Will Incentives Goose Lexus Sales?

This is not the usual place Lexusfinds itself late in the year. Toyota'supscale brand is usually leading the luxury market in sales. Not this year.

This year Lexus find itself in a dogfight with a resurgent Mercedes-Benz for the sales lead.

Through the first 9 months of the year, here's where the top three luxury brands stand:

  • Mercedes: 165,362
  • Lexus: 162,438
  • BMW: 157,464
Lexus GX 460
Source: Lexus
Lexus GX 460

With the brand locked in a battle for top luxury brand, Toyota is giving Lexus dealers more ammunition.

At the dealers meeting in Las Vegas, the company outlined a plan to goose Lexus incentives with $3,000 rebates.

It's a sizable step, and one that should help put Lexus over the top. Congratulations should be in order for Lexus leaders.

Instead, the Japanese automaker ought to be concerned.

While its sales are up 8.7% this year, Lexus has a line-up that lacks the buzz and momentum it once commanded. Yes, the RX 350 has been a hit SUV. That's important, but what about the Lexus car line-up?

Here are the sales this year:

  • ES: up 1.6%
  • IS: down 11.5%
  • LS: up 14.1%
  • Car Total: up 5.3%

The point is the Lexus car line is struggling relative to the rest of the auto market. In my opinion the Lexus sedan line needs to be refreshed. Especially as the company continues to recover from the recall mess earlier this year . Those recalls gave many buyers a reason to look around, and what they're seeing at Mercedeshas clearly caught their eye. Mercedes sales are up 21.3% with the C and E class sedans posting big gains this year.

All of this factors into Lexus goosing incentives to spur a late year sales surge. Will it work? Probably. Three grand is decent rebate that could convince buyers mulling over whether to buy a Lexus or Mercedes.

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