Lexus Wins First Round Of Luxury Race

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
lexus wins first round of luxury race

Didn’t BMW make noises that they “want to be the number 1 luxury carmaker in the United States by 2012?“ If that’s still the case, then the boys from Bavaria better get their act together. Currently, they don’t look so good. In the March 2010 sales round-up, they came in with a measly 3 percent growth, while the market grew 24 percent. Then, as Automotive News [sub] points out, there is a dark horse:

Lexus. They were invisible in our list, because they were bunched into the Toyota numbers. AN broke the numbers out and came to the conclusion that “Lexus — the leading luxury-auto brand in the United States for the past decade — used a 42 percent gain in March to inch ahead of rival Mercedes-Benz after the first quarter.”

AN cleaned up all the data, removed all the non-luxury goods, such as Mercedes Sprinter vans (and most likely the odd Smart and Mini) and came to the following conclusion:

Lexus sold 49,523 luxury cars in the first quarter.

Mercedes is just a few behind with 49,229 for the quarter.

BMW comes in third, with 46,323 sold in the first quarter of 2010.

(In case you are missing Audi: They were listed under Volkswagen. A separate press release shows that Audi isn’t even close: They closed out the first quarter with 21,315 units.)

Does that mean the already counted out luxury segment is coming back from the near-dead? Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds is surprised: “We assumed when times were tough that luxury sales would fall. It has held its share of the market. The luxury market is doing pretty well.”

The numbers show a tight neck-on-neck race. Currently, the luxo-brands with the strongest acceleration are Lexus and Daimler. However, it’s a long time until the end of 2012, and a lot can happen in an endurance race.

Join the conversation
2 of 34 comments
  • BMWfan BMWfan on Apr 03, 2010

    I don't know where the status image of owning a BMW comes from in the USA. In Germany, BMW's are just considered regular cars. Mercedes has much more status in Germany. BMW's marketing department seems to be doing a heck of a job over here. Personally, I did not buy my BMW for status, I bought it for the driving dynamics. Almost anyone can buy a CPO BMW, as they are fairly cheap. It's the maintenance at the dealer that will kill you. If you can DIY, a BMW is actually a reasonably cost effective car to own. I also try to drive more carefully when I am in my BMW as to not perpetuate the "BMW drivers are pricks" mentality.

  • Ewok Ewok on Apr 04, 2010

    BMW's marketing department is jumping off the deep end by ditching "ultimate driving machine" for the vague "joy". As for the earlier Saab 9-5 comments: the quality of the interior is great. The 9-5 at the New York show had an interior trimmed with REAL aluminum. Not the painted, "aluminum look" interiors of the CTS and XF, but the real thing. Its the little details such as this that are encouraging to see. If that attention to detail carries over to the 9-4 Saab will have a fighting chance. until then I will consider Saab to be still hungry for brains. BRAINS!

  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂
  • ToolGuy The dealer knows best. 🙂
  • ToolGuy Cool.
  • ToolGuy This truck is the perfect size, and the fuel economy is very impressive.-This post sponsored by ExxonMobil