While for many years was the undisputed champ of US luxury sales, in the last three years Lexus was relegated from the top spot by German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Now, for the second time in many months, last month saw Toyota’s premium unit Lexus outselling Mercedes-Benz – which was the best-selling premium automaker in the US in 2013. May was the second time in the last five months that Lexus overtook the second place from Mercedes and is now trailing by overall deliveries BMW by around 12,000 units.
“The volume is not the goal, it’s to do the right things,” said Mark Templin, executive vice president of Lexus. “It’s nice to know that people are responding to the new products we’ve launched. Over the last two years, we’ve had a string of hits.”
“Toyota’s made the argument Lexus isn’t going to go down market,” said Christopher Richter, a Tokyo-based auto analyst. “There’s a case for it, because by having cars like that you run the risk of diluting and lessening your brand.”
While Lexus doesn’t want to add more affordable entry-level models like Mercedes did with the CLA, the fact that almost all of its models – sans the RX SUV – are built in Japan and then shipped to the US has proven especially favorable last year for the Japanese company, as the yen devaluation in the last two years consistently boosted earnings at Lexus.