Apparently, Bay Area residents are faring better than Angelenos in these tough economic times. According to auto industry analyst R.L. Polk & Co., luxury-car sales are up this year. Sales of technology-laden dream machines in the Bay Area have outpaced such sales nationwide. Luxury-car sales in the area soared 11.7% in the first half of 2011 versus the first half of 2010 to 22,328 vehicles, compared with a 7.3% increase in the rest of the nations. However, not all brands are enjoying the upsurge. Sales of Porsche, Aston Martin and Lotus rose significantly in the first six months of 2011 versus the same period a year ago, but others, including Rolls-Royce and Lexus, experienced a decline in sales over the same period. Local car dealers attribute the disparity to whether car brands have debuted new eye-popping, technology-laden models to tempt consumers.
The disparity can be observed at two San Jose dealerships: Beshoff MotorCars and Beshoff Infiniti. Beshoff MotorCars deals primarily in Mercedes-Benz; Beshoff Infiniti sells Infinitis. According to the Polk data, Mercedes sales in the Bay Area soared more than 11% in the first half of 2011 over the same period a year ago to 4,135 cars; however, sales of Infinitis plummeted almost 17% over that period to 1,313 vehicles. Phil Garratt, marketing manager for both Beshoff dealerships, told the Wall Street Journal that the Polk data mirror what his dealerships experienced this year. Mercedes had a stronger first half in sales compared with Infinitis, he said, since “in the pecking order, Mercedes is at the top of the tree and Infinitis are in the next group down. In tough times, people always go to the most trusted car brands first.”
At Qvale Auto Group’s British Motor Car Distributors in San Francisco, general manager Vincent Golde said his company has experienced weaker sales of some brands such as Rolls-Royce this year compared with last. However, he is encouraged by the performance of other brands. For example, his dealership has a two-year waiting list for Lamborghini’s Aventador car, which starts at a base price of $370,000. At the same time, the new Bentley GT models, which typically start at around the $200,000 range, are also highly sought-after.
In my opinion, if you have $200,000 or more of surplus cash buy a Hyundai Equus or Genesis and keep the difference—or give it to charity. My Genesis possesses all the quality and technology I desire—besides, I don’t have a spare $200,000.
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