Mercedes sees record U.S. sales, won't win luxury race

DETROIT Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:16pm EST

DETROIT Dec 13 (Reuters) - Mercedes-Benz will not be the top-selling luxury nameplate this year, although the brand still expects to report record U.S. sales surpassing 270,000, Steve Cannon, head of the brand's U.S. operations, said on Thursday.

Mercedes and its German rival BMW have been in a tight race all year for the top spot. Mercedes has sold about 246,000 vehicles through November of this year, slightly ahead of BMW, which has sold about 244,000 vehicles.

"I don't think we're going to win the sales race this year," Steve Cannon, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, told reporters during a luncheon in Detroit.

Cannon, who was promoted to his position a year ago, added that there was "no pressure" from top executives in Germany to reach the top spot in the competitive U.S. luxury market.

BMW was the best-selling luxury brand in the United States last year, ending the 11-year reign of Toyota Motor Corp's Lexus brand, which had been hurt by vehicle shortages after the earthquake in Japan last March. (Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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