2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

For the first time in years sales numbers for the major luxury marques in the U.S. are neck and neck, with Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW all in contention to be 2010’s sales leader in the luxury segment.

How close? Well, around this time four years ago Lexus was ahead of Mercedes-Benz in sales by roughly 70,000 units and BMW was ahead by almost 40,000 vehicles. Today, the gap between all three automakers is less than 5,000 vehicles.

Cadillac is somewhat behind its rivals but its numbers are up across the board too. Sales are up a staggering 38 percent through November, outpacing growth rates at Lexus (8 percent), Mercedes-Benz (19 percent), BMW (12 percent) and Infiniti (26 percent).

In past years this closeness would have prompted sales managers to increase the level of incentives, with each brand either trying to catch up or outdo each other in the sales race.

This year, however, both Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac have stressed that neither will be treading that path. Instead, they will focus on improving profits and enhancing the quality of sales. It should be noted, however, that Cadillac’s incentives remain the highest among luxury brands, averaging $4,829 through November. BMW is not far behind with an average incentive on its cars of $3,658.

Getting back to the sales race, Lexus remains the leader and is poised to take the top spot again for the 11th straight year in a row. Its incentives increased dramatically over the past month, currently residing at a still reasonable $2,105 per vehicle.

[Automotive News, sub req’d]