2015 New York Auto Show lives up to its reputation for luxury

April 16, 2015
3 min read

The New York International Auto Show is often known for luxury car debuts, and the 2015 edition did not disappoint. There were several key luxury vehicle debuts, including that of the Lincoln Continental Concept, the Cadillac CT6, and the redesigned Lexus RX.

That last one is important. Not just because the RX has been a hot seller over the years, but because Mintel research shows that car buyers are looking hard at crossovers. In fact, 58% of luxury-vehicle intenders planned on buying a crossover within the next three years (Luxury Cars, US 2014). More importantly, 63% of female luxury-vehicle intenders were interested in crossovers, and women drive many household purchasing decisions.

According to Mintel, 55% of luxury-car intenders are interested in large cars, so the Continental Concept and CT6 will pique their interest. The Continental Concept is Lincoln’s latest attempt to revive its struggling brand, while the CT6 is meant to serve as the brand’s new flagship car. Large cars are often thought of as luxurious (and luxury cars are often thought of as large), so with more than half of luxury-car intenders interested in large cars, it makes sense for brands to work hard to have a competitive large car on the market.

60% of family-car intenders are likely to buy within the next year

Both Lincoln and Cadillac need these new models (the Lincoln is a concept, but a production version is highly likely) to hit, as data shows that just 4% of luxury-car intenders were considering Lincoln among the top three brands for their next car, even with 35% considering a domestic brand. To be fair, the report does show that most respondents were giving higher consideration to brands typically considered “mainstream,” such as Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota, but it’s fair to say Lincoln would like to capture the interest of more than 4% of luxury buyers.
The same goes for Cadillac and Lexus, listed at 5%. Perhaps these new and redesigned models will be successful enough to get these brands to match BMW’s 11% performance.

Family cars were the other big winner of the 2015 New York Auto Show. Chevrolet introduced the next generation of its Malibu mid-size sedan, while Kia followed suit by launching a refreshed Optima mid-size car, and Nissan showed off the next generation of the Maxima, which has always been positioned as a sportier and slightly more-expensive counterpart to the Altima mid-size.

According to Mintel’s Family Car Buying US 2014 report60% of family-car intenders are likely to buy within the next year. That number jumps to two-thirds of those with a household income of more than $75K. Sure, it’s easier for those who earn more money to buy quickly, but with the mid-size segment so hotly contested – and with the rapid growth in crossover SUV sales – automakers could benefit by grabbing a slice of that high-income family-car shopper base. Chevrolet needs a hit after the last Malibu underwhelmed, while successful Optima could help Kia gain a foothold against the popular Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Meanwhile, the last Maxima had gotten stale, and a fresh entry here could give Nissan an edge.

It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to the newest wave of luxury and family cars over the next few years. What is certain is that with the economy steadily growing, and with consumers showing heavy interest in both segments, the brands behind these models will fare much better if the public’s reception is warm.

Tim Healey
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