2009 Audi A5Enlarge Photo
We're all about sick to death of hearing about the car industry's woes, but it looks like there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel with many luxury carmakers reporting strong sales in December.
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BMW rose 11.5 percent against December 2008, while Infiniti was up 10.1 percent, Mercedes-Benz was up 11.2 percent and Lexus was up 13.5 percent. Audi was the biggest gainer over December 2008 at 17.1 percent. Not all ships rose with the tide, however: Acura came out 8.1 percent behind year-ago December sales, though the TL and TSX sold well, the latter rising 17.9 percent above last year's tally.
The rest of the year was still a disaster. Unlike mainstream carmakers Subaru and Hyundai, none of the major luxury marques managed to post a full-year sales increase. Across the board, year-on-year losses around 20 percent are common, with Acura again trailing the resurgence with a loss of 26.8 percent.
Lexus didn't fare much better at a decrease of 17 percent for the year, despite the addition of the HS hybrid. BMW fell 21.1 percent despite a 22.3 percent rise in X5 sales and a 30.1 percent climb for the X6.
2010 BMW X6 MEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz suffered the least of the losers at 15.3 percent decrease in sales versus 2008, even though its volume-leading C-Class saw sales plummet by 27.7 percent. The E-Class did carry some weight by raising its figures by 11.7 percent, thanks to the introduction of the 9th-generation model.
Audi is the ray of sunshine piercing the darkness here, falling just 5.7 percent for the full year and raising market share from 7.1 percent to 7.8 percent. December marked Audi's sixth-best month and third-best December ever in the U.S. The stunning A5 and S5 were particularly strong, with the S4 and R8 5.2 FSI pushing image at the top of the market.