(Bloomberg) — Lexus sold the most luxury vehicles in the U.S. in August, riding a wave of demand for its new crossover to a second straight monthly win and narrowing the gap with BMW.
Sales rose 2.1 percent from a year earlier to 33,487, including 4,448 of the new $34,480 NX SUV, Lexus said today. For the year, Toyota‘s luxury brand passed Mercedes-Benz for second place behind BMW.
All three reported record August sales as luxury buyers shook off the stock market slide and continued a strong year for high-end vehicles. More affordable entry-level models such as BMW’s $32,950 3 series, Mercedes’s $31,500 CLA-class and the NX are broadening the brands’ appeal to younger buyers.
“As BMW and Mercedes move down-market, the Lexus strategy has been very different,” said Kevin Tynan, an auto analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’s more about the Japanese building quality and reliability and not trying to out-German the Germans.”
For August, BMW said sales climbed 2 percent to 27,775, led by a 24 percent surge for the 3 series. Daimler AG’s Mercedes reported a 4.8 percent gain to 28,373, with a 39 percent jump for the C-class car and 2,169 deliveries of the new GLA small SUV. The results exclude Sprinter vans and Smart cars and BMW’s Mini brand, which aren’t luxury vehicles.
For the year, BMW’s sales have increased 5.9 percent to 223,348, for a lead of 1,197 over Lexus, which has gained 12 percent to 222,151. Mercedes is up 7.3 percent to 220,870. BMW won the sales crown last year. The German brands have held the annual lead since 2011, when BMW snapped Lexus’s 11-year run.