There are standard car brands and there are luxury car brands, but where is that line drawn in the sand? There was a time when the line was around $30,000, but with non-luxury brands selling vehicles for $40,000-$60,000 on today’s market, it is a bit more difficult to discern!
For example, a loaded Chrysler Town and Country or Honda Odyssey minivan often crest the $40,000 mark…and I am sure most are with me when I say these are not luxury vehicles, and far from exotic rental car material. This is where brand distinction comes into play. Most will agree that Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, BMW and the like are ‘Luxury’ brands. But not so fast. It seems that certain automotive players are going for a new angle and gearing up efforts to become luxury brands.
The top 5 auto brands striving for luxury automaker status include:
Volkswagen. Volkswagen literally means “The people’s car”, and the brand has always produced models intended for mass consumption. While the VW Jetta, Passat and other models are still in the typical standard auto price range, models like the Phaeton sedan for $65,000-$100,000 and VW SUVs reaching $40,000-$60,000 leave us scratching our heads.
Chrysler. A mainstay of the standard automotive industry, Chrysler has been undergoing strategic changes under the direction of Italian automaker Fiat. On the heels of the Chrysler bankruptcy, Fiat acquired the brand and is repositioning it as a “Value luxury brand”.
The Chrysler 300 model is the best example of this makeover, ranging from $28,000-$50,000, depending on trim levels. Snoop Dog and Jay Z are said to have applauded the “gangsta” design of the Chrysler 300 model.
Hyundai. This is a brand that is all over the place, with vehicles ranging from $20,000 well up to $60,000. The transformation of Hyundai to a more upscale automaker began with the Hyundai Genesis in 2008, a luxury sedan inspired by the BMW 5 Series. Starting at $33,000, the Genesis can surpass the $43,000 mark with options. This year Hyundai continued its efforts to expand into the luxury car realm with the Equus, starting at $58,000.
Buick. Examples of Buick’s attempts to tout a luxury vehicle include the Enclave full-size crossover ranging from $37,000-$47,000, and the LaCrosse sedan ranging from $27,000-$47,000. Drivers in China are willing to drop $70,000 cash for a Buick Enclave, which is hardly surprising with the current health of the China luxury car market.
â€¨Jeep. When we think of Jeep as a brand, we often think of a rugged and off-road auto as opposed to luxury. Yet the new Jeep Grand Cherokee was developed alongside the Mercedes M Class when Daimler owned Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, and starts at around $44,000. You may want to wipe your feet when you enter this Jeep SUV!
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