The BMW brand topped the U.S. luxury market in March, while Lexus fended off Mercedes-Benz for second place.
BMW earned U.S. luxury sales honors on the strength of the 3/4-series sedans, which had a 47 percent sales bump from a year earlier on a brand-leading 14,835 sales. BMW sold 34,310 vehicles in March for a 6.9 percent rise.
Lexus, boosted by the new NX crossover and RC coupe, set a March sales record with 31,054 sales, an 8.6 percent increase from the year-earlier period.
Mercedes-Benz, excluding Sprinter, had its best March ever with 29,921 vehicles sold, good for a 9.2 percent bump from the previous March. Although the brand finished third last month, it is No. 2 in the yearly race with 78,156 vehicles sold through March. BMW leads with 78,492 sales.
Mercedes was led by the CLA’s 81 percent sales jump on 3,129 sales. C-class sales surged 35 percent from a year earlier on 7,635 sales.
The BMW 1/2 series had a 124 percent jump in March with sales of 1,249. Another top performer for BMW was the X5, which had a 7.2 percent gain on sales of 4,388.
“We are seeing a growing confidence and optimism among consumers across the country and for BMW the result is record sales in the first quarter of this year,” Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, said in a statement.
Lexus set a first-quarter record with 77,180 sales.
Its March gains were driven almost entirely by the two new vehicles. The GX was the only Lexus nameplate with a sales increase in March, gaining 8 percent from the year-earlier period on 2,024 sales.
"We’re having a hard time keeping up with the demand for luxury utility vehicles,” said Jeff Bracken, Lexus general manager, in a statement. "Whether it’s the new NX or the segment leading RX, consumers are looking for utility to go with their luxury experience."
In other luxury market developments:
- Audi sales rose 20 percent to 17,102 vehicles, its second-best month in U.S. sales. It was Audi’s 51st straight monthly U.S. sales record.
- Acura sold 14,670 vehicles, down 5.8 percent from March 2014.
- Cadillac sales fell 6.8 percent on 13,756 sales.
- Infiniti had a 0.2 percent gain after selling 12,525 vehicles.
- Lincoln sold 8,695 vehicles, down 3.1 percent from the year-earlier period.