This July, the US sales of BMW AG's namesake luxury brand rose by 16%, closing the gap among top-selling luxury brands with Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus, which didn't change by a lot despite the recalls. BMW sales increased to 19,064 units. Meanwhile, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz sold 17,367 vehicles, a 7% increase from a year earlier.
Lexus posted an increase of less than 1% to 18,595. The two brands were able to gain on Lexus due to sales from its revamped models, including BMW's 5 Series sedans and Mercedes's E-Class cars. The Toyota division was adversely affected by record recalls in the past year, including Lexus models such as the LS 460 sedan and GX 460 sport-utility vehicle.
Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com, said that just as Lexus hit a weak spot, other cars were able to take some of its market share. She described the scenario as a "really close" three-horse race. Until last month, Lexus was able to sell 126,025 cars and light trucks, compared with 121,041 for Mercedes and 119,696 for the BMW brand.
For the second consecutive month, BMW gained on Lexus as it moves closer to its goal of overtaking Lexus for top rank in US luxury sales by 2012. Caldwell stated that Lexus has been the leader since 2000.
BMW was able to sell 9.6% more 5 Series sedans and 51% more X5 SUVs in July than the previous year. Mercedes C-Class sales increased by 19% for the month. Lexus felt the sting of a 9.4% drop in demand for its cars, while deliveries of its SUVs increased by 12%.