The Korea Herald


Lexus holds off BMW to retain top U.S. luxury spot

By 이현주

Published : Jan. 5, 2011 - 18:23

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Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus outsold Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s BMW and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz last month, helping the Japanese brand secure the top spot in U.S. luxury auto sales for the 11th straight year.

Lexus sold 27,560 cars and sport-utility vehicles in December in the U.S. and 229,329 for 2010, the Toyota City, Japan-based automaker said Tuesday in a statement. The brand’s sales fell 3.5 percent in December from a year earlier while rising 6.2 percent for all of 2010.

The Lexus annual lead over BMW shrank to 9,216, less than half the 19,473 gap in 2009. Mercedes’s U.S. sales increased 14 percent last year, leaving the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker’s brand in third. “It was a bit of a roller coaster” for Lexus last year, said Jesse Toprak, an analyst at, a website that tracks auto sales. “They certainly got impacted negatively by the lingering recall news for Toyota, and we’ve also seen BMW and Benz being more aggressive when it came to incentive spending and marketing.”

Among other luxury brands, General Motors Co.’s Cadillac boosted deliveries 35 percent for the year, while the Audi brand of Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen AG sold more than 100,000 vehicles in the U.S. for the first time. “The availability of credit and the availability of leasing mechanisms have certainly helped the entire industry,” Kurt McNeil, Detroit-based GM’s vice president of sales for Cadillac, said in an interview.