BMW Still Behind Lexus in the U.S. Top Luxury Brands
BMW will be affected this year by the production cycle change of the 5 Series. “Effectively, we've run out our existing 5 Series and won't launch our new 5 Series until June. So a full-year effect won't be felt,” BMW global sales chief Ian Robertson was quoted as saying by the Automotive News.
The 5 Series represents about 25 percent of BMW’s total sales in the United Stated. “We still see we will have some growth this year, but it's a few digit points. How that turns out with competitors' volumes remains to be seen,” Robertson also said.
According to the Automotive News, market researchers say Lexus has been affected by Toyota’s recall problems. These include the recall of the Lexus GX 460 SUV, after being considered a safety risk by Consumer Reports, and earlier actions to fix the ES 350 and IS 250 and 350. But in spite of all that, Lexus' sales were up 42 percent to 20,219 vehicles in March, as compared to a year earlier. During the first quarter, Lexus sales improved 18 percent to 49,523 vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz was no. 2 in March, up 28 percent to 20,031 while it was up 26 percent to 50,590 during that particular quarter. The BMW division ranked third, with sales up 3 percent to 18,060 units. For the first quarter, BMW division sales rose 8 percent to 46,323. Robertson didn't offer a target for the full year. Last year, the BMW group sold 242,087 vehicles in the United States, a 20 percent decline from 2008.