Based on an estimate of their sales, BMW may have outperformed Mercedes-Benz in the United States in December, helping it earn the title as the bestselling luxury brand of the year. As estimated by Autodata Corp., BMW's sales in the U.S. increased 16 percent to 27,000 units last month versus a year earlier.Autodata revealed that Mercedes and BMW "are experiencing year-end sales reporting complications."
The company explained that the results for those manufacturers were estimated using "credible industry sources." The delays came as other carmakers reported the usual monthly and year-end results.
Total sales of BMW in the U.S. last year were estimated at 248,073 units, outselling Mercedes by 2,804 vehicles, according to Autodata's estimates. U.S. deliveries of Mercedes increased 28 percent to 25,778 units last month, thanks to a redesigned M-class SUV and refreshed C-class sedan. Mercedes deliveries for the year rose 13 percent to 245,269 units.
The results do not include the Mercedes Smart cars and Sprinter vans as well as BMW's Mini brand, which are not luxury vehicles. While some car manufacturers in the past have delayed posting monthly results, "this is unusual" according to industry analyst Jesse Toprak with TrueCar.com. Toprak added that he does not recall this happening from the two carmakers who are "clearly going head-to-head" against each other. He also said that it is "too much of a coincidence."
BMW spokesperson Kenn Sparks stated that the automaker will not be able to release the figures until Thursday. On the other hand, Mercedes spokesperson Donna Boland was not immediately available to comment on the Autodata estimate.
While Lexus had held the bestselling luxury spot in the U.S. for 11 years in a row, it was adversely affected by a lack of production after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Lexus sales dropped 8 percent to 25,355 units in December and 13 percent to 198,552 units to end the year. Industry-wide sales increased 9 percent to 12.8 million based on the estimates by Automotive News.