The final sales tallies are in for the 2011 sales year making it official that BMW outsold Mercedes-Benz. It is the first time in 11 years that Lexus did not beat out both these manufacturers. This past Thursday’s year-end sales figures prove that the new champion for the luxury-car category in the United States is BMW. This automaker sold a total of 247,907 vehicles. Mercedes-Benz came in second having sold 245,231 units. Lexus came in way behind at third place with 198,552 units that sold for the year. It is believed that Japan’s tsunami and earthquake, and the after effects created this downfall for Lexus during this past sales year.
The Senior Analyst for Edmunds.com, Michelle Krebs noted, “Neck-and-neck throughout much of 2011 for luxury car leadership, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, apparently fearing the other guy would cheat, were in a stubborn stand-off about releasing their final sales numbers Wednesday, the day the rest of the auto industry reported 2011 sales. Finally, Mercedes blinked and BMW followed suit with — surprise! — BMW winning the contest.”
Ms. Krebs continued to observe, “These kinds of races are great fodder for journalists but in the end, don’t really mean much. Car buyers, especially of the luxury-car ilk, don’t go around bragging that they bought a vehicle from the automaker that was the best-selling luxury brand in America. In fact, in the luxury-car realm, less ubiquity might be more attractive to discerning buyers who want some exclusivity.”
If luxury-car buyers are interested in becoming less ubiquitous, they may want to turn to American made luxury cars. Automotive News historical data shows that American automakers have fell significantly behind the European car manufacturers. Lincoln hasn’t been the top selling luxury car category since 1998, and Cadillac hasn’t won this division since 1997. For the 2011 car sales year, 152,389 cars were sold by Cadillac and 85,633 were sold by Lincoln.