BMW widened its lead against Mercedes-Benz in May in the United States

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 1, 2011

For the month of May 2011, BMW widened its lead against Mercedes-Benz and other luxury automakers in terms of U.S. sales as discounts were raised by European automakers. In a statement, BMW AG said that deliveries in the U.S. increased by 16% to 20,651 units, compared to the previous year.

The brisk sales of sport-utility vehicles and the new 5-Series sedan helped to boost this figure. From January to May of this year, BMW’s deliveries had increased by 13% to 92,068 vehicles.

Meanwhile, Mercedes sold 90,274 units and Toyota had sold 77,237 Lexus units. Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends at in Santa Monica, Calif., said that for the rest of the year, it will be BMW and Mercedes-Benz that will end with a photo finish. It’s the first time that Lexus isn’t a clear contender for the top spot.

In May, Mercedes raised discounts by 27% while BMW’s incentives rose by 6.7%. Truecar reported that the discounts on Lexus models dropped by 51%.

On an annual basis in the U.S., Lexus was named the top-selling luxury auto brand in the U.S. for 11 straight years. In 2011, Lexus’ lead on BMW shrunk to only 9,216 units.

But in 2009, Lexus sold 19,473 more units than BMW. Last year, Mercedes ranked third. Lexus’ sales in May fell by 45% to 12,305 units. In an interview, Jim O'Donnell, head of BMW's U.S. sales operations, said that Lexus is struggling due to a lack of supply.

Manufactured at the BMW facilities located in Leipzig, as well as the one in Tiexi, China, at least 275,000 units of the BMW X have been sold since it was first released around two and a half years ago. With the new BMW X1, this same talent remains to be present but this time has renewed vigor in order to be able to meet many of the new challenges.

As a genuine trailblazer in the compact class, the BMW X1 is indeed the first ever premium model of its kind. This is true given the improved design of the body, the wide-ranging engine portfolio, and the enhanced interior. There is also the new BMW Lines range and the advanced equipment features. Because of this, the BMW X1 is able to offer an experience that is more intensive than ever. For the X1, BMW will be offering a number of engines that include five versions using diesel and another three powered by petrol.

Output of these engines is between 116 hp (85 kW) and 245 hp (180 kW). At the forefront is the four-cylinder diesel engine inside the xDrive25d with output at 218 hp (160 kW). It has the brand’s TwinPower Turbo technology which has the latest variable sequential turbocharging. Depending on what the model is, power from the engine is transmitted either through the standard rear-wheel drive or through the brand’s intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Regardless, this option is offered under three engine types fitted in the X1.

Due to the features of the X being transferred to the compact segment, this has intensified the competition in this class. Even then, the X1 remains to be in the lead especially in terms of efficiency and sportiness. BMW though believes that this lead will be extended given that it had managed to optimize the relationship between fuel consumption and performance.

This is all due to a number of factors that include having the engine with the TwinPower Turbo technology and paired to a one-of-a-kind automatic eight-speed transmission. There is also the ECO PRO mode, Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start-Stop function, and the EfficientDynamics technology.

A good example of this is the X1 sDrive20d EfficientDynamics Edition where under the EU test cycle, it was recorded to have a fuel consumption of 62.7 mpg (4.5 liters/100 kilometers) and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km. In conjunction with the X1 launching, BMW is preparing as well the launch to the US market. X1 models to be sold in the Chinese market will be manufactured at the Tiexi plant located in Shenyang Province.

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