With the rapid decline in sedan sales and fast rise in demand for SUVs, including luxury models, some brands are questioning the need for a flagship sedan when their seven-passenger SUVs can serve that role. We recently took that notion to luxury vehicle owners and asked them to select the flagship for a variety of luxury brands by reviewing a set of images for each model within a brand.
Nearly 70% of luxury owners still identify a sedan as a luxury brand’s flagship.Iceology Research Communities, February 2019
Despite the launch of new high-priced seven-passenger models like the BMW X7, most luxury owners still selected a 7-Series or sedan as the luxury flagship. The majority of owners claimed that in their minds the seven-passenger models did not convey the status of a flagship. Their primary reasoning was that a seven-passenger SUV has a family connotation and conveys utility as opposed to style, engineering, luxury and performance; features that they associate with a luxury brand. It was not necessarily the fact that the vehicle being rated was an SUV, but the fact that it offered seven-passenger seating.
The tide may turn, however, with the next generation of luxury vehicle owners with them expressing a different sentiment. When aspiring luxury vehicle buyers under the age of thirty were asked their opinion on the matter, they shied away from sedans and expressed greater interest in other vehicle concepts for representing a legitimate flagship like the Audi Q8, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, and Tesla Model X.
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