This has been a pretty good year to sell luxury cars in North America. An improving economy and cheap financing lured trade-up buyers and convinced affluent drivers to freshen their fleets. And while Daimler’s (DAI:GR) Mercedes is in position to finish the year as the bestselling high-end brand, it’s not hard to argue that Cadillac (GM) had the better year.
If we look at total vehicles sold in North America in 2013 by month, Cadillac is a fairly distant fourth place, behind Toyota’s (TM) Lexus brand:
What’s notable, however, is how closely the General Motors brand is tracking its rivals. Cadillac is keeping pace—something it hasn’t always been great at doing.
This gets more impressive when compared to the prior year:
All those red spikes show that although Mercedes and BMW (BMW:GR) may be selling a lot more vehicles, Cadillac dealers are stomping the pedal quite a bit harder.
A Bloomberg News headline in June put some context on the momentum: “GM’s Cadillac Posts Biggest 5-Month Gain Since Disco Era.” The new ATS is a hit and Cadillac’s larger XTS sedan has been selling quickly, too. Heck, even the Escalade, with a starting sticker price of $68,000, is moving the needle.
Condense all those monthly results into a single data point and it becomes apparent that Cadillac dealers in the U.S. crushed dealers of BMWs and Audis. Only Mercedes posted a larger increase in the number of vehicles sold.
On the other hand, Mercedes starts from a larger base. In relative terms, compared to last year, General Motors sold a stunning 25 percent more Cadillacs.
If this year’s rate of car sales were somehow, miraculously, to hold steady, Cadillac would be the top-selling luxury car in America within 5 years.