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Luxury Car Sales In January: Cadillac Rising Fast, Audi Continues Record Pace

 
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2013 Cadillac ATS

2013 Cadillac ATS

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The overall U.S. automotive industry's sales tally for January is looking rather good: sales are up almost across the board, and total sales figures are well above last year's. An increase, year-on-year, of 8 percent puts the total seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) at 12.9 million retail vehicles and 15 million overall, even as U.S. unemployment rates stagnate, rising 0.1 percent to 7.9 percent. But how is the luxury sector doing?

Spectacularly, for the most part.

Cadillac posted its best sales month in 23 years, rising a whopping 47 percent over January 2012's figures, for a total of 13,116 vehicles sold. Thank the 2013 ATS and its North American Car of the Year Award for a good chunk of that.

Porsche is tied for second in the luxury ranks in January on percentage increase over last year, due no doubt, at least in part, to the refreshed Boxster and 911 being available. Whatever the reason, a 32 percent rise is nothing to sniff at--though its relatively small 3,358-vehicle volume makes it a minor player in the overall picture.

Lexus is up about the same amount as Porsche, though the figures are a bit murkier: sales rose 26.8 percent on an unadjusted basis, and 32.1 percent when adjusted for the difference in sales days. Again, at 16,211 cars sold for the month, Lexus returns brilliant figures, likely rising on the tide of the brand's recently redesigned models--the first major redesigns for the brand in several years.

Acura's sales were up 13.2 percent to 9,489 total, doing better than the mainstream Honda brand and putting its growth rate at about 4 percent ahead of the overall industry rise in January.

Mercedes-Benz, which battled with BMW for the overall luxury volume lead in the U.S. last year, has opened up a gap on the competition: Mercedes rose 10.7 percent, while BMW scored an increase of just 0.7 percent in January--though BMW's figure rises to 2.3 percent overall growth when MINI division sales are incorporated. In terms of overall volume, Mercedes-Benz moved 24,059 units in January, while BMW racked up 16,513 sales plus 5,248 MINIs for a total of 21,761 vehicles sold.

Volvo registered a reasonable 9.3-percent increase to 4,875 vehicles sold last month, the best for the brand since 2008.

Audi's 7.5 percent rise in January wasn't as strong as most of the rest of the luxury segment, but it marks the 25th consecutive month of sales increases for the brand--a strong and remarkable trend given the economy over the past two years. Total Audi sales for January: 10,056 vehicles.

Infiniti didn't do quite as well, rising just 4.9 percent to 7,126 cars sold, but the brand's stunning new 2014 Q50 isn't on sale yet--people may be holding off on upgrades to a new Infiniti.

Lincoln was the luxury segment's big loser in January, dropping 18.2 percent to just 4,191 cars sold.

Jaguar/Land Rover hasn't yet reported January 2013 sales.

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