Consumer demand, leasing, new products and a faltering economy are combining to keep luxury automakers competitive, says Mike O'Driscoll, president of, Jaguar and Land Rover North America. “A constant element over the last decade, has been this increasing democratization of luxury that we've seen,” Mr. O'Driscoll says. BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes and Jaguars were fairly rare sights in suburban driveways 15 years ago, unlike today.
The reason? Luxury is cool, and becoming less expensive. “We've seen a movement in the luxury market over the last 12, 18, 24 months into what we might term the compact price category — the $25,000 through $40,000 segment, from the $40,000 to $50,000 category,” Mr. O'Driscoll says. He notes the Land Rover Freelander, starting at $25,000, and the Jag X-Type, starting at $30,000.