With Toyota and Lexus safety concerns lingering, could a new luxury automaker take the top spot in the U.S.? Find out inside.

The United States market may have a new leader in luxury auto sales by the end of the year.  Though Toyota high end division Lexus has headed up the list for ten years, the position may be overtaken by Mercedes-Benz, according to Automotive News.

Lexus sales for the first six months of the year have totalled 107,430, an increase of 19 percent.  However, Mercedes-Benz sales, not including the commercial Sprinter van, have spiked by 25 percent to 106,972.

Toyota has recalled over eight million vehicles related to sudden acceleration, faulty floor mats, problematic brakes, fuel leaks, stalling engines, rollover risks and issues with steering.  The company is listed as a defendant in hundreds of lawsuits, and has been the subject of at least two subpoenas by federal grand juries.

"It will be a battle," Toyota U.S. sales chief Jim Lentz, told Automotive News. "The Lexus customer is really discerning about quality issues."

The full fallout from the recalls and safety concern could result in a decline in Lexus market share to 1.98 percent, which would put it below not only Mercedes but also BMW.  Through June, BMW has sold 100,632 vehicles.

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