Pricey, Sporty, Hearty

Despite the market's ups and downs, high-priced sports cars have fared relatively well in the U.S. since 1995, when the segment's sales hit a 15-year low. Since then, luxury sports cars have increased their share of market from a tiny 0.4% to a surprisingly high (considering their price and impracticality) 0.7% so far this year. As small as it is, this segment is one of only two car sectors to increase

Despite the market's ups and downs, high-priced sports cars have fared relatively well in the U.S. since 1995, when the segment's sales hit a 15-year low.

Since then, luxury sports cars have increased their share of market from a tiny 0.4% to a surprisingly high (considering their price and impracticality) 0.7% so far this year. As small as it is, this segment is one of only two car sectors to increase share while light trucks have grown to a dominant position in the U.S.

They are little more than a fantasy for the vast majority of buyers, with prices ranging from $30,000 to well over $100,000 — not including exotics in the multi-hundred thousand-dollar ranges — but they garner attention far beyond their customer base.

But being a small-volume segment comprised largely of toys for the most affluent, it is highly dependent on new entries or major redesigns. It also makes for a feast-or-famine product cycle.

It's not unusual to see sales severely decline only two years after a successful launch. The few that have maintained relatively stable segment share since 1995 — the Corvette and, until recently, the Porsche 911 — did so through major mid-cycle product cycle upgrades or significant new trim levels, often featuring a higher-performance engine. But the segment has few long-time players.

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