Genesis' market has grown by a similar margin and has emerged as viable competitor to Lexus and Acura's mid-level offerings.

 

Related Articles

 

The most fuel-efficient cars of 2010

 

Mazda, Subaru rev up amid Toyota troubles

 

Toyota recalls highlight murky standards

 

0Comments

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

120
120 rated 1
268
268 rated 2
439
439 rated 3
709
709 rated 4
641
641 rated 5
609
609 rated 6
640
640 rated 7
516
516 rated 8
272
272 rated 9
152
152 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
EXCEXELON CORPORATION10
TAT&T Inc9
VZVERIZON COMMUNICATIONS8
CTLCENTURYLINK Inc8
AAPLAPPLE Inc10
More

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.