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Car deals to heat up as manufacturers fight for bragging rights

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Look for the deals on certain cars to heat up as automakers fight for bestseller bragging rights.

The car companies will ramp up the discounts and incentives during the second half of the year for some vehicles or entire brands if they have a shot of being the top seller in a segment.

Mercedes-Benz and BMW typically hammer each other in November and December as they compete to win the title of top luxury brand in America, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with car information company Edmunds.com.

Automakers also are starting to offer discounts on 2013 model cars as they start the change to the next model year, she said.

With five months to go, here’s how some of the key competitions are looking.

Mercedes-Benz narrowly leads BMW by a score of 165,598 luxury vehicles sold to 164,474 through the end of July, according to Edmunds.com.

“It is anyone’s game,” Caldwell said.

Another close race is in compact sport-utility vehicle sales where the Ford Escape at 178,979 leads Honda’s CR-V with sales of 172,989.

There is a razor-thin margin between what Edmunds labels “advanced-drive” or rechargeable vehicles.With sales of 11,703 the Nissan Leaf leads the Chevrolet’s Volt's total of 11,643.

In the “pony” car race, the Chevrolet Camaro at 50,281 has a thin lead over Ford’s Mustang, 48,879.

There’s unlikely to be any change in two key segments of the auto industry. Ford’s F-Series truck is well ahead of all competitors and is almost certain to retain the title of the bestselling vehicle in America. 

Likewise, the Toyota Camry has a big lead on the Honda Accord and looks to remain the bestselling passenger car in America.

Follow me on Twitter (@LATimesJerry), Facebook and Google+.

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