Lexus has a shot to become No. 1 luxury carmaker in the US this year

Article by Andrew Christian, on February 5, 2015

Lexus might be able to surpass BMW and Mercedes-Benz as the largest luxury carmaker in the United States this year, as backed by up to nine new or revamped models that will be rolled out in 2015. These models -- including a key redesign, three mid-cycle refreshes, new turbocharged options and a special edition – would be essential to Lexus target of a 9-percent jump in US sales to 340,000 vehicles and would be vital to keep the brand fresh as well as to capture younger customers, according to Jeff Bracken, general manager for the luxury marque.

While most Lexus executives are not bent on comparing sales with its German rivals, Bracken says recapturing the crown it lost four years ago remains a part of his mission in the US. Lexus held that crown for 11 years before it was hurt badly by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

"If I did not want to re-secure that luxury leadership position, then my boss probably put the wrong person in this job," Bracken remarked at the Detroit auto show in January. Lexus reached a peak of 329,177 in 2007, before the US economic crisis and Japanese disasters.

In 2014, Lexus surged 14 percent to 311,389 units. Although it was behind BMW (10 percent to 339,738 vehicles) and Mercedes (6 percent to 330,391 vehicles) in 2014, Lexus outpaced both German carmakers.

Lexus intends to continue that growth by expanding its lineup with more versions of existing nameplates -- hybrids, sporty trims and high-performance variants.

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