Mercedes Remains On Top In Luxury Car Sales

Mercedes-Benz continues to lead the way in luxury vehicle sales in the United States, despite experiencing a rough September.

While the U.S. passenger car industry reported its first positive sales month all year, sales of Mercedes vehicles, excluding the Sprinter and Metris, dropped by 1.7 per cent to 29,008. By comparison, all of its major rivals experienced increased sales.

BMW, for example, has reported a 0.7 per cent gain and remains the second highest selling luxury automaker in the country. However, Lexus is closing in and achieved a 1.5 per cent gain, meaning it is now only 516 vehicles behind BMW in year-to-date sales.

Competition between the two brands is heating up with executives at both BMW and Lexus saying that they both expect to see sales continue to rise in the final quarter.

In a statement, BMW of North America chief executive Bernhard Kuhnt said, “We are also anticipating growth in our sports activity vehicles as expansion at our X model plant in South Carolina means we’ll have more X5s this month followed by the eagerly awaited introduction of the all-new X3 in November.”

Similarly, Lexus general manager Jeff Bracken said the Japanese marque expects its SUV sales to push it to new heights as the end of the year approaches.

“Lexus sales traditionally shift into high gear as we head toward the end of the year, and we are buoyed by three consecutive months of sales momentum as well as our best-ever September.

“Going forward we have a strong supply of luxury utility vehicles to satisfy customers’ needs through the remainder of 2017,” he told Automotive News.


  • TheBelltower

    If we were totally being honest, we would look at average transaction prices as well as sales volume. If a luxury brand is selling a ton of entry-level cars, it’s hardly a good thing. So if Mercedes is moving a lot of $32k CLA’s out the door, we can’t really say that it’s a luxury story. Likewise, Lexus can’t really even be considered a luxury brand these days, considering that none of their volume sellers are real luxury vehicles. “Premium” maybe, but not “luxury.”

    • dumblikeyou2

      Agreed, but that’s all “luxury” is today, a word in quotes. Luxury equaled exclusivity years ago, but nothing is exclusive when multi-millionaires are buying the same car that credit-whores are leasing.

    • Status

      If you can sell a subcompact car for midsize money because the former has leather, that is a luxury that you wouldn’t otherwise get in the midsize car. MB doesn’t care about ‘entry levels’ or any other artificial arranged hierarchies the public invents in their heads. If people buy the CLA over a modestly equipped Honda Accord, MB is laughing.

      That’s principally what every luxury is; offering something more desirable for more money.

      • Merc1



      • KSegg

        Agreed with your points but jesus the CLA is awful.

        • Status

          I needed a quick example, but you’re right, the CLA isn’t anything spectacular.

      • TheBelltower

        Kinda. When you are talking lower price points, it’s really considered to be the “premium” category. Not luxury.

        • Status

          If you think of it in terms of “I have $35K to spend on a car. What are my options?”, then the average joe consumer will look at the CLA, see the Mercedes badge, and sign whatever paperwork gets them the keys.

          Like I said, a luxury is something that’s offering something more desirable for more money. That applies to anything, not just cars, and that’s why I don’t consider the price points initially. I want to see the raw qualities of the product and judge them. If it’s what you want and it excites you, then you’ve already made up you mind. If it’s a desirable product, price is no barrier.

          Now whether or not a CLA is desirable luxury product, that remains to be seen. Nevertheless, people have bought them over larger cars like the Accord, and they’ve bought them not for pragmatic reasons, but because the finished product was desirable in their eyes. Price was no barrier, and they got exactly what they wanted.

          I should also point out that I see the term ‘premium’ not as a categorical description of products in a marketplace, but as analogous with term ‘luxury’ in that both offer something more than what is needed (be it in physical desire, performance specifications, quality of engineering, etc.). Neither term outranks the other.

          • TheBelltower

            The auto industry absolutely does make the distinction between “premium” and “luxury” vehicles. I have attended and spoken at luxury conferences, and there is a well understood distinction between “premium” and “luxury” just like there’s a distinction between “affluent” and “rich.” Though some advertising will attempt call everything with leather seating a luxury car, it isn’t. A $40k Mini Cooper doesn’t attempt to call itself a luxury car, but it is in the premium category because it’s a pricy niche vehicle.

    • Merc1

      All Wrong. Especially regarding Mercedes because they sell far more cars at the upper levels and in fact they sell more than anyone else when you get to 60K, 70K, 80K, 90K. The CLA doesn’t even sell that well for them and the ATP for the CLA is over 35K so yes Mercedes is luxury. Lexus is a different story, but Mercedes, BMW and even Cadillac push real luxury prices and sell at those prices.

      Mercedes defines luxury when you look how many C, E, S, G, GLS, GLE, and all the AMG cars they sell. Add in Maybach and the AMG GT also.


      • TheBelltower

        I think we may be agreeing, but saying it differently. Mercedes sells boatloads of S-Classes and other vehicles that range well above $80k. I’m assuming that we can consider MB to be a legitimate luxury brand because their average transaction price is very high and appeals to a truly wealthy audience… as opposed to simply the “affluent” customer segment that buys near-lux vehicles in the $35-50k range. I question putting brands like Lexus, Infiniti, Lincoln into the same category as Mercedes, BMW, Range Rover and other automakers who move a lot more vehicles that command much higher prices. But I’m just making assumptions based on what I see. That’s why I would like to know the average transaction price of these brands when “top luxury car sales” are announced.

    • getoffme

      BS theory. MB sells a good number of E class and S class. Also after seeing the new LS, Lexus is indeed a luxury brand.