Vehicle Title:Rebuilt, Rebuildable & Reconstructed
Drive Type: ?
Model: Karmann Ghia
Camden, Maine, United States
It's a good time to be in the luxury car business. In Volkswagen Group's financial report for the 2013 fiscal year, it is revealed that that Porsche enjoyed an operating margin of 18 percent. That means the Stuttgart brand made on average about $23,200 per car sold, according to BusinessWeek. Bentley wasn't far behind, and Audi (which was combined with Lamborghini) posted a 10.1 percent margin. This compares to only around 2.9 percent for the Volkswagen brand.
"Luxury brands are on fire," said Dave Sullivan, an industry analyst at AutoPacific. He said that the average profit margin is between six and eight percent. Brands like Porsche and Bentley have the benefit of competing in rarefied markets. Buyers looking at one their vehicles have fewer models to shop against and don't care as much about price. They can also charge more for options, which further boosts income, according to BusinessWeek.
In a way, we should be more impressed by the continued success from Audi. Its models generally have direct competitors in every segment from the other premium automakers. Plus, their buyers aren't the captains of industry who are shopping for a Bentley. Still, the Four Rings is leading rivals in sales so far this year.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.
To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category - unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.
Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.
It was just nine months ago that Strategic Vision announced its 2011 Total Value Awards, but you don't have to wait until next year for the 2012 awards. The Volkswagen Group keeps its lead as the number one brand, with seven products taking top category spots: Golf, Jetta Wagon, CC, Eos and Audi A3 Wagon, Q5 and Q7. Strategic Vision says "true innovation" - "rich and impactful, intuitive, motivational, in-depth and is able to trigger description by the user in great specificity" - is the open secret of the brands with the strongest showings. Results are culled from 77,153 owners covering more than 350 new cars bought between September of 2011 and 2012 ranked in the Total Value Index (TVI).
Other notable winners are Hyundai-Kia following VW in the brand category and having the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Sorento among category winners, the BMW Z4 taking the premium roadster category and the highest overall score of any vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt continuing to gather silverware in the Special Category, nabbing the second-highest score of all and representative of "nearly perfect innovation," and Chrysler and Dodge being most improved.
Check out the press release below for your day's dose of jargon and all the winners.