BMW has opened up a bigger lead for the luxury sales crown after a splendid November that saw sales of the X3 increase 124.5%.

The battle for luxury sales supremacy for the past few years has been waged by BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but now Lexus – a former champ – has jumped into the fray that looked like it would come down to the wire heading into November.

BMW held a 555-vehicle lead, with sales rising 4.6% to 279,395 units through October. Mercedes-Benz’s sales through October were up 6.5% to 278,840 units while Lexus was third with a 12% to 273,881 units.

However, amidst a November sales frenzy that would make sharks look tame by comparison, the unexpected has happened: BMW has opened a significant lead over the others due to a stellar November for BMW and, perhaps even more stunning, an 11.7% drop in sales for Mercedes.

Now BMW’s 500-plus unit lead has blossomed into the thousands: 311,393 vehicles compared with Mercedes 308,885 units and Lexus in third with 303,221 vehicles.

(Reality setting in for VW – and it doesn’t look good. For more, Click Here.)

Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 3.2% in November for a total of 32,003 compared to 31,019 vehicles sold in November 2014. Year-to-date, BMW brand is up 4.4% from the same period last year.

“The all-new 7 Series did very well in its first full month of sales but there’s no question the trend is towards light trucks and the improving availability of our SAVs gave a nice boost to our overall sales in November,” said Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO, BMW of North America.

It was the ninth new monthly sales record set by the automaker this year. Other big sellers included the BMW X3, which increased 124.5%, the BMW X6 increased 59.6% and the BMW 2 Series which increased 77.6%.

Mercedes’ downturn came in large measure because it was fighting history. It enjoyed its best month in 2015 with sales of 33,475 units, but last year it completed its best month ever with 37,925 vehicles sold.

(For more on November car sales, Click Here.)

While MBUSA recorded its highest month of the year; runout of popular model lines and limited availability of top-selling SUVs, including the new GLC, brought about the poor year-over-year result.

Despite the constraints, MBUSA president and CEO Stephen Cannon said, “November brought us enough volume to assure an all-time record year for MBUSA.”

Lexus reported November 2015 sales of 29,340 units, up 6.8% on a volume basis. Lexus luxury utility vehicle sales led the way as they were up more than 37%.

“Lexus had its best November sales in the brand’s history with record performances in sales, parts, service, customer care and vehicle quality,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager, Lexus Division. “Considering the industry momentum and the strong early sales pace of the 2016 RX, Lexus is well positioned to post its best-ever calendar year sales.”

(Automakers bankrolling more than half of new car purchases. Click Here for the story.)

U.S. auto sales this year are expected surpass the annual record of 17.4 million units set in 2000, thanks to rising incentives and favorable financing, low gas prices and other factors.

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