Lexus Tops Mercedes, BMW in July Luxury Battle

Japanese luxury brand looking to regain top spot in segment.

by on Aug.03, 2015

The 2015 Lexus NX 200h is helping the brand return to the top of the luxury sales charts.

Lexus beat out its archrivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW in sales during July, setting the stage for all out battle royale for leadership in luxury vehicle sales during the next five months.

The German brands have held the lead in luxury car sales since 2011 but Lexus, which has long been focused on the U.S. market, is making a determined challenge this year.

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Lexus reported July sales of 29,816 units, up 9.1% from July 2014 on a volume basis and DSR basis, according to Jeff Bracken Lexus group vice president and general manager.

“We continue to see strong demand for luxury utility vehicles. In fact, this past July marked the GX model’s best July sales since 2005,” Bracken said. “On the heels of strong sales of NX, and with a new LX and RX models arriving to showrooms in the coming months, we are very excited about the future of our lineup of luxury utility vehicles.”

Mercedes' increase in July sales was led by its C-, E- and M-Class vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz USA reported record July sales for the Mercedes-Benz brand at 27,526, increasing 1.2% from the 27,192 vehicles sold during the same month last year. Sprinter delivered 2,163 sales for the month of July, combining with 441 units at smart for a monthly total of 30,130 for MBUSA. On a year-to-date basis, Mercedes-Benz retails totaled 192,496, up 7.7%. So far this year, Lexus has sold more 188,664 as its sales have increased by 13.6 %

“We are seeing strong momentum in the marketplace as we move through the third quarter,” said Stephen Cannon, president and CEO of MBUSA. “This will increase as our SUV product offensive continues with the GLE and GLE Coupe, and the all new GLC later this year.”

July sales for the Mercedes-Benz brand were led by the C-, E- and M-Class model lines. The C-Class took the top spot with 6,384 units, up 12% from the same month last year. The E-Class followed with July sales of 4,893, while the M-Class rounded out the top three at 3,851.

Mercedes-AMG high-performance models posted a 7.3% monthly sales increase to 931 units in July, while year-to-date sales climbed 7.6% to 6,979. Sales of Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC diesel models hit 571 for the month and 8,065 year-to-date.

Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 2.1% in July for a total of 26,970 compared to 26,409 vehicles sold in July 2014.

BMW's X5 sales in July were up more than 123% helping the German maker to a 2.1% jump.

“July kept the momentum going that we’ve seen throughout the year, producing another strong result for BMW and clearly showing the trend toward our luxury Sports Activity Vehicles”, said Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO, BMW of North America. “Now we’re looking forward to the new model introductions of the months ahead including the new 7 Series, the new X1, and the refreshed 3 Series.”

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In July, notable vehicle sales included the BMW 2 Series, which increased 61.1% to 1,028 vehicles, the BMW X3, which increased 49.5% to 2,340 vehicles and the BMW X5, which increased 123.6% to 6,011 vehicles.

For July, Mini USA reports 5,191 automobiles sold, a dropped of 10.7 % from the 5,811 sold in the same month a year ago.

Jaguar Land Rover North America also reported a 7% increase from 5,830 units in July 2014. Land Rover sales reached 5,011 units up 8% from 4,643 units in July 2014; Jaguar sales were 1,242 units, up 5% from 1,187 units in July 2014.

Year-to-date in 2015, Jaguar Land Rover U.S. sales hit 46,401 units, an increase of 15% over 2014.

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“We continued to see strong demand for both Jaguar and Land Rover brands this month, allowing us to hit our best July sales results since 2005 and our best Range Rover Evoque month ever,” said Joe Eberhardt, president and CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America. “We are pleased that through July of this year we have solid growth of 15% and are well set to launch multiple new products in the months ahead,” he said.

Infiniti, Audi and Volvo also did well in August posting double-digit sales increases.

TrueCar Inc., the California-based car buying service, estimate July’s revenue for new vehicles will likely set a U.S. record high for the month of $47 billion, up 2.1% versus the same period last year.

TrueCar estimates the average transaction price (ATP) for a new light vehicle was $31,691 in July, unchanged from a year ago, while average incentive spending per unit shrank by $34 to $2,849. The ratio of incentive spending to ATP was 9%, down 1% from a year ago.

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“Right now the industry is genuinely vibrant, benefiting from robust consumer demand that is enabling automakers to pull back incentive spending,” said TrueCar President John Krafcik. “Consumers are feeling more affluent, and with more disposable income to invest back into the economy, the auto sector is thriving. These factors create an ecosystem that’s poised to deliver record high revenues.”

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