Finally, we have some competition.

It seemed like a millennium ago – and it really is, if you think about it - when Lexus was challenged as the number one luxury brand in America but now it seems to have found a rival in BMW.

The German-based luxury car manufacturer has finally unseated the throne Lexus has occupied since 2000 as the US luxury-brand-of-choice. It’s been a long time since the Beamer last held the top spot – 1997, to be exact - but thanks to a noticeable decline of 37.2% in Lexus sales this year, Toyota’s luxury brand would have to settle as the runner-up to BMW.

Lexus’ decline in sales is actually not an indication of a strengthening market-hold for BMW, which actually suffered its own drop of 30.5% in sales. Nevertheless, Americans still bought over 76, 819 BMW’s compared to 73,186 Lexus vehicles.

While these figures have only been based on the first five months of the year, it’s shaping up to become an extremely close battle for luxury-brand royalty between Lexus and BMW. Lexus has thrown the next salvo in this budding rivalry by releasing the RX SUV and the HS 250h compact hybrid, which is expected to be rolled out in the coming months. Whether or not the two new vehicles can propel Lexus back on its perch remains to be seen, but all things considered, we’re pretty geeked to see how this battle concludes by the end of the year.

And while we have both BMW and Lexus slugging out for the top spot, the bottom of the ladder has another interesting and rather inglorious battle to going on between Bentley and Maybach to decide who takes the ignominious title of the lease successful luxury car brand in the US.

We were tempted to say ‘worst’, but then again, it doesn’t seem right to label the Bentley and the Maybach with the shameful title. More than anything else, the high price tag commanded by the two luxury cars has been the main culprit behind their car’s rather lackluster showing in the US.

Now if they lowered their SRP’s, which is next to impossible, then it’s almost a safe bet that their sales would pick up like wildfire. Then again, that’s another topic for another time.

As of now, it’s BMW versus Lexus, and this battle is far from over and we wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t get decided until the wee hours of 2009.

Source: Luxist

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