Lexus falls to third in luxury sales ranks

Lexus has been at the top of the luxury sales chart in the U.S. for the past decade, but it looks like its reign has come to an end: BMW and Mercedes-Benz have officially passed the automaker on the sales charts.

The Japanese brand's fall from grace isn't a complete shock – analysts have been expecting this ever since BMW and Mercedes began to outsell the brand toward the end of last year. Yet it does serve to show just how much the luxury market has changed over the past few years, as high-end buyers begin to favor performance over reliability.

It doesn't help that Lexus has been hurt by the recent Japanese earthquake. The luxury brand's parent company, Toyota, makes many of its models overseas in the U.S. Yet all but one of Lexus' vehicles are made in Japan, creating a supply chain nightmare for the brand.

Still, BMW and Mercedes outsold Lexus long before the earthquake started. The fact that Lexus has fallen not one but two spots is all the more embarrassing. BMW is at the top, but it's by no means a dominant lead – it only holds a few hundred cars over Mercedes, which is several thousand ahead of Lexus.

Drivers in the market for any of these cars should check out New Jersey State Auto Auction. Luxury vehicles can cost a pretty penny new, but they frequently drop off in price when drivers decide to buy used.