Toyota Exec Says Lexus Brand Won't Regain U.S. Luxury Crown

'The Germans have an extensive global product line. I don't think you are going to see us match them any time soon.'

Toyota's Lexus brand does not expect to win back the luxury car sales crown in the United States any time soon, the brand's top salesman said Wednesday.

Lexus was overtaken last year by German rivals BMW (IW 1000/37) and Mercedes-Benz after 11 straight years as the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S. market.

The automaker's sales were hit by supply shortages in the wake of the devastating Japanese quake and tsunami, but an aggressive push by the Germans also impacted their market share.

"It's not in our plans to become the luxury sales leader," said Timothy Morrison, vice president of Lexus sales and dealer development.

"The Germans have an extensive global product line. I don't think you are going to see us match them any time soon."

The Japanese automaker nonetheless expects to grow U.S. Lexus sales by 20% this year to around 250,000 vehicles even as the share of luxury vehicles in the market shrinks, Morrison said.

"They were 12.5% of the market last year. This year they're about 11.6%, but they have grown because the entire market has grown," he told reporters in Detroit.

Toyota (IW 1000/5) forecasts U.S. vehicle sales will grow to 14.4 million units this year from 12.8 million units in 2011.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

See Also:

Mercedes Overtakes BMW for U.S. Luxury-Car Crown

Toyota Overtakes GM to Regain #1 Spot

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