BMW unlikely to grab sales crown in U.S. in 2010, despite Lexus’ recall woes

BMW, which has trailed behind Lexus as the No.2 luxury brand in the U.S. for the past decade, is unlikely to benefit from the Japanese brand’s recall woes. Analysts say that BMW will probably come in at the No.2 spot again in 2010.

BMW sales will be suppressed this year by the wind down of the old 5-Series, says BMW AG global sales chief Ian Robertson. The 5-Series accounts for about 25 percent of BMW’s sales volume in the United States.

“Effectively, we’ve run out our existing 5 Series and won’t launch our new 5 Series until June,” Robertson said. “So a full-year effect won’t be felt. We still see we will have some growth this year, but it’s a few digit points. How that turns out with competitors’ volumes remains to be seen.”

Analysts say that Lexus has been hurt by parent Toyota’s recall issues and the recent recall of the Lexus GX. However, Lexus sales were still up 42 percent to 20,219 vehicles in March, compared with 2009. During the first quarter of 2010, Lexus sales were up 18 percent to 49,523 vehicles.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)