5-Year Trends in Executive Vehicle Selection
Photo of 2015 A4 courtesy of Audi.
Total registrations for luxury commercial fleet vehicles increased by 15,911 registrations, going from 19,723 in 2012 to 35,634 in 2013, according to analysis of U.S. fleet vehicle registration data from R.L. Polk by IHS Automotive published in Automotive Fleet’s annual Fact Book for the years 2009 through 2013.
In addition, luxury SUVs made up a larger percentage of total luxury commercial fleet vehicles registered in 2011-2013 (46.7 percent) than they did in 2009 (35.1 percent).
Rise & Fall of Registrations
One trend found in the data was the increase in Audi’s yearly share of luxury commercial fleet vehicle registrations, from 7.1 percent in 2012 to 19.1 percent in 2013. Between 2009 and 2011, Audi averaged an 11.5-percent share.
Among the models driving Audi’s increase were the A4, which increased from ninth-ranked (3.5 percent) among entry-level luxury cars in 2012 to first-ranked (20.2 percent) in 2013 — the most recent available data — and the A6, which rose from sixth-ranked (6 percent) among prestige luxury cars in 2012 to first-ranked (15.2 percent) in 2013. The Audi Q5 also rose from 12th-ranked (3 percent) among luxury SUVs in 2012 to first-ranked (8.7 percent) in 2013.
Registrations for luxury commercial fleet vehicles increased from 19,723 in 2012 to 35,634 in 2013. Prestige luxury car registrations increased from 5,041 to 10,050 over that period and entry-level luxury car registrations increased from 5,434 to 9,716. Source: AF Research Department
By contrast, BMW’s share decreased to 11.7 percent in 2013 after averaging 16.7 percent in the previous two years. BMW decreasing the most in commercial fleet registration share in 2013 were the 328, from second-ranked (16 percent) among entry-level luxury cars in 2012 to fourth-ranked (8.6 percent) in 2013; the X3, from 10th-ranked (3.5 percent) among luxury SUVs in 2012 to 17th-ranked (1.9 percent) in 2013; and the X5, from first-ranked (10.2 percent) among luxury SUVs in 2012 to fourth-ranked (5.3 percent) in 2013.
Infiniti’s share of luxury commercial fleet vehicle registrations also decreased in 2013, declining to 6.1 percent from 13 percent in 2012. And, Volvo’s luxury commercial fleet share decreased from 11.6 percent in 2009 to 3.3 percent in 2013.
Specific Models Remaining Steady
As for specific models tracked, consistency appears to be the key theme. A number of models consistently placed in the top 10 in commercial registrations for each luxury fleet category between 2009 and 2013.
Among the entry-level luxury car models that consistently finished in the top 10 were the Audi A4 (No. 1 in 2009, 2010, and 2013), BMW 328 (No. 1 in 2011), and Infiniti G37 (No. 1 in 2012). In the prestige luxury car category, consistent top 10 models included the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (No. 1 in 2010 and 2012) and S-Class (which ranked between No. 3 and No. 5 each year in the 2009-2013 period).
The luxury SUV category also included a handful of perennial top-10 finishers, including the BMW X5 (No. 1 in 2011 and 2012) and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (No. 1 in 2010).
In addition, Lincoln’s vehicles consistently placed in the top 10, with the Town Car — which was discontinued after the 2011 model-year — finishing either No. 1 or No. 2 in the prestige luxury cars ranking each year from 2009 to 2012. The MKS finished third among prestige luxury cars in 2013, while the MKZ was sixth-ranked among entry-level luxury cars that year.