The political ads are over, so now we can be bombarded with ads for luxury cars during the holiday season.
Car shoppers will see so-called “loyalty” and “conquest” discounts in this year’s holiday sales campaigns. These deals essentially reward consumers for shopping the competition, even if they intend to stay with the brand they already drive. For example, a customer who owns a Mercedes could get an additional $750 discount for agreeing to buy or lease another. If the same owner went to a BMW showroom, he or she would likely be offered a similar amount to switch teams.
About 20% of shoppers on Edmunds.com who looked at a Mercedes C-Class during the last week of October also looked at a BMW 3 Series, according to data from the site. Among those considering the 3-series, 10% looked at a C-Class, and 10% looked at the Audi A4.
Dealers say discounts specifically tied to retaining existing customers have an impact. “It gives us something else to discuss, to look at a customer and let them know they are special to us,” says Robert Camastro, owner of Mercedes of Danbury, Ct.
The loyalty and conquest discounts vary by model and brand. Some Audi dealers are advertising discounts of up to $2,500 if you are trading in a rival luxury brand.
Lincoln, a brand of Ford Motor Co., is offering no-money-down lease deals on its MKX sport utility. Cadillac’s deals vary, but the brand is offering no-money-down, $399-a-month leases on its just-launched ATS model, which is designed to compete with the 3 series and Mercedes C Class.
It’s interesting to see Lincoln get in on the action, as their ad looks very similar to ads for the other luxury brands, but they need to do something.
Before our test model 2011 Lexus CT 200h Premium arrived, I had not driven or been a passenger in this hot new hybrid, so I was anxious to see what all the fuss was about. I knew the car wasn’t very big, so there were some questions as to how all of this technology and Lexus luxury was going to fit into a smaller than usual package.
The CT 200h’s designers created a unique combination of elegance and excitement. The front of the CT 200h is the new embodiment of L-finesse, expressing the perfect balance of precision and power. The grille is pushed forward of the headlamps for greater visual integration with the bumper mid-section below. It incorporates a deeper, more sculpted interpretation of the L-finesse signature arrowhead motif. The upper and lower grilles combine to form a unique ‘spindle’ shape, bringing both bold simplicity and elegant dynamism to the very apex of the vehicle. We found the overall design to be fresh and consistent with Lexus styling. Our matador red test model looked sharp and included LED daytime running headlamps with auto leveling, integrated fog lamps, rear view mirrors with built-in turn signals, illuminated door sills and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. In the rear of the 2011 Lexus CT 200h Premium, we found a pronounced step in the tailgate section that flows from the muscular rear wheel arch shoulders, emphasizing the wraparound rear window design which added to the aerodynamic design features.