BMW leads US luxury car sales for fifth straight month in August

Bayrische Motoren Werke AG's BMW brand in August increased its sales lead over Daimler AG (DAI)'s Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Motor Corp's Lexus, selling the most luxury models in the US for the fifth month in a row.

BMW's US sales were up 6.5 per cent last month as against a year earlier to 20,815, on the strength of the new 5-Series sedan sales and X3 sport-utility vehicle, according to the Munich-based automaker. With the showing, BMW moves a step closer to being 2011's top-selling US luxury brand and ending Lexus's 11-year reign at the top.

Mercedes sales declined 1.9 per cent to 18,477 in August while Lexus was down 7 per cent at 18,103 as the Japanese auto giant continued to suffer from inventory disruptions in the wake of the March earthquake and tsunami.

"This has been a very strange August for our industry with both difficult news and unfortunate events -- consumer confidence down and an earthquake, hurricane and floods in the Northeast" Jim O'Donnell, head of BMW of North America, said in a statement.

BMW saw its sales increase for the year with a 12 per cent rise through August to 155,929. Deliveries of Stuttgart, Germany-based Mercedes vehicles were down 6.1 per cent at 148,409 in the US while Lexus's sales fell 17 per cent to 120,652.

The results do not count Daimler's Sprinter vans and Smart cars and BMW's Mini brand, which do not classify as luxury vehicles.

Meanwhile, Mercedes Benz India grossed a 7 per cent increase in sales selling 614 units in August 2011 as against 573 units it sold in August 2010. The German luxury carmaker, clocked a growth of 40 per cent in the year to date selling 4,890 units in Jan-Aug 2011, as against 3,495 units in the same period last year.