TOKYO -- Lexus may not have reclaimed the U.S. luxury sales title in 2015, but by any other measure, it was a champion year for the Japanese premium brand.
Lexus racked across-the-board records in virtually every market -- resulting in an all-time high global volume of 652,000 vehicles, up 12 percent from its previous high in 2014.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s luxury division also scored record sales in the United States, North America, China, Europe, Japan, the Middle East and in Oceania-East Asia.
And Lexus expects another global record in 2016, with sales forecast to climb 4.3 percent to 680,000, Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday while announcing sales tallies.
“2015 was an amazing year for Lexus International,” brand Executive Vice President Mark Templin said in a release. He credited more exciting styling and the introduction of pre-crash auto-braking safety systems as factors that are helping pull people to the brand.
Sales also got a nudge from the debuts of a redesigned ES sedan and RX crossover.
The momentum puts Lexus in the running for the U.S. sales crown.
Lexus reigned as the top-selling luxury brand for 11 years before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan broadsided production and sales. Last year, it pipped Mercedes-Benz with a strong December to take No. 2. BMW clinched the title, its fourth in five years.
BMW finished 2015 with luxury sales of 346,023 vehicles, followed by Lexus with 344,601 and Mercedes with 343,088. All three brands set U.S. sales records last year.
Despite its impressive 11 percent growth in the U.S., Lexus grew even faster elsewhere.
Europe, the brand’s third-biggest market, recorded a 20 percent sales surge to 64,000 vehicles. And China, Lexus’ second biggest, saw sales jump 14 percent to 88,500.
Even in Japan, where overall passenger car demand fell last year, Lexus logged a 9 percent sales increase to 48,000 vehicles.