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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami Tops Nation In Luxury Car Sales

Miami Tops Nation In Luxury Car Sales

Written by on June 13, 2013

By Scott Blake
When it comes to luxury car and truck sales, market analysts say Miami is king.

High-priced vehicles make up a greater portion of overall new auto sales in Greater Miami than any other major market in the US, according to Dominion Enterprises, a Virginia-based firm that tracks auto dealership sales around the US.

In March, for example, luxury auto sales were 7% of overall sales in the Miami area, Dominion reported. That beat the so-called car capital of the US, Los Angeles, where luxury sales made up 5.9% of total sales in March, Dominion said.

In Houston, luxury sales came in at 3.6% of total sales. In Dallas, it was 3.5%. Orlando was 3.1%. And San Francisco was at 2.1%, according to the firm.

Also, statistics show luxury auto sales in the Miami area rose at a faster rate than overall auto sales here from January through March.

A total of 9,834 luxury cars and trucks were sold in Greater Miami in the first quarter, up 13.47% from 8,402 in the first quarter last year, according to Dominion’s Cross-Sell reports. Meanwhile, overall new auto sales here rose 7.76% in the first quarter compared with the same time last year.

So if Miami is in love with expensive cars, which ones are the favorites?

Japanese makes are the top-sellers in the overall market, but German makes have a firm hold on the luxury segment, Cross-Sell statistics show.

Among the top 10 selling luxury cars in Greater Miami, six come from four German makes: Mercedes-Benz, BWM, Audi and Porsche. Of the other four, three are Japanese makes (all Lexus, which is Toyota’s luxury brand) and one is an American make (Cadillac, which is General Motors’ luxury brand).

When it comes to luxury sport utility vehicles, the Germans do even better. Of the top 10-selling luxury SUVs in the Miami area, seven come from German makes (again Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Porsche), one is American (Cadillac), one is Japanese (Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand), and one is British (Land Rover), according to Cross-Sell statistics.

The average price for luxury cars sold in Greater Miami in the first quarter was $64,639, while the average price for luxury trucks ranged from $46,485 for small sport utility vehicles to $58,457 for compact SUVs and $69,678 for large SUVs, Cross-Sell reported.

The most popular luxury models were the Mercedes-Benz 250 Series for cars (571 sold) and the Lexus RX-350 for SUVs (473 sold).

But what about the most expensive models?

Those were the Ferrari Ferrari, with 55 sold for an average price of $202,908; the Bentley Mulsanne, with nine sold for an average price of $189,081; the Aston Martin Rapide, with four sold for an average price of $162,657; the Bentley Continental, with 27 sold for an average price of $150,789; and the Maserati Granturismo, with 45 sold for an average price of $123,696, according to Cross-Sell.

The local luxury vehicle market has been sustained due to a steady influx of wealthy residents from the US and abroad.

In addition, leasing a luxury vehicle has been a way for a number of consumers to afford high-end autos. But leasing has declined with vehicle residual values and lower returns for dealers, said Cross-Sell Manager Shane Marcum.

"Leasing was prevalent during the late ’90s and early 2000s, but experienced massive declines during the automotive recession," Mr. Marcum said.

"This was primarily due to over-inflated residual values attached to vehicles and specific long-term leases. Such over-inflated residual values were exactly what drove lease payments lower, thereby attracting both sellers and buyers to such transactions," he said.

"Automotive leasing is yet to rebound as residual values remain low," he added, "coupled with lessor apprehension based on previous lease-end return losses."To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.