If you're shopping luxury cars, now might be a good time to buy. Automotive News reports Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW raised incentives past the industry average as the brands remain neck-and-neck for this year's luxury sales crown. Through May, Mercedes sold 106,371, excluding the Sprinter van; BMW sold 104,779, and Toyota's luxury division — the best-selling luxury brand from 1999 to 2010 — placed third, with just 88,110 sales. But it led the incentive gains, with discounts up 54%, Autodata told Automotive News. All three have outpaced the market's 13% sales gains this year, but the luxury market is sluggish overall, with sales up just 5.5% through May.
In other news:
- Ford says it has cut the energy needed to make cars by 20% since 2006, and it wants to reduce energy consumption at its factories another 25% by 2016, The Detroit News reports.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expanded its probe last February of fires from power window switches in the 2007 Toyota Camry and RAV4, The Detroit Free Press reports. NHTSA added certain 2008 and 2009 Camrys, plus the 2007-09 Yaris and 2008 Highlander Hybrid to the investigation.
- NHTSA also expanded two other probes: one of GM's mid-2000s midsize SUVs — the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and its ilk — from door fires, The Detroit News reports, and another to Chrysler's 1990s and 2000s Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cherokee and Liberty SUVs for possible fuel-tank ruptures.
- Toyota introduced the Camatte concept, a low-speed, not-street-legal EV for kids. Automotive News says Toyota "envisions the Camatte as a recruiting and training tool for the next-generation of Japanese drivers," though the automaker has no plans to build it.