Mercedes-Benz denies having ‘stupid’ incentive plan to unseat top-ranked Lexus

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 8, 2010

Even as Mercedes-Benz aims to beat Lexus and come out on top of the sales race in the luxury brand segment, it won’t be doing anything “stupid” to achieve this. Dietmar Exler, vice president of Mercedes-Benz Financial USA, said that there will be some programs but there won’t be any drastic measures such as adding sales incentives.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand has been the No. 1 selling luxury brand in the US since 2000. However, the gap between Lexus and rivals Mercedes and BMW has narrowed as Toyota had to cope with the recall crisis.

Exler said, “December is a big month.” TrueCar said that Lexus had more than doubled average incentive spending to $2,152 per vehicle in October when compared to the same period last year.

The researcher added that Mercedes raised its average incentive spending by 9.4% to $4,389 in October. Lexus led Mercedes in the US by 5,449 sales through October. Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends for TrueCar, said that last month, Mercedes offered “crazy” lease deals on some models.

He mentioned that leases on the C-Class sedan were priced at about $300 each month, which is comparable to deals on Honda Motor Co.'s Accord. Toprak said that Mercedes is apparently gunning for the lead in the luxury sales segment this year.

He said that Lexus will respond to Mercedes’ advances by offering “better deals for consumers.” Sales through October in the US totaled 183,529 for Lexus. Mercedes sold 178,080 while BMW had sold 176,736 units.

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