Luxury Institute Study Finds Porsche, Mercedes and BMW Most Prestigious Luxury Automobile Brands

New York International Auto Show 2005

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 21, 2005--As the prestigious New York International Auto Show opens its doors to savvy New Yorkers, visitors will be parading by the latest luxury cars wishing they could own and drive these works of art on wheels. As you plan your next luxury car purchase, take note that a nationally representative sample of your wealthy peers ranked Porsche the most prestigious brand in its segment, according to the latest survey from the New York, NY-based Luxury Institute. Porsche and Mercedes distinguished themselves as the two strongest luxury auto brands in the 2005 Luxury Brand Status Index survey. The Institute only surveys wealthy consumers with household incomes above $200K and average net worth of at least $2 million. Twelve luxury automobile brands were rated overall including Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes, Porsche, and Saab.

"In luxury automobiles, it's not just about quality and styling. Prestige ratings are based on the tangible and intangible experiences that luxury brands deliver to their customers and prospects," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute.

"According to the consumers who are most likely to be the initial and heavy buyers over a lifetime, wealthy consumers, Porsche earned an overall rating of 78 vs. 76 for Mercedes and 72 for BMW."

Mercedes edged out Porsche as the brand that delivers consistently superior quality, a fundamental requirement in the luxury automobile category. BMW earned third place on superior quality.

On exclusivity and uniqueness, a key indicator that helps to define a true luxury brand, Porsche was by far the most exclusive and unique brand, followed by Jaguar and Mercedes, who tied for second place.

For wealthy consumers, social status, though rarely discussed, is very important. On some level, the wealthy identify themselves by the collection of brands they consume-and who they perceive is consuming them as well. Mercedes and Porsche tied for top honors as brands that "that are used by people who are admired and respected", a measure of the social status and respectability that a true luxury brand possesses. Jaguar and BMW tied for second place.

The overall customer experience is one of the most critical factors in a brand's measure as a luxury brand. Consumers are not just buying transportation. They are buying a seamless relational customer experience with the brand. Porsche and Mercedes rated a close first and second, respectively, in "making the car buyer feel special". Jaguar rated third in a field of twelve.

Unlike wannabe luxury consumers, the rich are very savvy and unforgiving with respect to value for money. They are not called "the smart money" for nothing. When the Luxury Institute mapped each brand's value index to each brand's worthiness of a significant price premium, Porsche rated a strong first as the brand most worthy of a significant price premium. Mercedes was second, followed by BMW. Two other key clusters emerged from the brand mapping exercise.

The Institute also asked wealthy consumers to rate the change in each brand's status as a luxury brand over the past twelve months. Lexus and Porsche earned top honors as most improved, followed by BMW.

The proprietary Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) is the only measure available of the value and equity of leading luxury brands to wealthy Americans, based on statistically meaningful data collected from wealthy consumers themselves. The LBSI incorporates four main "pillars" of value: consistently superior quality, exclusivity and uniqueness, a measure of enhanced social status, and a measure of the ability of a brand to make a customer "feel special" across the customer experience with the brand. Seven point scale ratings are converted to a 0-100 scale.

In addition to individual and composite metrics by age, gender, income and net worth segments among the wealthy, the survey also measures a brand's ability to merit a significant premium price and measures the correlation of price premium with the composite index of the four critical factors above.

Another highly critical metric feature of the research is a rating by wealthy consumers as to the brand's erosion or enhancement as a luxury brand over the past 12 months.

Using LBSI, the Luxury Institute surveyed a nationally representative valid and reliable statistical sample of more than 200 households with a minimum of $200,000 in gross annual income and minimum net worth of at least $750,000 (including home equity). The brands to be rated were selected by having individual interviews with wealthy consumers and using the print advertising expenditure rankings in luxury print media to determine the most relevant brands.

About the Luxury Institute
The Luxury Institute is a research, subscription-based organization that focuses on the top 10% of America's wealthy. The firm provides publications that guide high net-worth individuals and the companies on leading edge trends, consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. Publications include the monthly Wealth Report, the Luxury Brand Status Index surveys, and the Luxury Best Practices surveys. To reach the Luxury institute, call 646-792-2669 or

No reproduction, in print, electronic or any form without the expressed written permission of
Key Communications Inc. 540-720-5584.