BMW widens U.S. luxury edge over Mercedes as Lexus rolls out RX

DETROIT (Bloomberg) — BMW sold the most luxury autos in the U.S. in October, extending its thin lead over Mercedes-Benz as the race heads into the final two months.

Lexus remains a close third as it starts offering a revamped version of its best-selling model, the RX crossover.

Deliveries for BMW fell 3.8 percent to 29,439, even with gains of 8 percent for the 3-series sedan and 88 percent for the X3 SUV. Mercedes reported a 1.3 percent increase to 28,952, led by an 18 percent advance for its E-class cars. Lexus jumped 13 percent to 26,436.

The annual race promises to get tighter this month with the debut of the RX and of BMW’s revamped crossover, the X1, as well as increased availability of its X3 and X5 SUVs.

Luxury vehicles are riding a wave of relatively cheap gasoline, affordable credit and high used-car values, which is helping keep leasing terms affordable. More than half of luxury cars are leased.

Premium brands have “had the luck of the draw,” Mark Wakefield, managing director and head of the automotive practice for consultant AlixPartners, said in an interview. “We’re going to see low lease offers and that’s going to do a lot to prop the market up.”


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