How Low Can They Go? Entry-level Luxe Cars Heat Up

2014 Kia Cadenza — a new entrant in the near-luxury field

“We’re seeing buyers we’ve never seen before in our stores,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, about the impact of the new CLA coupe-like sedan. The model is perhaps the German automaker’s biggest success story in the U.S., with an estimated 80 percent of its buyers coming from outside the Mercedes brand. The automaker still lags behind the market’s “big three” luxury leaders, Mercedes, BMW (XETRA:BMW-DE) and Lexus but scored a 13.5 percent jump in sales last year, selling a record 158,061 vehicles. It is aiming to sell more than 200,000 vehicles during the second half of the decade, and the A3 is expected to play a critical role in reaching that goal. The launch of the A3 makes the whole landscape a lot more competitive in the entry-level luxury market, one of the fastest-growing segments in the U.S.
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The passenger is chopped liver? Further: on the center console is a bank of switches for seat temperature. The driver gets three levels of heated seat and three levels of ventilated seat. The passenger gets two levels of heat and thats it. Huh, again.
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Luxury Car Companies Race to Make Tiny SUVs

It hit U.S. dealerships in October; in December about 15,000 were snapped up. Lincolns director of product development, Scott Tobin, believes his coming crossover will win over first-time luxury buyersnamely, young couplesand empty nesters who want to downsize from large SUVs. Were going straight for one of the most important segments of the pie, and the pie is definitely growing, he says.
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