Mercedes-Benz agrees to 3rd place. luxury sales race

DETROIT (Bloomberg) – The mark of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz has conceded that it would sell fewer vehicles in the U.S. luxury this year that Toyota Motor Corp. ‘s Lexus and BMW AG, BMW.

“I’m pretty sure it will be number three,” said Ernst Lieb, president of the U.S. Mercedes unit, told reporters at an event in Detroit on Monday.

Mercedes and BMW this year have reduced the gap in luxury cars and sport utility vehicle sales to Lexus, which has held first place in the U.S. since 2000.

Lexus maintains its lead over BMW vehicles sold by 4936 to November, according to data released by the companies, while BMW sold 545 Mercedes cars.

The totals do not include non-luxury models such as BMW and Mini Car Smart Car Daimler and Sprinter vans. Lexus will continue its leadership in the year, Lieb, said in an interview with reporters. “Nobody is going to make” the difference, he said.

He expects BMW to finish in second place, he said. “They are pushing very hard,” he said.

Lead Abatement

“If we go back four years ago, Lexus was 75,000 units ahead of us and BMW was more than 40,000 units ahead of us,” said Lieb. “At the end of the year with Lexus to be, like, 6,000 units ahead of us, and BMW, 1500, I think that’s a fair achievement.”

The first sales figures for December show no drive Mercedes and BMW rising beyond Lexus for the year, said Jesse Toprak, industry analyst with, a website that tracks vehicle sales.

“It will be very difficult for the Benz or BMW to catch up unless they do something unusual for the rest of the month,” Toprak said in a telephone interview Friday.

Luxury sales are stronger than last year with the U.S. economyimprovement and better access to financial leasing arrangements, he said. “We’re seeing more than the usual increases in sales of luxury,” added Toprak.