Published Aug. 29, 2012
BMW and Mercedes-Benz are battling for the title as the nation’s top luxury car brand, and Lexus is pushing to snatch the crown back.
The leaders in luxury brand sales
The chart compares year-to-date sales through July to the same seven-month period in 2011.
SOURCE: Motor Intelligence, Toyota Motor Corp.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus held the title for 11 years but its production suffered following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
BMW overtook Lexus and Mercedes as the top-selling luxury-vehicle brand in the United States for 2011, pushing to the lead as it boosted production of the sports activity models built in Spartanburg County by 80%. The made-in-S.C. BMW X3, X5 and X6 have been popular, leading the percentage increases in BMW sales before slipping in July. The German automaker is investing $900 million in its Upstate plant as it plans to produce a new model, the X4, and eventually boost production to around 350,000 annually. South Carolina production is currently at around 275,000 vehicles, about 70% of which are exported.
Mercedes, meanwhile, has taken over as the leader in U.S. luxury car sales for 2012, narrowly edging out BMW through the first seven months of the year, according to data from Motor Intelligence. And Lexus is recovering from last year’s production disruption and is posting sales increases higher than any of its luxury-brand competitors at 23.2%, compared to 14.9% and 9.4% for Mercedes and BMW, respectively.