Lexus Jumps 19% for First U.S. Monthly Sales Win Since 2013

Aug 01, 2014 6:01 pm ET

Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Lexus hasn’t chased other luxury brands down-market with a sub-$30,000 car like Mercedes-Benz’s CLA, yet Toyota Motor Corp.’s premium line topped Daimler AG’s in July, for its first monthly sales win since August 2013.

Lexus sales rose 19 percent in July, delivering 27,333 vehicles, as strong financing offers wooed buyers. Sales jumped 20 percent to 4,542 for the IS, the Toyota City, Japan-based company’s entry-level sedan, which starts at $36,550.

Luxury-auto makers are adapting to a changing market by adding lower-cost models to attract new buyers, while retaining loyal wealthier customers with higher-end vehicles. Through July, Lexus sales were up 17 percent to 166,022, trailing the 183,791 deliveries recorded by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s BMW brand in the U.S. Mercedes reported 178,816 deliveries.

“Lexus is strong in one of the summer months, then in December,” Jesse Toprak, an analyst at Cars.com, said in an interview. “This summer they’ve had very attractive lease promotions. They don’t discount their cars much, but customers still line up for them.”

The Japanese automaker’s premium brand is offering 0.9 percent financing on several models and leases as low as $349 a month for the ES 350 sedan, which starts at $36,620.

Lexus was helped by its Golden Opportunity promotion that began in mid-July and runs through Labor Day weekend, Jeff Bracken, the brand’s U.S. chief, said on a conference call yesterday. Toyota’s luxury line also was able to secure additional vehicle supply from Japan in July and for August, he said.

BMW, Mercedes

Last month, Munich-based BMW sold 26,409 vehicles, a 9.8 percent increase, helped by the 3 Series and 4 Series sedans, which rose 26 percent to 12,497, and the 5 Series sedan, which advanced 17 percent to 5,676 deliveries.

Mercedes delivered 27,192, up 15 percent, as sales of its flagship S-Class more than tripled to 1,920, and the E-Class gained 19 percent to 6,648. Mercedes’s CLA, starting at $29,900, sold 2,378.

Sales figures for the two brands don’t include Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler’s cargo vans and Smart cars and BMW’s Mini brand, which aren’t luxury vehicles.

General Motors Co.’s Cadillac reported a 2.6 percent drop to 15,241. Sales of the ATS sedan, winner of last year’s North American Car of the Year award, fell 11 percent to 2,582, Detroit-based GM said. Escalade SUV deliveries more than doubled to 3,894. Through July, Cadillac brand sales have dropped 2 percent to 97,358.

Audi sales rose 12 percent to 14,616, led by its new, sub- $30,000 A3, which sold 2,164, and the Q7 SUV, which rose 8.9 percent to 1,446 deliveries. Through July, Audi sales have risen 13 percent to 98,965.

--With assistance from Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles.