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Lexus U.S. Sales Jump 23% for First Monthly Luxury Lead in Year

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Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus, the top-selling luxury-auto brand in the U.S. for 11 years through 2010, posted a 23 percent increase in August for its first monthly win in a year.

Deliveries rose to 29,792, Toyota said yesterday in a statement. Lexus beat out Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s BMW to claim the monthly crown for the first time since August 2012 and just the second time since the end of 2010.

Sales surged 87 percent for Lexus’s new IS sedan and 32 percent for its RX sport-utility vehicle. For the year, the Toyota brand still trails BMW, the annual leader for the past two years, and Mercedes. Lexus lost the full-year title when natural disasters in Asia curtailed its production in 2011.

“Everyone tries to make a push in August,” Alec Gutierrez, an analyst at Irvine, California-based Kelley Blue Book, said in an interview. “Lexus seems to be especially adept at really making it count.”

Deliveries for the BMW brand rose 46 percent in August from a year earlier to 24,523, helped by demand for its 3 Series and 5 Series sedans, the Munich-based automaker said. Mercedes’s gain was 20 percent to 24,761, according to a statement from Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler.

The August results widened Mercedes’s lead for 2013 to 1,362 vehicles -- 190,359 to 188,997 -- as the two German automakers compete for the annual sales crown. Daimler signaled in July that it expects to come up short again in 2013. Lexus’s total through last month was 171,238.

2013 Gains

As recently as May, Mercedes had a lead of more than 4,000 vehicles. Mercedes sales this year through August gained 13 percent, while BMW’s were up 15 percent. The figures don’t include Daimler’s cargo vans and Smart cars and BMW’s Mini brand, which aren’t luxury vehicles.

BMW’s status as annual leader for 2012 was based on reported sales. By vehicle registrations, Mercedes topped BMW last year, according to researcher R.L. Polk & Co. Through this June, owners had registered 141,724 new BMW vehicles in the U.S., compared with 134,326 from Mercedes, according to Polk.

Sales of BMW’s 3 Series, its top-selling model, surged 67 percent in August to 10,357, helped by the new 320i. BMW’s 5 Series more than doubled to 4,359. Mercedes was led by gains of 44 percent to 6,523 for the E-Class sedan and 70 percent to 3,816 for the M-Class SUV.

‘Pretty Hot’

Lexus benefited from demand for new vehicles at the lower end of the luxury segment, Gutierrez said. The IS sedan starts at $35,950, while BMW’s 3 Series begins at $32,550 and the base price for the Mercedes CLA, due in showrooms this month, is $29,900, according to the companies’ websites.

“The entry-level luxury category is pretty hot,” Gutierrez said. With the new sedans coming to dealerships this year, “things could get pretty interesting pretty soon.”

General Motors Co.’s Cadillac reported a 38 percent sales increase to 20,255, on demand for the new ATS sedan and the SRX SUV. The Detroit-based company said it was the brand’s best August for retail sales since 1989. Cadillac sales for the year have climbed 32 percent to 119,586, GM said in a statement.

Honda Motor Co.’s Acura sales rose 9 percent to 17,051 last month, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement. The gains were led by SUVs: the new MDX, which climbed 17 percent to 6,499, and the smaller RDX, which surged 50 percent to 4,381.

Audi, Porsche

U.S. sales of Volkswagen AG’s Audi brand rose 21 percent to 14,005, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said in a statement. Audi, which has now posted record sales for 32 consecutive months, reported increases including 92 percent to 3,845 for the Q5 SUV and 34 percent to 2,110 for the A6 sedan. Sales for the year are up 15 percent to 101,346.

Porsche, the Stuttgart-based automaker that’s now part of Volkswagen, said its sales climbed 9.9 percent to 3,327, an August record. Deliveries for the year have risen 28 percent to 28,456.

Nissan Motor Co.’s Infiniti division rose 6.5 percent to 11,884, according to statement from the Yokohama, Japan-based automaker.

Ford Motor Co. sold 8,192 Lincolns in August, an increase of 0.6 percent from a year earlier, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said in a statement.

Land Rover sales rose 32 percent to 4,938, while Jaguar’s surged 67 percent to 1,723, according to a statement. The U.K.- based brands are owned by Mumbai-based Tata Motors Ltd. Their combined sales were the most in an August since 2005, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Clothier in Southfield, Michigan at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at

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