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.
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