Blurring the line between luxury and mainstream

Rain sensor wipers. Park assist. Heated rear seats.

Oh the technology and amenities luxury vehicles have to offer.

But wait. These aren't features available only on luxury vehicles anymore.

In fact, they are on some of this year's redesigned mainstream compact cars.

The 2012 Ford Focus, expected in showrooms in March, will offer park assist and rain sensor wipers among other technologies. The 2011 Hyundai Elantra offers heated rear seats -- standard.

Offering those types of features in the highly competitive compact car segment could mark the difference between a great seller and a mediocre player.

It also could herald the end of the mid-luxury segment, which already seems to be going the way of the dinosaur.

The real mystery is how this will affect luxury brands. The line separating luxury models and mainstream offerings is getting thinner and thinner.

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