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Mercedes expects to finish '10 as third-place luxury marque

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Mercedes expects to finish '10 as third-place luxury marque

Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News

Detroit— Mercedes-Benz expects to end the year as the third-place luxury carmaker in the United States, its top executive said today.

"We will be No. 3 because we will not participate in any funny games in December," Ernst Lieb, chief executive of Daimler AG's U.S. operations, said during a visit to Detroit.

He was referring to incentives or other extraordinary measures to boost sales over competitive luxury brands BMW and Lexus.

"There is no need to push in the 12th month," he said.

At the end of November, the Mercedes-Benz brand led the U.S. luxury segment with 203,475 vehicles sold. Lexus was second at 201,769, and BMW AG's namesake brand had sold 196,833 vehicles.

Lexus officials have said they expect to retain the luxury car maker crown again this year. The Japanese automaker has increased some of its incentives in the final months of the year.

Lieb said Mercedes' 1.9 percent U.S. share is the highest ever. Of the automaker's 353 dealers, almost 300 will have invested in new or renovated facilities by the middle of 2011, he said.

In April, all U.S. dealers will be invited to Stuttgart, Germany, to see the new product lineup for the next three years "to show them they put their money on the right horse," Lieb said.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101213/AUTO01/12130385/Mercedes-expects-to-finish--10-as-third-place-luxury-marque#ixzz1824v84pB

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