Luxury Car Sales Hit the Skids

Shine wears off top end of auto market as downturn bites
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2008 3:01 AM CST
Lamborghini chief executive Stephan Winkelmann poses next to a Lamborghini Estoque car during a Volkswagen group presentation at Villepinte in Paris last month.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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(Newser) – Sales of luxury cars are dropping as fast as their downmarket counterparts, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sales of top-end vehicles plunged 30% last month, spelling major trouble for carmakers who had been relying on fat profit margins on luxury cars to offset falling demand for mass-markets vehicles. Analysts expect demand to keep falling as top execs continue to lose their jobs.

Beyond financial worries, customers don't want to appear extravagant just now by splurging on a new luxury car while others are struggling. Sales are just as weak in foreign markets. "Even the oligarchs in Russia don't feel rich anymore," said a board member of Bentley Motors. "There aren't many bright spots in the world right now."