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Carmakers upgrade lineups to meet demand for high-end options

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Premium car sales up 36% the last five years

‘Every new car is a luxury purchase’

Part of the problem is that more Americans want expensive SUVs and pickups with all the options, he added, which can cost as much as 40% more than the base price.

Over the last decade, luxury shoppers have proved again and again their willingness to spend more on high-end cars and the financing to go along with them.

“Base models, while enticing in theory, rarely hit the street,” Drury said. “Every new car is a luxury purchase at this point.”

“Who do you blame: The consumer that’s buying up these options, the dealers that are ordering these cars or automakers manufacturing fewer base models?” he said.

As more people are priced out of the new car market, automakers may start testing out cheaper alternatives, he said, although if there is a lot of consumer interest, it could drive up the price for those models, as well.

For now, the best way to get a base model vehicle is to order it directly through a dealer, Drury advised.

“There could be a perfectly good substitute at about half the cost,” he said.

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