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Toyota’s Lexus brand has held the title of America’s best-selling luxury brand for the last nine years, but BMW is looking to dethrone the Japanese automaker by year’s end. Through the first eight months of the year, BMW trails Lexus by just 2,293 sales.

BMW actually lead Lexus in sales through June, but gave up the lead in July. However, BMW is expecting a big fourth quarter, which could just be enough to push the German automaker past Lexus for the title of the best-selling luxury brand in America.

“We were slightly ahead of Lexus (in sales) until July,” Jim O’Donnell, CEO of BMW Group’s North American sales operation, told The Detroit News. “But we expect business to pick up and have a strong fourth quarter. We could catch them.”

Through August, Lexus posted 131,469 sales compared to BMW’s tally of 129,176 sales.

The downtrodden economy has forced many shoppers to postpone their next new car purchase, which could be causing a reservoir of pent-up demand. If that theory proves true, BMW expects luxury car sales to increase by 15 percent next year.

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