With the rise in economic confidence, the sales of premium cars took flight, gathering record after record in monthly US sales charts. With the segment aggressively gaining pace, the conditions have also become increasingly competitive.

So, with buyers having many options to choose from and with the necessary cash now at hand, there’s no wonder the rate of conquest from first time premium buyers has also gone up the scale.

Thanks to an analysis of registration data made by IHS Automotive, we can see that new model introductions, such as the Acura ILX, Cadillac ATS and Mercedes-Benz CLA have effectively become the “gateways” into the premium segment.

“The fact that many luxury models are pulling more than half of their conquests from non-luxury makes suggests the line between luxury and non-luxury is blurry at best,” says IHS Automotive Solutions consultant Tom Libby. “As more luxury makes join Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi in the entry-level arena, and as mainstream makes continue to offer sophisticated products at the top of their portfolios, the division between luxury and non-luxury may fade even more.”

We now have here the first five luxury models that have the highest percentage of clients coming from the mainstream segments.

5. Cadillac ATS – 56.88% of the model designed to fight BMW’s 3 Series are new to the luxury segment.

4. Audi A3 – there’s an entire line-up here, ranging from a hatchback to a sedan. 57.34% of buyers come from previously owning a mainstream model.

3. Acura ILX – 59.66% of sales are coming from the first time buyers of a premium model. The sedan is Acura’s smallest car in the line-up.

2. Infiniti JX/QX60 – recently renamed, the midsize crossover has a rate of conquest of no less than 63.89%.

1. Volvo C70 – the top dog has actually lost the war. The model, which had poor sales results, was axed for 2014, but before that it managed to attract 68.01 % of the non-luxury buyers with its retractable-hardtop convertible allure.


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