BMW On Pace to Lead U.S. Luxury Sales for First Time
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is on pace to pass Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus as the best-selling luxury automobile brand in the U.S. this year,helped by new models such as the redesigned 7 Series sedans, according to a Bloomberg News story by Jeff Green.For the first four months, the German automaker pulled ahead of Lexus, with 78,386 cars and light trucks to 75,164. Toyota's Lexus brand has led U.S. luxury sales the past two years. BMW has never been the annual leader.BMW in recent years has "introduced lots of new models, staggered over time, and kept theirlineup new," said Alan Baum, an analyst at Farmington Hills, Mich.-based automotive forecasting firm Planning Edge. "They've been impressive."Gains of 55 percent for the 7 Series cars that debuted in the U.S. this year and 14 percent for the X-5 sport utility vehicle introduced last year have helped BMW, according to analysts. That builds on an expansion that doubled BMW sales in the five years through 2001 to 213,127 vehicles. Its growth has been twice the luxury-brand average for the past three years, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank.The U.S. increases are contributing to the Munich-based automaker's expectations that it will sell more than 1 million vehicles thisyear and exceed 2001's record profit and sales.