America’s Best-Selling Luxury Car Is … a Truck?

When thinking of cars priced over $50,000 in America, most minds gravitate toward fancy Mercedes-Benz sedans, BMWs, and well-appointed SUVs. You’d be right to think along those lines. According to new TrueCar sales data published by the Wall Street Journal, Germany’s premium brands join General Motors’ Denali line in occupying six of the 10 best-selling vehicles above $50K.

The vehicles filling the other four slots may come as a surprise. Platinum and high-trim versions of workhorse pickup trucks have begun representing the new luxury class in America. If a vehicle can handle any work task and also look good when hitting the town Saturday nights, wouldn’t that automobile fill two niches at once? U.S. consumers are officially on board with this version of premium.

Here are the 10 best-selling vehicles in the U.S. with a price tag above $50,000. Figures were estimated by TrueCar to include all 12 months of 2014.

Source: General Motors

10. GMC Sierra

The GMC Sierra 1500 starts at $26,075 in its base trim, but the Denali line begins above $48K. Clearly, the pricier versions are finding plenty of homes in the U.S. TrueCar estimates 33,455 models of the Sierra will roll off dealer lots with packages pushing the price past $50K. That figure represents 16% of the vehicles GMC will sell in 2014.

Source: BMW

9. BMW X5

You can’t get a BMW X5 for less than $50,ooo, so this luxury crossover sells 100% of its models at the price range in question. Data projects BMW will move 42,931 models of the X5 in 2014. Even at this conservative estimate (BMW sold 40,933 X5s through November), that makes the X5 the ninth-best seller in America. Its combination of status, utility, and comfort have put the X5 in the top 100 vehicles sold in the U.S.

Source: Mercedes

8. Mercedes M-Class

With an MSRP of $48,300, it takes the right dealer to get you off the lot in a Mercedes M-Class SUV for under $50K. TrueCar says 94% surpassed that mark in 2014. The 43,010 models that eclipse $50,000 make M-Class the eighth-best seller on the U.S. market in this price range. Its high clearance, classic Benz performance, and popular 250 BlueTec trim (featuring 29 highway miles per gallon) are getting the job done for Mercedes.

2015 Suburban ltz
Source: General Motors

7. Chevrolet Suburban

In Sony’s The Other Guys, Damon Wayans has a special brand of mockery for Will Ferrell’s Prius: “My Suburban [expletive] one of these last night,” Wayans says, and this large SUV may be capable of such a feat. TrueCar estimates 45,668 models of the Suburban will sell above $50K, which amounts to 84% of Suburban’s overall sales. At the 2015 model’s $48,250 MSRP, we’re guessing the tally next year will be around 100%.

The Denali trim of the GMC Yukon (Suburban’s corporate brother) is already way beyond that point. The Wall Street Journal reports GM executives quoting the average Yukon Denali at $68,000.

BMW 5 series sedan
Source: BMW

6. BMW 5-Series

Finally, a German luxury sedan. BMW’s elegant 5-Series starts at $49,950, so there is little chance of getting one off the lot for less than $55K. Still, TrueCar estimates only 85% of 5-Series models sold in America (47,312) went for over $50K in 2014. Considering there are 13 different 5-Series models for consumers to mull over, the automaker certainly is not afraid to stretch the limits of variations.

Source: Chevrolet
Source: General Motors

5. Chevy Silverado

With the LTZ ($45,120 with four-wheel drive) and High Country ($50,850 with 4WD), the Chevy Silverado can get luxurious and pricey. TrueCar figures put 57,010 models of the Silverado stretching above $50K in 2014. While that number might seem high, it’s only 11% of Chevy’s Silverado sales. By placing in four spots on this list, it is clear pickup trucks have found their high-end niche.

chevy tahoe 2015
Source: General Motors

4. Chevy Tahoe

The base Chevy Tahoe starts at $45,550, making it the only trim available for less than $50K, but U.S.consumers are not taking GM up on its least pricey model. About 70% have opted for the configurations that put Tahoe into the luxury price segment. TrueCar estimates 66,945 models of the Tahoe have gone above $50K in 2014.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Luxury Sedan
Source: Mercedes-Benz

3. Mercedes Benz E-Class

Several generations of U.S. car buyers have considered cars like the Mercedes E350 ($52,300) the quintessential luxury vehicle. Even with so many trucks bullying their way onto this list, Mercedes E-Class sedans still lock down third place with 67,006 units cracking the $50K mark. Naturally, nearly every E-Class model rolling off the lot will eclipse that mark. About 95% did so in 2014.

2014 Ram 1500
Source: Fiat Chrysler

2. Ram trucks

Ram trucks and Camry were neck-and-neck for third place in 2014 U.S. vehicle sales, hovering around 400,000 units sold through November. By the end of the year, TrueCar estimates 72,266 trucks Ram sells will be priced over $50K. That figure represents about 18% of Ram’s overall pickup sales, which is a huge number compared to Chevy’s 11% with the Silverado.

2015 Ford F-150
Source: Ford Motor Company

1. Ford F-Series

The king of U.S. vehicle sales for decades is also the king of premium vehicle sales. TrueCar says one-quarter (25%) of Ford’s massive F-Series truck sales will exceed the price of $50K. With 189,776 F-Series trucks eclipsing that price point, Ford has twice as many pricey pickups sold than GM did with Sierra and Silverado combined. Between the King Ranch ($48,495) and Platinum F-150 ($50,960), consumers have their options when they want a useful, well-appointed truck. It’s enough to make someone wonder if Ford needs its Lincoln division. It already has the best-selling expensive vehicle in the United States.

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