The premium Japanese manufacturer, the luxury arm of the world’s largest automaker – Toyota – is getting ready to close the gap with its German rivals in the US this year, mulling increased sales after the introduction of the NX crossover.
The luxury brand has managed to trail both BMW and Mercedes-Benz when it comes to US sales last year by a small margin, even as Lexus has skimped on adding more affordable models – Mercedes added the CLA sedan, Audi introduced the A3 sedan and BMW opted to unveil the 2 Series lineup. And now, as the Japanese luxury brand is getting ready to introduce a small crossover – designed to compete with similar offerings from German rivals, such as the Mercedes GLA – analysts say the maker should be taken seriously this year, especially since it seeks to recapture the US luxury sales lead, lost after a decade of dominance at the beginning of the decade.
The new NX comes for Lexus at a time that US consumers are buying more pickups, minivans and sport utility vehicles than cars each month last year. BMW managed to fend off Mercedes last year and recaptured the top spot in US premium sales. The Munich-based company soared 9.8% to a total of 339,738 units, while Mercedes finished with a tally of 330,391 autos, up 5.7%. Meanwhile, Lexus jumped the gun on both and the overall US auto industry by growing 14% to 311,389 vehicles last year. Lexus lost the US luxury sales title to BMW back in 2011.