Honda beat Toyota and Nissan to the North American luxury market by three years. Acura’s 1986 entry gave Honda a headstart; but since that time Acura has always been fighting for the prestige that Lexus grabbed hold of in 1989. Infiniti, meanwhile, was a hit…. then not so much, and even with good product is still struggling to be Lexus-like while offering more direct competition to BMW than Lexus’s more Mercedes-like equivalents.
Indeed, Lexus’ dominance is all-consuming. Not only do Acura and Infiniti struggle against the might of Toyota’s luxury producer – so do German manufacturers Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Ah, but only in North America. Abroad, where Lexus is a newer brand and still perceived as Toyota Plus, BMW and Benz lay a whippin’. Inside Audi headquarters, their plans for world dominance sometime next decade have been activated.
Back in America, Lexus offers more distinct models than Acura or Infiniti can muster. SUVs are a huge part of the Lexus portfolio. Of course, hybrids play a major advertising role and a not insignificant sales role, too. Until recently, Acura has stayed course with Lexus; styling vehicles with little excitement and concentrating on a superior reliability and dealer experience. Infiniti has very clearly gone sporty. Lexus is tryin’ to do it all. The new F sub-brand makes for a nice halo presence inside Lexus stores. Profits from small hotrod sedans aren’t bad either.
But what cars are selling, the question is. That’s what you’re here to find out. Sales Stats below describe the situation in August. Unlike the German luxury trio, these Japanese automakers don’t line up their cars to compete directly with the opposition. Audi’s A4 plays the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3-Series; A6 against the E-Class and 5-Series; A8 versus S-Class and 7-Series. Thus, The Good Car Guy has grouped the Japanese cars together in approximate segments. Of course this means Lexus has a couple standout automobiles not challenged by Acura or Infiniti.