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Lexus Shows Impressive Sales Gains After Trailing German Competitors

2015 Lexus NX

Although German brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been dominating luxury vehicle sales in the U.S. for quite some time, Lexus has battled back to make it a three-way race in recent months. In fact, sales figures for last month showed that Lexus outsold Mercedes-Benz for the second time in 2014. Overall year-to-date sales brings Lexus just 12,000 units shy of the luxury leader, BMW.

In the month of May, Lexus sold 26,921 vehicles, marking a 21.1 percent increase over the same period last year. Mercedes sold just 26,617, which represents a mere 4.13 percent increase. Looking at retail sales specifically, excluding vehicle purchases by businesses, Lexus was the top-selling U.S. luxury brand in the first quarter of 2014, selling 65,475 cars and SUVs. Mercedes sold 63,483 vehicles and BMW sold 63,353 vehicles, according to research firm IHS Automotive.

“The volume is not the goal, it’s to do the right things,” said Mark Templin, executive vice president of Lexus, in an interview with Bloomberg. “It’s nice to know that people are responding to the new products we’ve launched. Over the last two years, we’ve had a string of hits.”

Lexus is no stranger to being a formidable sales leader in U.S. luxury vehicle sales. Prior to the earthquake and tsunami that decimated Japan in March 2011, Lexus was a sales powerhouse. However, Toyota builds every Lexus model in Japan, except for the RX SUV, so the disaster greatly impacted the brand and the vehicles it ships to the U.S. market.

What’s important to note about recent luxury sales trends is that BMW and Mercedes are looking to boost volume by going down market, with the help of entry-level vehicles priced for less than $30,000, as with Mercedes’ CLA. Lexus, however, is making larger gains without going down market. With models like the RC coupe and the NX compact crossover (pictured above) heading to showrooms, Lexus is likely to keep its German competitors on their toes, while keeping its brand intact.

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