Luxury car sales soar in December

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Americans like to make December a month to remember by buying a new car — a luxury car to be exact.

New research from Experian Automotive found that 10% of all luxury cars are registered in December. November was the next highest month, with 8.8%.

Experian found that people who earn more than $100,000 per year are 66% more likely to purchase a luxury car and that the average credit score for luxury vehicle buyers is 746, 36 points higher than the average new car buyer.

Higher cost and monthly payment

The average amount for the new luxury car was $42,876 — nearly $14,000 higher than the average new car loan, and the majority of Americans buying a luxury car — 54% — were actually completing car leases.

“It’s clear that these consumers still are exploring ways to keep their monthly payments low. By choosing to lease vehicles, consumers are able to lower their monthly payments by more than $160 a month,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s senior director of automotive finance.

While costs may be on the minds of these consumers, the current average monthly payment was substantially higher than the overall average for a new car — $592 versus $398 for leased cars and $755 for a luxury car loan versus $482 for a typicalcar loan.

Of luxury vehicle brands, Acura had the lowest monthly payment of $605, while Tesla had the highest at $1,285.

Experian found the top 5 luxury cars registered in December were:

  1. Lexus RX 350, 5.1% (shown above)
  2. Mercedes-Benz C Class, 4.1%
  3. BMW 3 Series, 4%
  4. Acura MDX, 3.2%
  5. Lexus ES 350, 2.9%

Another recent study found that men pay more than women on car leases.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.