Lexus is again the U.S. luxury-auto sales leader, overtakes Mercedes-Benz

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 5, 2010

For the first time since May, Lexus was able to beat out Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and BMW AG’s BMW brand in October to lead monthly US luxury-auto sales. Lexus is attributing this to consumer discounts.

In a statement, Lexus said that its sales increased by 8.1% to 21,091 vehicles. On Nov. 2, BMW posted a 17% gain to 19,272 while Mercedes reported an increase of less than 1% to 18,351.

Lexus has remained on top of sales in the US luxury segment but it now faces competition from Toyota, which is attempting to recover from the recall crisis, and from Mercedes and BMW, which have been releasing new models.

TrueCar, an auto pricing Web site, said that Lexus had more than doubled average incentive spending in October to $2,152 a vehicle from $923 a year ago.

In an interview, Jim O’Donnell, president of BMW’s North American unit, said that the Toyota unit has been “much more aggressive” than it has ever been. O’Donnell said that Lexus had stayed on the sideline but that now, it will join the fray.

From January to October of this year, Lexus sold 183,529 units in the US. Mercedes sold 178,080 units while BMW, the global leader in luxury-vehicle deliveries, sold 176,736 units.

The totals exclude non-luxury models such as BMW’s Mini cars or Daimler’s Smart cars and Sprinter vans. Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends at California-based TrueCar, said that Lexus sales were boosted by Toyota’s incentive spending and increased advertising in October. [via autonews - sub. required]

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