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Auto blogThu, 16 Jan 2014 08:29:00 EST
According to research conducted by global information company IHS Automotive, the leporine birthing of new models by luxury manufacturers over the past six years hasn't increased their market share in the US. Even as car sales reached 15.6 million units, IHS says what's happened instead is that luxury buyers are merely moving from one brand to another, moving from larger luxury vehicles into hot segments like compact luxury crossovers or leaving the market at the same rate as other buyers enter.
Whether broken out by makes or by segment, market share has rollercoastered inside a narrow band from 10.5 to 11.5 percent since "at least" 2008. Closer investigation reveals the shifting boundaries in the aspirational pond, with brands like Mercedes-Benz and Audi gaining territory as Lexus and Lincoln lost it, and Saab and Hummer were buried, dead, under it. One neat note is that Tesla has gone from a share of zip to .12 percent.
The subcompact and compact crossover segments show growth, with those little high-riders jumping from .3 percent to 1.16 percent of overall industry sales. Their rise, though, is concomitant with the decline of four other segments: compact and midsize cars and fullsize cars and SUVs. We think the next few years that will tell if the small-car expansion can overcome the large-car retraction, with a phalanx of smaller offerings like the CLA only recently hitting the market and others like the GLA, Macan and Q1 doing so in the near future.
Mercedes-Benz designed the AMG GT to compete head-on with the Porsche 911. It's a clear, singular purpose, and Benz brings a lot of money, technology and race-bred expertise to the fight.
The AMG GT is Merc's followup to the awesome SLS AMG, the retro-modern, gullwing-doored coupe that took us by storm half a decade ago. But this new GT coupe is a more focused sports car than the SLS, rather than an all out supercar capable of extreme performance. It's got a brand-new V8 engine, and state-of-the-art technology that help it to not only be a proper Mercedes, but to be a serious performer.
Mercedes will sell its new baby in two models. The GT S arrives first, in spring 2015, followed by the standard GT in mid-2016. Of course, there's room to grow from there. And while Porsche may have already expanded its 911 range to include a vast variety of models, here's how Stuttgart's icon stacks up against Affalterbach's bad boy.
Porsche is expecting big things from its little Macan, with CEO Matthias Mueller announcing that not only is a sportier GTS model being considered, but that the CUV will almost certainly help push Porsche beyond its 200,000-unit-per-year sales goal three years earlier than expected.
"We're transferring the genes of the Porsche brand into a new market segment," Mueller said during a speech to kick off Macan production, according to Automotive News Europe. Macan demand should push the brand past 200,000 sales, Mueller said, confirming what we reported back in August. And if Porsche really has a hit on its hands, it is able to boost production of the sporty crossover beyond its initial capacity of 50,000 units, according to the brand's CEO.
Provided that the Macan is the success Porsche hopes it will be, Mueller hinted that the range could expand beyond the initial Macan S and Macan Turbo. "GTS versions have a tradition at Porsche," Mueller said. "We haven't made a final decision yet regarding the Macan, but I'm sure it makes a lot of sense."