If BMW and Lexus sales continue at their current paces, the Bavarian automaker could topple its Japanese rival and become the best-selling luxury brand in the U.S.
According to Automotive News, BMW and Lexus sales are neck and neck, with BMW selling about 3600 more vehicles than Lexus through the month of May. So far this year, Lexus's sales have collapsed by 37.2 percent compared to the same time period last year, while BMW's sales have declined 30.5 percent. BMW's market share now matches Lexus's at 1.9 percent.
"This year's emphasis is on maintaining our market share and even growing our share," said Jan Ehlen, spokesman for BMW North America. "If this results in remaining in the top spot of the premium market, that would be a nice bonus."
According to Automotive News, BMW has been in the second place spot for eight years straight. Before Lexus achieved its stranglehold on top, it was traditionally held by American automakers; Cadillac dominated from 1946 through 1997, and Lincoln nabbed it in 1998. But so far this year, European luxury makers--including Audi, Porsche, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and BMW--have pushed their collective market share up by almost a full percentage compared to last year.
The U.S. has become BMW's biggest market, with 23 percent of its 1.27 millions sales last year coming from the U.S. Germany is its second-biggest market, where it sold 19.6 percent of its vehicles.
John McCandless, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., dismissed the title of sales leader as superfluous--though he did mention that sales could be boosted by the introductions of the 2010 Lexus IS C and 2010 Lexus HS250h.
"Volumes can vary," he said. "Meeting the needs of our customers is what's important."
Source: Automotive News