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      04-14-2006, 10:53 PM   #1

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Lexus replaces BMW in Top 3 Luxury Auto Brands

Luxury Institute Survey: Porsche, Mercedes and Lexus Earn Top Honors as the Most Prestigious Luxury Automobile Brands in 2006!

Thursday April 13, 10:00 am ET

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 13, 2006--America's wealthy rated Porsche the most prestigious luxury automobile for 2006 in an objective and independent survey just released by the New York-based Luxury Institute. Porsche led the field on brand uniqueness and exclusivity, being the brand most driven by people who are admired and respected, and making customers feel special across the entire experience. Lexus, which won handily on superior quality, continued to climb in luxury status, displacing BMW, which came in fourth. Importantly, Lexus was also the brand that most aware wealthy consumers are willing to refer.

"We are gratified that for the second time in a row a majority of discriminating, sophisticated owners has rated Porsche the number one luxury brand," said Peter Schwarzenbauer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. "It reaffirms our belief that by remaining true to our sports car values and history the Porsche brand maintains its position as one of the world's most respected and desirable names."

Thirteen luxury automobile brands were rated overall including Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes, Porsche, Saab, and Volvo. Using LBSI, the Luxury Institute surveyed a nationally representative valid and reliable statistical sample of more than 500 households with a minimum of $200,000 in gross annual income and minimum net worth of at least $750,000 (including home equity).

"The auto industry is one of the most well covered in terms of consumer surveys," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "However, luxury automobile executives need to know how their best prospects and customers, who, according to the Federal Reserve control 70% of all the wealth in the United States, rate their brands. Even within the wealth segments there are major differences in ratings. For example, wealthy women rate Porsche much higher on price worthiness than men, pointing to a major marketing opportunity. In addition, the referrals of wealthy non-owners can influence purchase as much as those of owners. For example, in this year's survey, Lexus is by far the most referred brand regardless of which brand wealthy consumers own."

About the Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and objective research institution that is the objective and independent voice of the wealthy consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research that guide and educate high net- worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, wealthy consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. Publications include the monthly Wealth Report, the Luxury Brand Status Index surveys, the Luxury Best Practices surveys and the Luxury Consumer Experience Index surveys. To reach the Luxury institute, please call 646-792-2669 or go to