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.