• Oct 8, 2010
Though the first eight months of 2010, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz were in a dead heat in the race to be crowned the top-selling luxury brand in the States. But big-time September sales at Mercedes-Benz pulled the German marque ahead of Lexus by a substantial 3,000 units, really putting the heat on Toyota's luxury arm. Could Mercedes pull off the upset to unseat Lexus for the first time since 2000? Not if Lexus can help it.

USA Today reports that Lexus announced during dealer meetings this week that it will slap up to $3,000 in incentives on the hood of its vehicles in an effort to entice buyers to shell out for a new L-branded car, crossover or SUV. In some cases, Lexus will reportedly also resort to cut-rate financing rate in an effort to spur sales.

The move is a bit surprising given Lexus's penchant for asking for and receiving full retail for its products, though 2010 hasn't been the best year for the Japanese premium marque. Given the fact that Lexus has earned its success on the heels of a terrific reputation for quality, the recall of millions of Toyota and Lexus models for unintended acceleration issues has likely hurt sales and certainly dinged its reputation. Add in the fact that the high-volume ES350 and top-of-the-line LS are a bit long-in-the-tooth, and it adds up to a possibility that Lexus may lose its hard-earned sales crown.

[Source: USA Today]


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  • 48 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      They might do better offering a free membership to AARP.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lexus, $3,000 won't save you from Mercedes. Mercedes isn't the one that you're really fighting against. It's Buick, Acura, Lincoln and maybe even Hyundai. All three offer cars that directly compete with the your bread and butter, the ES350, and beat it by a mile on performance, price and luxury. None of the German automakers or Infiniti really have a car that caters to the ES350 demographic besides maybe the VW CC, but that car isn't really a full sedan. Even comparing the Acura TL and the ES350 can be a bit of a stretch because it has the options AWD and a manual transmission.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Five years ago i used to see a LOT of RXs. Now I don't. That crowd has moved on to sometrhing else and Lexus hasn't found another hit.

      I do see a decent number of ISs, but i see a more A4s and 3 Series.

      I think Lexus will do fine as Toyota's move up brand. Yes, Toyota has had millions of recalls but they still sell very well.

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      By the way, i saw a $46K sticker on a new Toyota Highlander Hyrbrid the other day. $46 for a Toyota? They've got to be kidding.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ummm I still seeing alot of new RX running around... the older models are still running strong too..
      • 4 Years Ago
      They need to make their cars more fun to drive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is what happens when a brand built on perceptions has those perceptions evaporate.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Every brand is built on perceptions... or did Mercedes' quality problems go unnoticed? Nothing difference.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Every luxury brand is built on the reality of luxury and the delivery of performance and style. Lexus doesn't know how to play the performance and style games, hence their loss of market share to makes who offer the whole package. Besides, a Lexus is just a Toyota and who really aspires to own a Toyota anymore?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lexus has NOTHING to beat an E63 AMG Merc.
        Former S-owner
        • 4 Years Ago
        If their sales "crown" was hard earned, they wouldn't have let a competitor beat them.

        Also, Lexus has to eventually lose to brands that attract younger audiences, Lexus owners are keeling over every day.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Wally

        Let's not go overboard.

        A big chunk of what makes up luxury brands has to do w/ MARKETING.

        For instance, the image that Mercedes has in the US is quite diff. from that in Germany, where it has a more utilitarian image.

        In Germany not only does one see econobox Mercedes A and B Class models, but countless of E Class models serving as taxi cabs, as well as commercial Mercedes trucks.

        Also, most Mercedes models sold in Europe come w/ rather weak powerplants and have either cloth or leatherette seats - hardly what one would consider "luxury" here in the States.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What is wrong with you guys?

      Used Lexus
      • 4 Years Ago
      I bought an LS after years of Audi, Mercedes, etc... I just couldn't bite down on the $90K for the BMW 7/Audi A8. At $15K cheaper the LS was attractive. However, within a month I was kicking myself. Sure while cuising at 70mph its great, but everything else is misery. No fun / No emotion / and everytime is sees a corner its like a cow on ice.

      Having said all of that the car is amazingly well built and I give credit to Lexus for that. While the engine is not tuned to sporty side of life you couldn't ask for a smoother rev and the 8 speed tranny is seemless.

      Given the money that Toyota has they will rebuild the brand and while I'll be long gone from my ownership I think Lexus will return to its former self
      • 4 Years Ago
      The only Lexus I have ever owned and would ever want to own and the only Lexus that looked good was the SC400.
      From there on it was all downhill and the brand is just bland.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Or they could just concentrate on quality and customer service and be content with number 2 for awhile. They are not starving by any means. The race to be number one always ends up in lower quality product or service for the customer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, without being able to say they are number one, what really do they have?

        And I don't mean this to be flippant, I totally agree with you. (For once, I guess it was bound to happen.) But the whole reason they are in this mess is because they sold their souls out to BE number one. They rushed products to market, they hid defects and they used every trick and tactic to conquer the automotive market. They SHOULD HAVE just laid back in the cut and practiced what got them so popular and just make good solid products bu they rushed forward to be the best.

        So if they give in now let go of the number one spot they really have nothing to show for it. And their shareholders might get especially upset about that or their pride will be destroyed, whatever motivates these people - because just having money and running a successful business obviously wasn't enough. The last Camry commercial I saw still had a bit of that swagger, it could have been a SE Toyota idea and not the company line, but maybe you've seen it. The narrator says something like, "For all the other cars that thought this was a year to catch the Camry, think again. And it shows the MT or C/D comparo results where the Camry came in number one." I mean really? Why even brag about something like that.

        If M-B takes back the top spot it will "prove" that having better quality and better engineered product are no longer exclusive to Lexus and no longer the only things people look for in a luxury car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I know people who have these cars. Initially the customer service was amazing. Then it just went away.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well that would be fine and dandy except they have workers they've hired who, you know, enjoy being employed. If you want to keep your employees then you have to find some way of dealing with your fixed costs. So lowering the price of your cars a little bit to keep the assembly lines rolling can help keep the money flowing.
        And anyways, the margins on luxury cars are humongous. We're talking about $3000 off of cars that probably average 50K in price, lol.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lexus a 'Luxury' car...LOL!! Thats like saying the Mercury 'Bobcat' was a 'Mercury' when all it was, was a slightly 'dressed up' Ford Pinto!! Toyotas on one side of the plant, Lexuses on the other. What a joke!! What sad is that they both had the same 'recall' problems. Thus the Lexus is just that, a 'overdress' Toyota!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sorry.....my families safety is worth a hell of lot more than $3,000 Would never consider any Toyota for any price anytime soon.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Full retail? I think it's been a while since Lexus models have regularly commanded full retail price. Also, incentives, cut-rate financing, and subsidized leases are not new to Lexus even before their recent recall issues. It's all been part of the luxury car marketplace for quite a while, although usually publicized in more subtle ways.
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