BMW AG had higher sales in July than Mercedes-Benz but it turns out that it’s only because BMW had inflated its figures when it gave dealers an offer on July 31 that they couldn’t resist. According to The Wall Street Journal, BMW gave discounts of up to $7,000 per 2012 vehicle to dealers if they reported the vehicles as sold on that day.
As a result, BMW was named the best-selling luxury brand in the U.S. in July. The report revealed that hundreds of vehicles that dealers claimed to already be sold were still advertised for sale as new. BMW spokesman Kenn Sparks said that demo vehicles were included in the sales figure for July. These demo units are used for test drives.
Sparks didn’t reveal the number of demo units cited in July sales tally since the company doesn’t provide this information to the public. For the month of July, BMW division sold 21,297 vehicles – which is 1,986 higher than Mercedes sales. Sales of the Sprinter commercial van are excluded in Mercedes’ total. It’s not clear how the demo sales affected BMW division's sales.
The Journal said that the 7 series and the 3 series were eligible for the demo discount. BMW sold 1,696 7-series sedans in July. On July 31, BMW offered a $7,000 discount on the car. Last June, BMW sold 539 7-series units. On the other hand, BMW posted sales of 7,653 3-series units last month, higher than the 6,740 cars sold in June. It placed up to $3,200 in demo discounts on the 3 series, according to the newspaper report. The 3 series was BMW's top-selling car in 2012, with 54,415 units sold through July – about 4% (1,913 units) higher than the same period in 2011.