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BMW May Pass Mercedes in U.S. Luxury Sales Due to Demand for X5 SUV

December 11, 2001

BMW is poised to topple Mercedes-Benz as the No. 2 luxury automobile brand in the U.S.,spurred by demand for the X5 sport-utility vehicle, according to a Bloomberg News story by Bill Koenig and Jeff Green.Bayerische Motoren Werke AG's sales rose 15 percent this year through November to 194,713 vehicles, jumping into second place from fifth last year.DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes rose less than 1 percent to 186,562 and the German rival isunlikely to overtake BMW this month, according to industry analysts.Both trail Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus, which is showing continuing strength in the U.S. luxury vehicle market. Lexus' sales rose 9.1 percent to 201,780.Japanese and German luxury brands are building gains over General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac andFord Motor Co.'s Lincoln. Lexus and Mercedes have competed for first place since 1998, when Lincoln was the last U.S. maker to lead luxury sales.BMW benefited as demand for the X5, introduced in 2000 and priced from about $40,000 to $67,000, rose 62 percent through November.
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