Luxury powerhouses rose on the back of SUVs, not limousines image

While many usually associate a premium automaker with a longer or shorter lineup of sedan-bodied limousines, the reality is that luxury brands became the “kings of the world” thanks to a not so elevated range – the sport utility vehicles.

Let’s take BMW, today the world’s largest premium automaker, for example. Years ago, it was a purebred Bavarian company that was eager to please a rather small crowd of fans. Then it morphed into a global powerhouse that owns brands such as Mini and the ultra luxurious Rolls Royce thanks to a move that started in the US – in 1999 it started manufacturing sport utility vehicles. BMW, together with Mercedes-Benz and Lexus have jumped to the roof on the US luxury market – the largest in the world. Each of these brands sells in excess of 300,000 units per year in America thanks mainly to SUVs and their milder brethren, the crossovers. They not only left their peers far behind, but they also reached mass-market sales, comparing themselves with brands such as Buick or Volkswagen.

While today it seems a pretty straight affair having not one, but an entire lineup of SUVs, back in the 1990s luxury automakers actually “chocked” with the concept of having a premium brand able to drive on dirt. But that is all in the past, and with the question dully answered its time that SUVs break another boundary – the ultra luxury market. So, never mind that Jaguar is planning its first ever crossover, pay attention to the stratosphere. Aston Martin has announced it was mulling one next as part of its range revamp, Maserati is bringing the Levante as its first foray later this year. In 2016 its Alfa Romeo sister brand will also jump to the market. And then we have the heavyweights: Bentley is bringing the Bentayga, Lamborghini is trying to get its own Urus crossover approved and even the pinnacle of luxury – Rolls Royce has succumbed to the SUV fever.

Via Automotive News