Audi and Mercedes-Benz trimmed BMW lead in first half of 2014

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 9, 2014

Halfway through 2014, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have managed to trim the luxury car sales lead of BMW. Thanks to strong demand for Audi A3 compact sedan, the carmaker only has to work on a sales gap of 16,997 vehicles. The gap between Audi and BMW was 23,760 units a year earlier. Good performance by the Mercedes-Benz S-class model helped the carmaker trim the gap with BMW by 6 percent to 102,827 cars.

All three German luxury carmakers logged record deliveries for the period. Both Audi and Mercedes are aiming to topple BMW from the luxury car sales crown by the end of the decade. Audi has been refreshing its A3 lineup since 2013 while Mercedes-Benz has been expanding its compact line-up.

In response, BMW came up with the 2-series and 4-series coupes and X4 SUV. It is also introducing the plug-in i8. Stuart Pearson, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, told Bloomberg by phone that the gap between BMW and its rivals should continue to narrow.

He added that BMW should see some support like the 2-series and the X4 as it dashes into the end of the year. He remarked that BMW will still dominate the luxury car sales race “for the foreseeable future.”

Record deliveries in the first six months of 2014 for the German 3 were buoyed by demand for premium models in China and the United States. In the US, Mercedes grabbed the lead halfway through 2014, selling 163,107 units in the period for an 8-percent surge.

BMW is close second with 157,382 units sold, for a surge of 12 percent. Audi is at far third at 84,349 units, growing 14 percent. As part of its bid to overtake BMW, Audi intends to launch 17 new or revamped vehicles this 2014, including a remake of the TT sports car.

It targets to expand its vehicle lineup to 60 models by 2020 and deliveries of at least 2 million units. Mercedes, on the other hand, plans to launch 30 models by 2020, including a dozen vehicles having no predecessors.

BMW posted a 10-percent jump in sales in the first half of 2014 to 886,347 vehicles, including a 7-percent surge in June. For the first-half period, BMW saw a 36-percent jump in sales for the X5 SUV and an 18 -percent for the X6. BMW group sales jumped 6.9 percent to 1.02 million units in the first six months of the year.

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