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Luxury Car Sales On The Skids And Could Be For A While

2009 BMW 328 Coupe

After several years of steady growth, even as the rest of the market slowed down, the luxury auto segment is finally hitting the brakes. I'm not surprised, nor should you be. In fact, I will not be surprised if the slower luxury sales last a while.

Last month, the head of BMW North America told me at the New York Auto Show that he was seeing some softness with sales. Not just on entry level models, but across the board. Furthermore, used BMW prices were off slightly. The message was clear: the economic slowdown is finally hitting even high end buyers.

I'm not surprised because the luxury market is not an island that can withstand an extended economic slowdown. Especially with luxury autos moving down in price on the entry level end. With more people "moving up" to a luxury model in recent years, there's a better chance that luxury automakers will feel the pinch in harder times.

Bottom line: if you're secure in you personal economic outlook, and have been looking to go with a luxury ride, now may be the best time to get a deal--especially in the used market.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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