Lexus magic fails to capture Europeans

American car buyers may have accepted Lexus and Infiniti as worthy contenders in the luxury segment, but Europeans are less open Japan's luxury brands, according to the Detroit News. In the first 10 months of 2005, Lexus sold just over 242,000 cars and trucks in the U.S., behind the market leader BMW of Germany's nearly 270,000, but better than DaimlerChrysler owned Mercedes' 175,000, and GM's Cadillac with nearly 198,000. But in Europe, Lexus sales barely register on the luxury car sales radar. For the first 10 months of 2005 in Europe, Mercedes led the way with 584,000 car and truck sales, BMW was second with 532,000, and VW's Audi was next with 521,000, AID data shows. Lexus racked up a barely visible 16,500. "We in Europe are probably more cautious and class conscious in our car buying habits," said researcher Dr. Peter Wells. "We are more snobs than Americans to put it bluntly. We prefer old money to new and the established status of the brands, particularly in the higher priced luxury vehicles business." Wells says that Lexus is seen as an impressive producer of well-made, but boring cars.