Sometimes we want something that is going to set us apart from our neighbor. They have the top level SUV in the driveway, your colleague just bought a brand new car, or your sister who leases is always getting the best of the best every three years. Whatever your reason, our cars are important. We use them not only for transportation but also to communicate that we’ve arrived at the place we would like to be in the world. A regular car tends to tell people that we’ve reached that space; a luxury car screams it.
There are millions of luxury models sold in the United States each year, coming from several different elite automakers. Each of them has its own distinct design, special features, and insignia that makes it unique. A lot of buyers focus on that uniqueness as their reasoning for the purchase of a luxury car. For many years, there was a serious decline in the sales of high-end vehicles, but the market is on the rebound. Certainly, the status of the economy at the time was part of the reason people shied away from expensive vehicles, but it wasn’t the only reason.
Buyers of luxury cars, for sure, were slowed down by the economy. In the earlier part of this millennium, money was tight and there wasn’t always enough left over to justify the purchase of an expensive car. This drove many people away from high-end vehicles. When the economy started to right itself, many came back. However, some stayed away. After having driven a non-luxury car during the years when the economy was tanking, they came to ask the question on everyone’s lips. Is a luxury car really all that different from your average sedan? While many luxury car detractors will say the answer is no, they’d be wrong. There is a difference.
- Interior Quality – Whether you’re a fan of luxury cars or not, many of them are outfitted using better materials. Sure, you can argue that the average car offers leather interior and premium sound systems, and you’d be right. Luxury cars offer better leather, soft and supple with the feeling of butter against your skin, and their sound systems are built using the highest quality speakers. These automakers have to justify a higher price point, and using better materials does just that, especially when people are willing to pay for it.
- Customer Service – It’s depressing to think about, especially if you’re one of the many people for whom luxury cars aren’t possible, but luxury dealerships offer better customer service. Tag along with a luxury driver some time, and see for yourself. Their waiting rooms for service are typically posh and luxurious. Some of the dealerships will even offer you a ride back to work, or a loaner to use while your vehicle is being repaired.
- Safe – Yep, they’re safer, typically anyway. They have standard safety features that other brands offer only as options. By the type you add all of these options to a standard vehicle, the price is closer to that of a luxury model anyway. They tend to keep things pretty state of the art for luxury car drivers, and safety is one area in which they excel.
- Better Tech – With a discerning audience, the tech features need to be as good as it gets, so they keep making it better. Before a specific type of tech hits the market of an average vehicle, it’s typically been used in the luxury market for several years. Better infotainment systems with high definition screens, self-parking, and backup cameras were big in the high-end sector before they were added to your average crossover vehicle.
- They Hold Their Value – Based on the numbers, luxury vehicles hold their value better over the years. Even high mileage vehicles with luxury insignia have a handsome resale rate and this is important to many drivers. They like to feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth out of their vehicle, and a price tag indicating that their car is still worth something close to what they’ve paid reassures that idea.
It’s easy to think that luxury vehicles are just dressed up versions of average cars, and in some cases that’s accurate. Some brands make very little effort to disguise that they’re dressing up their parent models with some fancy interior, but making no other changes. However, the true luxury retailers make their efforts easily differentiated from the average automaker. So yes, there is a difference, but it’s up to you to decide if the differences are big enough to justify the price tag that accompanies a luxury model.