Luxury cars are a lucrative business, with well-heeled customers willing to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the latest models. In return, they demand the best of the best, favoring cars that combine the latest technology with the finest craftsmanship. It’s an ultra-competitive, highly crowded market where success can help boost a brand’s image for years to come.
It’s why so many automakers offer luxury cars, and with such a wide selection available some great cars are bound to slip by unappreciated by buyers. These cars aren’t flops because they’re bad, in fact, they’re exactly the opposite. Let’s take a look at ten of the best luxury cars that turned out to be huge sales flops.
10 Kia K900
The Kia K900 is the South Korean brand’s first serious foray into the world of luxury. It has all the right features on paper, from real wood and leather trim to its Hyundai-sourced 365hp engine. It’s also a lot cheaper than many of its rivals.
In an attempt to differentiate itself from every other luxury sedan, Kia also commissioned a custom analog clock for the K900. It was designed by luxury Swiss watchmaker Maurice Lacroix. Sadly this and every other marketing gimmick Kia tried has so far not translated into sales, as the K900 only recorded a measly 390 US sales in 2019.
9 Audi A8
Audi’s biggest executive sedan is an amalgamation of everything the brand has to offer in technology and comfort. It boasts innovative features like ‘Traffic Jam Pilot’, which takes complete control of the car in heavy highway traffic.
This, among many other features that would be useful everyday, should give it an edge among its competitors. It seems though that the A8 doesn’t have the brand image of rivals such as the BMW 7 Series or Mercedes S Class, and sales have been consistently very weak for years.
8 Mercedes-Benz SL Class
A luxury two-seater convertible may seem like the ultimate weekend cruiser, but as Mercedes have found, not many buyers are willing to pay for it. One of the only cars in its segment, it seems there might be a reason that it doesn’t have many rivals.
A sky-high price of $114,500 makes the top-spec SL Class almost supercar money. It doesn’t have anything close to a supercar’s presence, and maybe that’s why the car has ranked among the worst selling cars in the US for several years.
7 Aston Martin Lagonda
The Aston Martin Lagonda was in many ways a car way ahead of its time. Packed full of technology, and sporting a weird wedge-shaped design, it was a world away from anything Aston had previously made.
Unfortunately the car was also plagued with electrical gremlins and it sold abysmally because of it. It’s a shame as the car offered something completely different to anything else on the market at the time.
6 Infiniti Q70
This car was Nissan’s attempt at taking on the almighty BMW 5 Series. Marketed under the Infiniti brand, the Q70 was a competent and all-round decent package. It offered a great balance of luxury and practicality, but didn’t offer anything that its rivals didn’t already have.
This was the downfall of the Q70: as nice as it was, it was completely forgettable. Sales were terrible and the car was pulled from the US market in 2019.
5 Genesis G90
A newcomer to the luxury game, Hyundai’s premium brand Genesis offers a striking-looking car that, with an MSRP of $72,950, is competitive with its rivals. Being so new, the brand hasn’t had time to find its way into public consciousness yet, and this has affected sales.
It’s a great car that owners say is enjoyable to drive, but most of the American public wouldn’t recognize what it was if they walked past it on the street. That gives the Genesis the unenviable title of one of the worst selling cars of 2020.
4 Mazda Xedos 9/Millenia
Born out of the failure of Mazda’s luxury brand Amati in the mid 1990s, the Xedos 9 offered an entry-level luxury car with Japanese build quality. That sounds like an attractive prospect for many buyers, but the Xedos 9 never took off in the US.
The car was sold under a number of names including the Millenia and the Eunos 800, which didn’t help brand recognition. The biggest issue with the Xedos 9 though was that it was still a Mazda. The brand is very much associated with decent, budget cars, so buying a luxury Mazda seemed like an oxymoron for many.
3 Jaguar XJ
The market for sedans is currently on a downward trend, but even in peak demand Jaguar could never muster up much interest in their XJ. Many owners report the car is supremely comfortable, and has a great handling setup for making long journeys a breeze.
Unfortunately for Jaguar many of those same owners also reported that their Jags were horrendously unreliable. Time in the auto shop is a turn-off for most buyers, but especially so in a car designed for comfort and luxury. When the XJ worked it was a great car; it just didn’t work enough of the time.
2 VW Phaeton
The Phaeton is surely a contender for one of the most pointless cars ever to be put into production. It was essentially a Bentley that was lightly re-engineered by VW, then slapped with a Volkswagen badge. The idea was to bring VW’s image upmarket, but all the Phaeton succeeded in doing was losing the company a lot of money.
The car itself was very similar in handling and feel to a Bentley, which in theory sounds like a good thing. In reality it just meant that anyone that wanted a Bentley continued to buy one, as that badge was much more prestigious. Most owners weren’t willing to pay Bentley running costs for a VW, so sales numbers for the Phaeton were dismal.
1 Maybach 57
Mercedes’ resurrection of Maybach was heralded by some as a welcome revival of an iconic vintage brand. The new Maybach cars themselves, though, never managed to match the hype around the brand. There was one main issue with them: their similarity to the class-leading Mercedes S Class.
The car shared many parts with an S Class, and visually looked extremely similar. Depending on spec, the Maybach cost two to three times as much as an S Class, and this was its undoing. Despite being an ultra-luxe car that boasted the highest quality craftmanship, most buyers couldn’t stomach the insane price hike and opted for an S Class instead.
Source – Hotcars.