Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus brand is running a pilot program on no-haggle sales as it tries to build on a boom year for luxury-auto demand.
Lexus is testing the “negotiation-free” retail method at 12 stores, Jeff Bracken, the brand’s top executive in the U.S., said Wednesday at an auto-industry conference in northern Michigan.
The Toyota luxury brand is coming off a strong July in the U.S., outselling BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Lexus’s annual summer sale and the new NX crossover pushed it past the German rivals for the month, narrowing the gap in deliveries for the year. Through May, it ranked first in vehicle registrations.
Luxury brands are leading the way as the U.S. auto industry flirts with sales levels not seen in at least a decade. More affordable entry-level models such as BMW’s $32,950 3 Series, Mercedes’s $31,500 CLA-Class and the $34,480 Lexus NX are broadening the brands’ appeal to younger buyers.
Lexus reported a July increase of 9.1 percent from a year earlier to 29,816. Mercedes posted a 1.2 percent gain to 27,526, and the BMW brand said sales climbed 2.1 percent to 26,970. Through seven months this year, deliveries totaled 195,593 for BMW, 192,496 for Mercedes and 188,664 for Lexus.
Through May, U.S. registrations show 135,594 for Lexus, 131,431 for Mercedes and 130,569 for BMW, according to IHS Automotive, which collects the data from state records.