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Mercedes, Buick Sales Rise as Drivers Upgrade

DETROIT (TheStreet) -- Luxury vehicle sales numbers are often like the cars themselves -- pretty from afar, but gaudy and overblown upon further inspection. February's tally was no different.

After delaying car purchases and curbing spending during the economic recession, consumers are peeling out of dealerships inside new Buick, Mercedes and Infiniti models. Except for Toyota's namesake brand, U.S. sales of luxury cars rose last month at most automakers.

A quick look at the numbers reveals the vehicles living the high life and the cars whose Champagne tastes outstrip their Coors Light demand.

General Motors

Buick ran down its upscale competitors as sales jumped 47%, including a 163% boost from its LaCrosse sedan. Cadillac posted a 32% gain despite flagging sales from each of its mainstay sedan models. If not for significant gains by two Escalade SUV models and a more than 540% sales spike by its SRX crossover, Cadillac's sales would seem as dried up as the Corvette's, which dropped by more than a third.

Toyota

Sales of Toyota's (TM) Avalon fell 65% from 2,100 a year ago to just 732 last month. While sales of Toyota Land Cruisers and FJ Cruiser SUVs fell, Lexus-brand SUV sales rose 5.8% as sales of GX models nearly tripled.

Lexus managed a 5.2% increase overall, though a 4.5% jump in car sales was fueled by its LS, the only model to report gains last month.

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