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USA Today said:
Looks like normally incentive-shy Lexus will heat up rebates soon to try to avert an embarrassing loss of its luxury sales crown this year to Mercedes-Benz -- from which it stole it more than a decade ago.

As Drive On reported earlier, Mercedes moved ahead by about 3,000 cars year-to-date when September results were tallied -- and BMW was only about 5,000 behind. Both rivals outsold Lexus in the month.

Now the Wall Street Journal, quoting dealer sources, report that Lexus revealed a plan at a dealer meeting this week for rebates up to $3,000 as well as subsidized financing on certain models.

Damping Lexus sales this year is lagging growth by the aging lineup on the car side and a hangover the brand still is suffering from sudden acceleration recalls earlier this year.

The $3,000 rebates may be enough to boost sales and stave off pretenders to the throne. That was the magic rebate number that helped American automakers maintain sales following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack shock.

But if the race is remains this tight after October results are in, look for the annual Lexus holiday promotion -- with the original red-bow-on-the-roof ads that have done so well for the brand -- to start early and be even harder to miss as it makes its stretch run for every last sale.
Lexus hatches $3,000 rebate plan to outsell Mercedes-Benz - Drive On: A conversation about the cars and trucks we drive -
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