2010 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo - Click above for high-res image gallery

Life is hard at the top, whether that precipice happens to be at the zenith of the overall sales chart or of a specific market niche, such as Lexus' position as the best-selling luxury automaker in the United States. Toyota's posh brand has held the top spot since the year 2000, with BMW perpetually trailing in second place. Could 2009 finally be the year that BMW breaks through to number one?

So far this year, Automotive News is reporting that BMW's 76,819 total sales in the States puts the German brand slightly ahead of Lexus, which has moved a total of 73,186 units thus far in '09. Both brands are down somewhat from 2008, though BMW's 30.5% decline is not quite as severe as Lexus' 37.2% fall. Neither automaker is interested in boasting of its successes in this market, though BMW will gladly accept the extra market share. Speaking to Automotive News, Jan Ehlen, a spokesman for BMW of North America, said:
This year's emphasis is on maintaining our market share and even growing our share a bit. If this results in remaining in the top spot of the premium market, that would be a nice bonus.

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[Source: Automotive News]