5 luxurious automotive manufacturers that made the transfer to commuter automobiles

All people goals of proudly owning an costly automotive. However constructing excessive finish, unique automobiles will not be all the time a pathway to revenue. Simply ask Lamborghini, Maserati or, even at instances in its historical past, Porsche.

Too costly. Not sensible. Tough to drive. These are the elements which have historically restricted gross sales for luxurious auto manufacturers. The answer has all the time been to make use of the fairness in its fascinating badge to promote automobiles the common individual can afford — or, within the case of some supercar producers, automobiles which might be simply simpler to drive.

Typically this technique has been an efficient approach to enable extra clients to expertise a model whereas rising gross sales. For some luxurious automakers, shifting to extra accessible automobiles is solely how they survive and reinvent themselves for a brand new technology.

For others — these manufacturers based for nothing greater than a ardour and love of driving — it’s tough to see their enlargement into the mainstream auto market as little greater than a money seize. Here’s a take a look at 5 high-end manufacturers which have made the transfer to commuter automobiles.


Maybe no model has shifted its focus fairly like Porsche. A model that completely made two-door sports activities automobiles for hardcore fans lower than 20 years in the past is now ubiquitous on the earth of commuter sedans and SUVs.

Nevertheless, you may’t name its Cayenne, Macan and even Panamera merely a rebadge job. Despite the fact that trendy Porsches share a lot in widespread with their Audi and Volkswagen counterpart, something with its iconic badge nonetheless manages to really feel like its greater finish choices — even its new electrical automobile lineup.

When the Cayenne arrived on the scene again in 2003, its success was something however assured. Nevertheless, Porsche quickly discovered that SUVs have been its new meal ticket, as gross sales simply outpaced the Boxster — the model’s earlier try at creating an accessible product.

In 2021, the model greatest identified for manufacturing the basic 911 sports activities automotive bought way more luxurious commuter SUVs than any of its different fashions. Nearly two out of each three Porsches bought that yr was both a Macan or a Cayenne. The truest sports activities automotive Porsche nonetheless makes, the 718, accounted for roughly one in 20 automobiles bought.

The entire scenario looks as if a win-win. Anybody shopping for a Porsche SUV will nonetheless really feel like they’re getting the Porsche expertise. And since Porsche can promote 5 instances as many SUVs as 911s, it means the automaker can finance extra specialised sports activities automobiles for the true fans.


You’d be forgiven for considering that the majority trendy Lamborghinis are simply wide-bodied Audis. What was as soon as an emblem of rebel and bravado in films like “The Cannonball Run,” the Lamborghini badge now stands for capitalism.

In Lamborghini’s defence, the model was by no means really worthwhile earlier than the Volkswagen group took the reins of the corporate within the early 2000s and had Audi engineers sort out all of the noise, vibration and harshness drivers of its sports activities automobiles wanted to take care of.

The consequence was the Gallardo, which is alleged to be Lamborghini’s bestselling automotive. The hassle mixed Lamborghini flamboyance with Audi sensibility and the consequence was a profitable money-maker — for the primary time within the historical past of the model.

The draw back of the Gallardo, as a result of it was no harder to drive than an Audi A6, was that it opened Lamborghini as much as nonenthusiasts — who now not wanted to undergo via heavy clutches, poor visibility and drivetrain points for the joys of the journey. The Gallardo successfully turned Lamborghini right into a style assertion.

The model’s newest, the Urus SUV, is actually an Audi Q7. It’s about as regular as a automobile could be and borrows many parts from a number of manufacturers below the Volkswagen umbrella — together with Porsche. There’s nothing notably courageous, distinctive, cool or Lamborghini concerning the Urus other than its exterior styling. It feels extra like one thing Ford or GM would create.


Maserati has the misfortune of being the Italian sports activities automotive model you consider proper after Ferrari, Lamborghini and perhaps even Alfa Romeo come to thoughts. Whereas fans are extra accustomed to the corporate’s supercars or GTs, Maserati has tried to construct extra commuter-friendly sedans for a number of a long time.

The primary Maserati Quattroporte arrived on the scene in 1963. And whereas there have been some notable gaps in manufacturing (in no small half as a consequence of Maserati possession altering palms incessantly) the model of the Quattroporte we all know immediately arrived in 2003.

Whereas it might have depreciated like a stone, by 2005 the brand new Quattroporte had virtually doubled Maserati gross sales within the U.S. When the smaller Ghibli model was launched, gross sales in America tripled in 2014. Since then, the model has continued to see gross sales development with the introduction of the Levante SUV, and the upcoming Grecale compact SUV ought to proceed this development.

Maserati at present produces just one two-door sports activities automotive, the MC20.


It’s laborious to think about that something may make Ferrari really feel much less particular. Even when the model ventures into the on a regular basis, like with its California or Roma fashions, the automobiles nonetheless have an air of status and exclusivity about them. However there’s nothing pretentious a few Ferrari. It’s not pretending to be something. Each Ferrari, good or dangerous, is declarative, explicit and purposeful.

Nevertheless, Ferrari simply launched its very first SUV, the Purosangue, and it does really feel much less particular as a result of it’s tough to think about the corporate making an SUV for any cause apart from as a result of it has to. You’ll be able to think about firm founder Enzo Ferrari handing over his grave on the thought of slapping the Ferrari badge on a compact SUV simply to promote extra automobiles and generate income.


Many American automotive fans of a sure age may have an anecdote that ends with the road, “That’s when a Cadillac was a Cadillac.” It appears cliched, however there’s some reality within the remark. Immediately it’s laborious to think about a time when Cadillac had a robust model identification, however in 1967, for instance, an entry-level Cadillac Coupe deVille was roughly 20 per cent dearer than a base Corvette.

To purchase one thing like a high-end Cadillac Fleetwood, you have been spending a Rolls Royce-level of cash — you can purchase two Shelby GT500 Mustangs for the value of only one Fleetwood in 1975.

Whereas Cadillac was a near-unobtainable standing image for many years, the model didn’t attraction to Era X in a significant approach and nonetheless struggles to stay aggressive and related to youthful consumers.

The introduction of the Escalade round 2000 helped Cadillac claw again a few of its upscale picture, and in 2003 Cadillac launched the CTS — a real sport sedan meant to compete with German and Japanese imports. Since then, the Cadillac line has prolonged to incorporate the CT4.

Chris D’Alessandro is a Toronto author who grew up in a household of used automotive sellers and mechanics.

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