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2009 Lexus LS 600h L (hybrid)  (Source: Sacramento Scoop)

2009 Lexus GS 450h (hybrid)  (Source: Auto Spectator)

2009 Cadillac Escalade hybrid  (Source: Auto Channel)
Toyota's Lexus brand and GM are particularly catching the hybrid discount fever

If you want to buy a luxury hybrid, now might be the time to do it.  While the 2010 Toyota Prius -- an affordable third generation hybrid sedan -- may be burning up the sales charts, luxury and large hybrids are getting burned by the market.  As a result, dealers are issuing large discounts in hopes of buoying the sinking sales.

One of the problems is that gas prices have been relatively low.  Across much of the U.S., gas has fallen to $2.50 a gallon or less, down from highs of $3 or even $4 per gallon of a year or two ago.  At the same time, the rich aren't quite as rich as they once were -- due to the recession -- and luxury vehicle sales across the board have dropped accordingly.

The combination has created a perfect storm for the luxury hybrid industry.  While some Toyota dealers may be "adjusting" Prius prices past their MSRP, Toyota's own Lexus brand is making cuts to try to sell its hybrid models.  The Lexus LS 600h L, a high end luxury sedan which starts at $106,035 -- making it the most expensive hybrid on the market -- has received a whopping $10,000 incentive.  And Toyota is giving $1,000 to sales associates who can sell one of the beasts, as an extra incentive to try to move them off the lot.

Through September, sales of the entire LS lineup were down 53 percent, though Toyota did not specify exact sales numbers for the hybrid variant.  A $3,000 discount and $1,000 sales associate bonus have also been issued on the 2009 Lexus GS 450h midsize sedan.  Starting at $56,550 the GS isn't as costly, but its sales have still been hurt significantly by the collapse of the luxury market.

Another brand that has been taking a lot of damage is GM's Cadillac brand.  Traditionally a strong seller, the Cadillac Escalade SUV has seen its sales drop of 44 percent.  The 2009 hybrid Escalade, which starts at $73,135 has seen five figure discounts offered from some retailers, surpassing even Toyota's aggressive luxury brand discounting.  The hybrid had previously looked to be a promising seller, thanks to GM's hot .

GM's Chevrolet and GMC hybrid variants of the full-size SUV platform have also been hurting.  While these vehicles are not targeted at the luxury market, they come with relatively high prices, approaching the cost of a luxury sedan.  GM has also been aggressively discounting these models.

Currently, according to Edmunds.com, luxury vehicles carry an average discount of $6,551 per vehicle.  This is second only to premium sports cars.



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Good.
By quiksilvr on 10/6/2009 1:36:37 PM , Rating: 5
Discount the hell outta them. The time has come where these luxury car makers got a dose of reality and are pricing their products more realistically.




RE: Good.
By Drag0nFire on 10/6/2009 1:39:42 PM , Rating: 1
A part of me almost wishes the price of gas would spike back up again... it was truly wonderful to watch people dumping their gas-guzzling SUVs for more efficient cars when gas was up near $4 last year.

I don't want to cause widespread financial pain, but the incentive was a powerful and productive one.


RE: Good.
By eickst on 10/6/2009 2:16:22 PM , Rating: 3
Was it truly wonderful to watch the economy take a dump when gas prices spiked also?


RE: Good.
By ChuckDriver on 10/6/2009 2:16:50 PM , Rating: 5
For a lot of those people, they lost more on the depreciation they realized at trade-in than they ever would have spent on gas, even at $4/gallon.


RE: Good.
By Boze on 10/6/2009 9:05:32 PM , Rating: 4
How true that is Chuck. And the humorous thing is, most truly affluent people who understand how to use money to their advantage, aren't really worried about $4 a gallon gas. They're not even worried about $5 / gallon gas. I think the last time I looked into it, there were around 7 million households in America with net assets of more than $1 million. There are about 3 million or so households with yearly incomes of $250,000 or more (I'm going off memory here folks, so please don't skewer me too badly if my facts are off, I'm trying to make a point).

The truly wealthy people, for whom buying, say, a hybrid Audi A8, if such a beast existed one day, wouldn't really care about the fact its a hybrid or not, nor would they care that if gas was even $10 a gallon. Your outlook on what is an acceptable price for a product or service is intrinsically linked to your wealth.

A man with $50 million in the bank doesn't care about $4 a gallon gas any more than he cares about the $35 filet mignon he ate for dinner last night. In short, a lot of the people who were trading in those huge vehicles had no business driving them anyway, because they couldn't afford them. I dunno exactly when or where it became un-American to leave within your means, but we sure need to get back to that point sometime soon...


RE: Good.
By Spuke on 10/6/2009 9:26:29 PM , Rating: 3
I make nowhere near $1 million and my wife and I calculated that it would take $10/gal gas and an out the door cost of $13k for another car that gets at least 28 mpg on her commute, to actually make buying that car to replace her truck as a commuter cost effective. And even then, we would only save $150 or so a month.

So what we did actually do was figure out the cost increase over what we thought was acceptable for gas on the truck and reduced that cost elsewhere. My wife drank SB coffees everyday so we decided that she would only do that once every other week.

In all honesty, I only did that for her as our budget doesn't have a problem with $5/gal gas on a pickup truck.


RE: Good.
By quiksilvr on 10/6/2009 11:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
Well one benefit would be maintenance costs. As vehicles get older, they need special oil, special coolant, and if you have been using it for a very VERY long time, you might have to replace the springs in the suspension or the timing belt, or even worse, the car could be on its last leg and the transmission might go.

Being able to trade a car not nearly worth $4500 for $4500 and getting a much safer and more reliable car that takes less fuel in return isn't bad.

It's not for everyone, but that doesn't mean it's not for nobody.


RE: Good.
By aguilpa1 on 10/7/2009 11:18:26 AM , Rating: 2
This is the point of view that has always baffled me. You and I understand that the people for whom these car manufactures target can afford gas at most any price so why give "them" the hybrids???? Make hybrids for the masses like the original Volkswagen and Model T. Hard working people who are hurt by high gas prices are the ones who most need a hybrid vehicle, not the filthy rich.


RE: Good.
By EasyC on 10/7/2009 12:45:49 PM , Rating: 2
Because rich people wouldn't be rich if they frivelously spent all their money.

I support the idea of making all hybrids available for all classes. A rich person's decision to buy a hybrid will trickle down to the lower classes if you realize it or not. The cost of gas is based off supply and demand to some extent. If the demand drops and supply remains, that means price will drop too. So if rich people all switched to a hybrid, the lower and middle class would see the decrease in gas price as well.

This, of course, is on a larger scale then just your local neighborhood rich family, but you get the idea.


RE: Good.
By IcePickFreak on 10/6/2009 2:22:56 PM , Rating: 2
A part of me wishes they jack the price up food...it would be truly wonderful to watch all the fat-ass Americans eating less for a change.

Now I'm an American, but does the above sound like a sound plan to lower the amount of obesity in the US?


RE: Good.
By kattanna on 10/6/2009 2:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
all of me would like to see assholes who have nothing better then to tell others how to live, fuck off and die.


RE: Good.
By Drag0nFire on 10/6/2009 2:55:34 PM , Rating: 1
Call me an asshole if you'd like, but we'll see who's the asshole when we run out of oil by 2050. I bet that will cause the economy to tank.

Seriously, though. We need to start finding alternatives to drilling oil, and we need to start now. Oil is important for far more than just transportation.


RE: Good.
By kattanna on 10/6/2009 3:12:27 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
when we run out of oil by 2050.


oh.. thanks man. i needed a good belly laugh

we have been just around the bend to running out of oil since we first started using it.

we willnt RUN OUT of oil. we will one day get to a point where the price to drill and pump new reserves might make it expensive enough that it will make alternate sources more attractive and they will take its place. thats the natural order of things. it will happen gradually. we will not suddenly wake up one day and christmas is ruined because the day before the worlds oil suddenly ran out.


RE: Good.
By rudolphna on 10/6/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good.
By nuarbnellaffej on 10/7/2009 12:13:39 AM , Rating: 1
Wow, you completely missed the point he was making... He is not saying oil will last forever, but once the price is high enough, new technologies will be developed, it is something that will not happen overnight...


RE: Good.
By MamiyaOtaru on 10/7/2009 6:04:26 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't have to run out, production just has to drop while demand continues to grow. Where do you think the $4 a gallon gas came from? It went back down thanks to recession, but will rise again. We're stuck between high gas prices and recession, and will end up with both


RE: Good.
By kattanna on 10/6/2009 3:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
LOL.. im amazed how no one has pointed out the irony of my above statement

oh wells..


RE: Good.
By Totally on 10/6/2009 3:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
I was, but you already pointed it out yourself.


RE: Good.
By JKflipflop98 on 10/6/2009 5:43:49 PM , Rating: 1
A really big part of me (no, not that part) wishes that the farmers of America would get together in a bigass union. Just like the oil producers and OPEC.

That should give us a great deal of power when negotiating prices per barrel. If push comes to shove, we can turn our corn into fuel. Lets see them turn oil into Cornflakes.


RE: Good.
By Reclaimer77 on 10/6/2009 5:49:53 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it be easier to make the polar bear mongering hippies stfu and drill our own oil ?


RE: Good.
By MamiyaOtaru on 10/7/2009 6:07:45 AM , Rating: 2
it would take a massive amount of corn to create enough fuel to satisfy our energy usage. And that corn is grown with pesticides and fertilizers based in large part on fossil fuels.

You aren't far off, oil producing nations where hit hard by food shortages/price spikes when oil was super expensive, but there's no way we can supply our energy needs with corn (not to mention doing that and supplying our food needs at the same time)


RE: Good.
By Alexstarfire on 10/7/2009 6:15:54 AM , Rating: 2
I'm actually quite confident that we could if we had to, but I also think it's certainly not something we want to do if we don't have to.


RE: Good.
By Alexstarfire on 10/7/2009 6:14:17 AM , Rating: 1
Dude, that's fucking hilarious.


RE: Good.
By Noya on 10/6/2009 8:06:22 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
jack the price up food...it would be truly wonderful to watch all the fat-ass Americans eating less for a change.


I would rather them tax junk food (sweets, chips, soda, white bread, most cereal, corn syrup filled items, etc) and subsidize healthy food (fruit/veg, lean meats and organics).


RE: Good.
By mezman on 10/6/2009 4:46:27 PM , Rating: 1
You, sir, are the worst kind of person. Wishing pain upon others to further your political aims is just horrible and you should be embarrassed.


RE: Good.
By KCjoker on 10/6/2009 7:07:46 PM , Rating: 2
So your point is the market helps to dictate what people buy? What a concept, let Obama know would you please.


RE: Good.
By chrnochime on 10/7/2009 1:20:37 AM , Rating: 2
You mean so that ppl with 50k household income can go buy an S-class? Don't make me laugh.

The cars might seem like rip-offs, but then some of them are actually worth their asking price. The E350 and E550 are certainly not that unrealistically priced.


RE: Good.
By Spuke on 10/7/2009 11:47:46 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
The cars might seem like rip-offs, but then some of them are actually worth their asking price. The E350 and E550 are certainly not that unrealistically priced.
Most people have no concept of what makes a Mercedes Benz S550 different from a Toyota Camry. Most people think that they're the same and you're simply paying for the name. LOL! One only needs to visit their respective websites and look at the content differences to find out what the differences are but most would rather make ignorant statements than to actually find out the facts.

If you want a luxury car so bad, buy one used. It's the same car, only someone else paid the depreciation for you.

Here's a certified used 07 E350 with 14k miles for $32k.
http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.jsp?ct=c&car_id=...


oh STFU
By Freezebyte on 10/6/2009 10:00:21 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sick of you oil running out doomsdayers. Go to the forest and live like hippies and leave the rest of us and our earth destroy cars alone.




RE: oh STFU
By chrnochime on 10/7/2009 1:24:41 AM , Rating: 2
Ya mean leave us alone so we can drill more holes into Earth and pretend all that pollution is absolutely fine?

Make no mistake I like cars too, but then I don't pretend none of this has any negative effect on nature.


RE: oh STFU
By Spuke on 10/7/2009 12:20:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Make no mistake I like cars too, but then I don't pretend none of this has any negative effect on nature.
I like cars too but don't pretend that they are the sole polluters. Nor do I pretend that cars pollute nearly as much as even 10 years ago. There's a joke out here in CA that the air coming out of a cars tailpipe is cleaner than the air going into the engine. Cars nowadays are EXTREMELY clean. Even Nissan's GTR meets LEV II ULEV standards.


RE: oh STFU
By Spuke on 10/7/2009 12:51:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Make no mistake I like cars too, but then I don't pretend none of this has any negative effect on nature.
I like cars too but don't pretend that they are the sole polluters. Nor do I pretend that cars pollute nearly as much as even 10 years ago. There's a joke out here in CA that the air coming out of a cars tailpipe is cleaner than the air going into the engine. Cars nowadays are EXTREMELY clean. Even Nissan's GTR meets LEV II ULEV standards.


RE: oh STFU
By Spuke on 10/7/2009 1:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Make no mistake I like cars too, but then I don't pretend none of this has any negative effect on nature.
I like cars too but don't pretend that they are the sole polluters. Nor do I pretend that cars pollute nearly as much as even 10 years ago. There's a joke out here in CA that the air coming out of a cars tailpipe is cleaner than the air going into the engine. Cars nowadays are EXTREMELY clean. Even Nissan's GTR meets LEV II ULEV standards.


RE: oh STFU
By Spuke on 10/7/2009 1:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Make no mistake I like cars too, but then I don't pretend none of this has any negative effect on nature.
I like cars too but don't pretend that they are the sole polluters. Nor do I pretend that cars pollute nearly as much as even 10 years ago. There's a joke out here in CA that the air coming out of a cars tailpipe is cleaner than the air going into the engine. Cars nowadays are EXTREMELY clean. Even Nissan's GTR meets LEV II ULEV standards.


RE: oh STFU
By Spuke on 10/7/2009 2:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Make no mistake I like cars too, but then I don't pretend none of this has any negative effect on nature.
I like cars too but don't pretend that they are the sole polluters. Nor do I pretend that cars pollute nearly as much as even 10 years ago. There's a joke out here in CA that the air coming out of a cars tailpipe is cleaner than the air going into the engine. Cars nowadays are EXTREMELY clean. Even Nissan's GTR meets LEV II ULEV standards.


RE: oh STFU
By sdsdv10 on 10/9/2009 4:04:07 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, quintuple posts. Is that like a record or something...


What's the point of luxury hybrids?
By Yawgm0th on 10/6/2009 3:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
Aside from hybrids actually being designed for performance reasons, what is the point of a "luxury" hybrid sedan? non-hybrid SUVs have better fuel economy than luxury hybrid sedans. Even the non-hybrid luxury sedans have about the same combined mileage as the luxuries do, just with worse city and better highway.

Even the most ignorant eco-freak isn't really going to kid themselves into thinking that a sedan that gets 22/25 is really better for the environment or their wallet than a 23/27 non-hybrid SUV. If a car gets worse mileage than a cheaper vehicle with twice the weight with more space, the owner can't possibly be dumb enough to think he or she is getting good mileage.

There is definitely a market, I think, for "green" luxury cars, even at a ridiculous price point. When such a thing exists, I'm sure it could turn a profit.




RE: What's the point of luxury hybrids?
By Pirks on 10/6/2009 3:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla


RE: What's the point of luxury hybrids?
By Yawgm0th on 10/6/2009 4:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say 45 to 600 minutes for a full charge is too impractical for your average luxury sedan owner. Recharge time is, IMO, a bigger hurdle for plug-in vehicles than price. A car stops being luxurious when it becomes a tremendous hassle to use and maintain.


RE: What's the point of luxury hybrids?
By Targon on 10/6/2009 6:35:49 PM , Rating: 2
You are looking at it from the perspective of NiMH or NiCa batteries, not the carbon nanotube technology that is still being worked on. The newer technology may take the time down to 4 minutes for a full charge with enough battery life to go for 400 miles.


By Pirks on 10/6/2009 7:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
Not in foreseeable future though :-(


By rudolphna on 10/6/2009 8:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, are you going to be the one paying for the 900,000 ampere wires and fuses and safety equipment running to residential areas and houses? Our power grid is decrepit enough that even a single car charging at that rate would probably crash it. The power lines probably couldn't even handle that kind of a load.


By kattanna on 10/6/2009 4:07:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even the most ignorant eco-freak isn't really going to kid themselves into thinking


and that there is the root of the problem

;>)


By Alexstarfire on 10/7/2009 6:31:51 AM , Rating: 1
An "eco-freak," as you put it, wouldn't be looking at a luxury car to begin with. I do see your point though. Having looked at the FE numbers for luxury sedans and SUVs for another article I realized how horrible they were, for luxury cars I mean. But I also noticed that the weights were similar. Obviously they don't compare to something like the Yukon or Hummer, as they are fucking huge, but for the FE you are talking about the weights are strikingly similar.

Of course, these SUVs you are talking about aren't much of a comparison to a luxury car, unless it's a luxury SUV, but then they get even worse FE.


Emblem
By Machinegear on 10/6/2009 2:21:06 PM , Rating: 2
Many hybrids are being pushed pretty hard vs demanded as demonstrated by the sales numbers.

Side story, yesterday while hopping into my wife's car my eye was quickly caught by an Escalade parked beside us (like the one in the picture above). It had a *very* large Hybrid emblem on each side of it. I swear it must of been the largest plastic car badge I have ever seen on a consumer vehicle; rivaling the size of badges placed on Semi trucks! Yeah. It was big. You should see it.




RE: Emblem
By Smartless on 10/6/2009 3:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
Well, at least it gets decent mileage at 20/21 with a badge like that and is a huge improvement over the original.

Of course, when you start as the highest cost/mile...


What's the world come to
By fic2 on 10/6/2009 7:38:11 PM , Rating: 2
What has the world come to when even gang bangers won't steal an Escalade Hybrid?

Funny thing is I read:
quote:
five figure discounts


as five finger discounts




"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer














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