Daimler CEO says Mercedes-Benz may not grab US luxury sales crown

Article by Anita Panait, on July 15, 2013

As early as this time of the year, Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche is admitting that Mercedes-Benz may not be able to become the best-selling luxury brand in the United States. Zetsche remarked that he does not think that Mercedes would be No. 1 at the end of 2013, adding “that’s ok.” He said they “won’t play any games.”

Zetsche CEO was in Canada for the North American introduction of the revamped S-class sedan. At the end of the first half of 2013, Mercedes is still leading the US sales race by 1,519 vehicles against main rival BMW, the best-selling luxury car in the past two years.

Mercedes posted a 10-percent gain in sales in the US in the first half of 2013 to 141,950. BMW, on the other hand, posted an 11-percent surge in the period to 140,431. The figures don’t include Daimler’s cargo vans and Smart cars and BMW’s Mini brand, since they are not luxury vehicles.

BMW managed to capture the top spot in 2012 after posting a huge December increase in sales. In terms of vehicle registrations, Mercedes won against BMW in 2012, according to researcher R.L. Polk & Co. Zetsche is aiming to have Mercedes to surpass both BMW and Audi in global sales and profit by 2020.

In the first quarter of 2013, Mercedes has an operating profit that was 3.3 percent of sales, compared with 11.1 percent for Audi and 9.9 percent for BMW.

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