Best Selling Luxury Brand In The U.S.: Is Lexus Buying The Title?

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
best selling luxury brand in the u s is lexus buying the title

Toyota drops in China, Canada, The United States, Japan and (almost certainly) Europe, too. You’d think good news would be scarce. And you’re right, it is! But wait, there’s one!

Bloomberg reports that because Lexus made sales gains (mainly through incentives) in October, Lexus is now back in contention to keep its title of “best selling luxury brand in the United States”.

Earlier in the year, there was a real possibility that it would be a 2 horse race, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But because of the good October Lexus had, it’s now a 3 horse race.

Like I mentioned earlier, a key reason behind this sales growth is heavy discounting. In October, Lexus spent $2,152 per vehicle. Compare that to a year earlier, when Lexus spent only $923 per vehicle.

Even BMW was surprised at Lexus’ comeback. “Toyota has been much more aggressive than they’ve ever been,” said Jim O’Donnell, President of BMW’s North America, “We’ve not got Lexus joining the fray where they’ve always stood on the sideline and sort of watched.” In the month of October, Lexus sold 21,091 units, Mercedes-Benz sold 18,351 and BMW sold 19,272. This puts year to date sales at Lexus: 183,529, Mercedes-Benz: 178,080 and BMW: 176,736. Looks like this one is going down to the wire. See you at the end of December!

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15 of 26 comments
  • Akitadog Akitadog on Nov 04, 2010

    Correction: This puts year to date LONG-TERM RENTALS at Lexus: 183,529, Mercedes-Benz: 178,080 and BMW: 176,736.

    • See 3 previous
    • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Nov 04, 2010
      Would it matter if there was zero rate over 60 months? Yes, because you wouldn't be tying up tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars in a rapidly depreciating asset. No matter how much you get for paying cash, you'll pay far more in depreciation and you'll have tied up a lot of cash in the process. You are right, though, that my comment applies more to leases than financing.
  • Philadlj Philadlj on Nov 04, 2010

    25,962: that's combined sales of GM's 'premium' car divisions (Buick and Cadillac) last month. With Mercury's demise, GM is now unique in the US market in offering two distinct premium brands side by side - one more targeted towards Lexus in Buick, the other more targeted to the Germans in Cadillac. But they cross-compete as well, which is why I combine them. Despite their branding issues, Cadillac and Buick collectively have a decisive sales edge over the three horses listed above. Combine YTD sales - 244,975 - with the fact both divisions are ending the year strong, and the race is already over by a few lengths. The real challenge for GM is, how do they get ONE of their brands to compete on the same level as Lexus, Merc, and BMW?

    • See 3 previous
    • Mad scientist Mad scientist on Nov 04, 2010

      Steven02: In 1984, Buick sales peaked at 940,000 units.

  • Lokki Lokki on Nov 04, 2010

    Of the contenders, who makes the most average profit per vehicle? That's the real number worth knowing.

    • See 1 previous
    • Steven02 Steven02 on Nov 04, 2010

      The GX? Did you mean another model?

  • Catbert430 Catbert430 on Nov 04, 2010

    I was recently invited to participate in a panel discussion of BMW vs. Mercedes vs. Audi vs. Lexus. Before the discussion, they kept the sponsor of the clinic a secret and only at the end asked what BMW could do to convince you to choose a BMW as your next vehicle. There were 16 people on the panel. There were only 2 of us who actually gave a damn about cars and wanted to purchase the car that best suited our individual preferences. We were the only 2 buyers (as opposed to lessees) in the room. The other 14 people on the panel just wanted the lowest lease payment they could get and didn't care which one of the 4 offered it. The prestige of the badge at the lowest price was all they cared about. The comment from AKITADOG just brought back the memories of how I had to spend 2 hours with those 14 morons.

    • Steven02 Steven02 on Nov 04, 2010

      Just goes to show you that only 1 in 8 buyers really care about cars :) This is why appliance vehicles sell so well.