Oman motoring: The evolution of luxury

Lifestyle Sunday 21/May/2017 19:36 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman motoring: The evolution of luxury

What comes to mind when ‘luxury cars’ are mentioned? Is it a classic car from the 80s or the latest sports car? In the early 1900s it is fair to say that at the dawn of the automobile age, all cars were a luxury item, relative to personal income, automobiles were an expensive indulgence.

In the early years, only a limited few from the very wealthy class could afford a car. As the industry grew, more affordable models began to appear and luxury manufacturers began to bring in industry firsts and higher quality materials to add exclusivity to their vehicles.

In 1910, Cadillac introduced the first enclosed body called a limousine and it became a standard offering on its models. The luxury car’s evolution has represented the potential for remarkable moments among engineers and inventors. The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado was a hand-made car, a limited model with a long list of innovative features, and named the most luxurious car of its day.

Moments like these redefined the market ensuring innovation and further refinement was added to latest models to deserve the higher price tags.
Perception may have changed when it comes to the definition of a premium car but the traditional elements are still present today. Size, space, comfort, price, and presence defined luxury vehicles in the 1990s; today this has evolved and brands have had to adapt and evolve as “affordable luxury” is present in a growing number of models.

One of the major factors that justify the higher price tag is that despite the evolution of the assembly line and more machines involved in the building process, luxury manufacturers have kept a number of elements handmade, giving every model built a personal touch. In many cases, steering wheels, seats and centre console leather finishes are still all done by hand.

As “affordable luxury” became a norm, luxury automotive brands had to elevate the experience they offer their customers. One of the main points brands began to focus on is the ‘experience’ of owning a high-end vehicle. Meaning that manufacturers offer their customers both experiences and services that you would only come to expect from the premium segment of the automotive hierarchy.

One of these services that take customers of the luxury brands to the next level is ‘Book by Cadillac’ offering a luxury vehicle subscription facility and a one of a kind experience, giving the subscriber the opportunity to alternate between a range of Cadillac models depending on their needs, a large model like the Escalade for a family day out or a CTS-V for a performance infused weekend. All hand delivered to the customer’s door.

Luxury automakers caught in a delicate balancing act. They want to hold on to the heritage and craftsmanship that has helped them to define the luxury domain and made them some of the most sought after automobiles in the world. However, these brands will have to continue to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of customer expectations to remain in a segment that all want to be in, but only a few achieve.