Image: Aston Martin V-8 Vantage coupe
Aston Martin
The Aston Martin V-8 Vantage coupe has a base price of $110,000.
updated 4/10/2006 12:39:35 PM ET 2006-04-10T16:39:35

This spring’s hottest new cars are all about money.

Half of the vehicles in the following slide show, which highlights ten of this season’s most desirable new luxury cars, have sticker prices in the six figures. What’s more, they are worth it.

We are talking about such highly desirable vehicles as the newest Aston Martin from Ford Motor, the 500-horsepower BMW M6 coupe and the quickest Cadillac that General Motors has ever built, the XLR-V convertible.

Fortunes are riding on these vehicles. Take the ultra-cool Cadillac Escalade EXT pickup, which will go on sale in May. It is part of the new Escalade family (the SUV version just went on sale), and GM desperately needs the Escalade to be a hit. The nameplate is not only the flagship vehicle riding on GM’s new GMT900 architecture, on which the company may have spent over $1 billion (GM has repeatedly declined to declare the development cost to, it is also a risk: an expensive, big, high-profit truck line that is coming out as sales of such vehicles are declining.

Like GM, Audi has a lot riding on a new SUV. The company is banking on its new Q7 sport-utility to keep profits and sales increasing. As far back as early 2005, Audi executives had said that the outlook for 2005 was positive, but that the company expected bigger sales gains in 2006 with the introduction of the SUV.

Audi expects serious profits from the Q7, just as DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz subsidiary expects to make a lot of money on two of its new cars, the S-Class sedan and GL-Class SUV. As a Mercedes official said in an interview in California at the GL’s media introduction last month, “We don’t build loss-making cars.”

Jaguar sure does. Analysts say the company spent over $1 billion to develop aluminum cars, but it is reportedly giving up on the expensive technology and going back to steel bodies--with its tail between its legs--in response to disappointing sales and massive losses.

Still, Jag’s new XK two-door flagship is aluminum, which makes the car lighter. It also features such frightfully expensive, razzle-dazzle components as aerospace-sourced bonding technology.

Jaguar spent most of the budget for overhauls to the XK and the XJ sedan on converting the cars to aluminum, but it has learned that such fancy technology would be more appropriate on exotic cars such as Aston Martins, where unit volume is lower, sticker prices are higher and demand is greater due to short supply, so sales tend not to disappoint.

On the other hand, fancy technology can drive mass-market profits. Toyota Motor shocked the auto business by proving a company can make money on gas/electric hybrid cars, which are expensive to build; you just need to sell a lot of them. In the slide show, you can see Toyota’s new Lexus GS Hybrid — the first hybrid luxury sedan.

Not all the automakers featured in the slide show are guaranteed financial success with their new cars, but auto enthusiasts are sure in for a great spring. Whether the vehicles on our list turn profits or not, they are handsome, super-fast, sophisticated and, in some cases, daring.

© 2012


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