2011 Lexus CT200h

With 114,572 sales tucked inside the chart you’ll peruse below, luxury auto brands competing in the United States owned 10.8% of the overall new car market in July. 47.2% of those luxury brand sales were the result of transactions at German-brand dealerships stocked by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Porsche. 

BMW’s market share in the luxury segment slid slightly from 19% in June to 18.7% in July 2011 even as year-over-year sales improved at a 12.3% rate. The drop at Mercedes-Benz was worse as the tri-star brand’s share of the market fell from 19.8% to 18.1%; this as year-over-year sales jumped 14.9%. Audi’s market share dropped from 8.8% to 8% despite a 17% year-over-year boost. Year-over-year, Porsche volume was up 2.4%; market share improved from 2.2% to 2.4% from June to July. 

If German brand sales are up and Japanese brand sales are down (Lexus, Acura, Infiniti were down 21.8%, 27.8%, 24.1% respectively), why is the share of the luxury market attributed to those three Japanese brands better in July than it was in June? Quake-related inventory problems were crushing hopes of sales earlier this summer, yet the combined share of the luxury market for Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti rose from 22.5% in June to 27.5% in July. To put it simply, July 2011 was really bad compared with July 2010, but recovery was in sight, something which couldn’t really be said in June. 

Consider this: the overall new car market was 6325 sales stronger in July than it was in June. Between the three of them, Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti grew their sales by 5589 in the same period, almost accounting for the market’s total growth. While that’s an ultra-simplification, it reveals how year-over-year figures, though useful, don’t tell the whole story. You’d be safe in assuming that Japanese luxury, particularly Toyota luxury, is on its way back up after getting knocked down by a flurry of punches.