Mercedes, BMW Get Faster Start to the U.S. Sales Year Than Toyota's Lexus
By Tim Higgins - Feb 1, 2011
Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s namesake brand got a faster sales start on the new year than Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus, which has been the annual leader among luxury brands for 11 years.
Mercedes U.S. sales rose 11 percent from a year ago to 16,398 and BMW reported a 21 percent gain to 15,905, while Lexus said yesterday sales declined 17 percent to 12,860.
Lexus last year held off BMW and Mercedes to keep the top luxury sales spot in the U.S., a position it’s held since 2000, as both German brands gained ground on the unit of Toyota City, Japan-based Toyota. Now BMW’s redesigned X3 sport-utility vehicle is in showrooms and Mercedes is planning to bring out a refreshed C-Class sedan, the brand’s volume leader.
“A new year, a new race,” said Jesse Toprak, an industry analyst with TrueCar.com, a Santa Monica, California-based website that tracks industry sales. “Probably another photo finish.”
The Lexus annual lead over BMW shrank to 9,216 in 2010, less than half the 19,473 gap in 2009. The Japanese automaker’s 2010 sales rose 6.2 percent to 229,329. BMW’s U.S. sales rose 12 percent to 220,113 in 2010 while Mercedes rose 14 percent to 216,448 for the year.