BY Bernie Woodall
(Reuters) - BMW (BMWG.DE) on Monday regained bragging rights as the top-selling luxury brand in the United States, ending the one-year reign of German rival Mercedes.
BMW ended with a lead last year of more than 9,000 vehicles over Mercedes-Benz, which in 2013 seized a title BMW had held for the previous two years.
The BMW brand sold 339,738 vehicles in the U.S. market last year, a 9.8 percent jump from 2013. BMW's sales growth outpaced the overall U.S. auto market's 5.9 percent increase. Daimler AG's (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes-Benz brand showed an increase of 5.7 percent to 330,391 vehicles.
Last year, Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW by about 3,000 vehicles. BMW won the sales crown in 2011 and 2012.
Toyota Motor Corp's (7203.T) Lexus brand narrowed the gap on the two German brands, but remained in third last year with 311,389 vehicles, up 13.7 percent.
From 2000 to 2010, Lexus was the luxury sales leader, but the two German brands jumped the Japanese brand in 2011 when a damaging earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.
Volkswagen AG's (VOWG_p.DE) Audi brand overtook General Motors Co's (GM.N) Cadillac for fourth place. Audi's sales of 182,011 were up 15.2 percent while Cadillac sales fell 6.5 percent to 170,750 vehicles.
Honda Motor Co's (7267.T) Acura brand showed a 1.5 percent gain in the year to 167,843 vehicles, followed by Nissan Motor Co's (7201.T) Infiniti at 117,300 vehicles, up 0.8 percent.
In eighth place but gaining was Lincoln, the Ford Motor Co (F.N) luxury brand that a couple of decades ago was the luxury market leader. Lincoln's sales rose 15.6 percent in the year to 94,474 vehicles.