The downside of low-end luxury cars
This spring, Irene Yaymadjian, a graduate student in Studio City, Calif., decided she was ready to trade up from her sporty Mini Cooper. “I wanted a nice car but something that won’t put you under,” she says. A few years ago, a Honda, Toyota, or a used luxury car might have made her shortlist. But after looking at the CLA, the entry-level model Mercedes introduced last year, Yaymadjian settled on an Audi A3, another recent arrival in the low-end luxury market. Yaymadjian, 29, paid $38,000 for her car, just a little more than she would have paid for a high-end Honda Accord or Ford Fusion.
That sounds like a win for Audi, but wooing younger drivers on a budget has a downside. The market’s getting crowded, and luxury carmakers risk tarnishing their brands by courting comparisons.
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