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ULTRA-LUXURY SALES CONTINUE TO RISE

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Aug 28, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Bentley has sold out its $149,900 Continental GT for the year.

ULTRA-LUXURY SALES CONTINUE TO RISE, BUT HOW HIGH CAN THEY GO?

By CHUCK DAPOZ Ultra-luxury cars - those priced $100,000 up - are one of the fastest-growing segments in the auto industry.   Last year, more than 16,000 were sold in the US, an increase of 43 percent over 2002.   According to Automotive News, manufacturers are projecting sales of an additional 7,000 all-new ultra-luxury cars within two years - in other words, a further volume increase of 44 percent.   Are there enough deep-pocket consumer to buy all of these six-figure cars?   Automotive News gives arguments for and against.   On the one hand, there seems to be enough wealthy buyers in the US, with nearly 1.5 million households reporting annual income of $250,000 or more (though we wonder how many of them would spend half of their salary on a car).   On the other hand, the rich didn't get to be rich by spending foolishly or extravagantly.   Many are perfectly happy driving, let's say, a modest BMW or Lexus.   In addition, there's no telling when we may reach the point of a zero-sum game for ultra-luxuries, with a sales increase for one model leading to a decrease for another.   The growth of the segment, and the success of any individual model, might ultimately depend on whether the vehicles offer performance, flair or other distinguishing characteristic.   Jay Leno, who owns more than 100 collectable vehicles, feels there's room for the ultra-luxury market to grow - but not for me-too products.   "If a vehicle does one thing specifically well, it will sell," says Leno. "But if it's just a luxury car, then it's seen as wasteful."   Sales of vehicles costing more than $100,000 2003 Calendar Year Mercedes-Benz - 8,530 Porsche - 2,501 Ferrari - 1,350 BMW - 963 Maserati - 960 Aston Martin - 519 Lamborghini - 475 Bentley - 419 Maybach - 166 Rolls-Royce - 88 Total - 16,027   This article originally appeared in the LA Car Blog. To go to the current blog, click the LA Car Blog link on the homepage.  

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