Dietmar Exler has held the top U.S. job at Mercedes-Benz only since January, but he was No. 2 for the past two years and has helped put Mercedes on a path to reclaim the top spot in the U.S. luxury sales race.
BMW has been the top luxury automaker in the U.S. for four years in a row. But in 2016, Mercedes is positioned to take back the lead. Mercedes has sold 277,863 vehicles through October, while BMW has sold 254,150. BMW has struggled to catch up -- slipping to third in luxury brand sales behind Lexus -- despite offering generous incentives.
Exler, 48, inherited a full pipeline of new products, including the E-class sedan. The new E class is selling well, without incentives. Dealers say inventories and customer demand have generally been good.
Dealers also say they like working with Exler, who is earning a reputation for being hands-on.