We keep hearing about the importance of driving electric or hybrid cars to preserve the environment. Then, there’s the threat of gas prices reaching $5 a gallon for the summer. News like this should be dragging down luxury car sales but that is not what’s happening in the market.

The 2012 Special Report: Luxury Automotive Outlook published by Forbes Insights shows that affluent customers are looking at cars again. In the past 3 years, about 18% of those earning $100,000 or more in household income have put a car purchase on their agenda. Digging deeper into the data, analysts say that up to 20% of these affluent buyers have been spending upwards of $40,000 or more on their auto purchases. Based on this data, analysts expect new car sales to keep rising through the first half of this year.

In analyzing luxury car buyer intentions, analysts consider the effects of both traditional and digital media. The “buzz index” by brand also takes brand satisfaction and momentum as well as personal promotion into account. Here are the results from the Luxury Car Buzz Index when it comes to top brands:

  • BMW: Overall winner
  • Lexus: The second place finish is credited to strong customer loyalty especially with respect to brand satisfaction
  • Audi: This brand wins the digital media category thanks to its social media efforts
  • BMW: Traditional media remains an effective strategy for the brand

To keep the sales rolling in, dealers – along with manufacturer support,  will likely be tweaking both their digital and traditional marketing efforts to get the broadest reach possible.

[Source: Moreno, Hugo. Good Times Will Keep Rolling for Luxury Cars. Forbes.com. 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2012]