Until 2010 or so, Lexus had a firm grip on the U.S. luxury auto market. Then came massive, headline-grabbing recalls from its parent company, Toyota, and Lexus' reputation became tarnished.
Though the Toyota brand ultimately bounced back, Lexus' largely ho-hum product line has delayed the upscale marque's recovery. And that's left BMW and Mercedes-Benz to battle it out for the #1 spot with America's luxury shoppers.
Generally speaking, BMW has held a slight lead the past couple of years (though some claim that the company fudged its sales figures to stay on top). Now, however, it appears that Mercedes-Benz is set to outpace its German rival -- at least through the end of 2013.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Mercedes had sold 245,145 vehicles in the U.S. as of October 31, which was roughly 5,000 more than BMW. The company's profile -- and sales -- have only been boosted by the recent introduction of the (relatively) inexpensive CLA sedan, priced just below $30,000. Though neither automaker has released official sales stats for November, Mercedes is on track to cross the 300,000 mark -- a first for its U.S. division.
That said, BMW will almost certainly retain bragging rights on the global sales front. As of September 30, the company had sold 1.2 million vehicles worldwide, putting it well ahead of Mercedes' 1.07. (Thanks to Chinese shoppers, Audi ranks #2 globally, with 1.18 million sales recorded at the end of the third quarter.) And with the upcoming U.S. debut of the BMW 2-Series, who knows: BMW could regain the U.S. title next year.
Stay tuned to TheCarConnection.com for a complete rundown of U.S. auto sales figures.