German manufacturers remain the only competitors in the race for No.1 luxury brand

Article by Anita Panait, on January 12, 2012

BMW ruled the luxury vehicle market for the past six years and continues to keep its crown as the world's best selling premium brand in 2011 after posting a 16% hike in sales to 1.38 million units. Behind BMW is Audi, the third best seller in 2010, logging a 19% increase in sales to 1.3 million units. Mercedes-Benz dropped to third, with an 8% increase to 1.26 million vehicles.

The top three premium car makers, all German, accounted for two-thirds of all global premium-car sales, according to IHS Automotive. The trend is expected to stay in the mid-term. Making up the remaining third of the premium car sales in 2011 are those built by manufacturers from the U.S., Japan, U.K. and Sweden, the most successful of which is Volvo. Volvo posted a 20.3% rise in sales in 2011 to 449,255 units.

German Big Three also flexed their muscles at the Detroit Auto Show, launching future best-sellers like the BMW 3-series hybrid, Audi Q3 Vail and 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL.

The body of the new BMW 3 ActiveHybrid effectively combines the sporty and elegant design of the BMW 3-Series Sedan and bespoke elements that emphasize the innovative drive technology underneath. It is accentuated by standard satin-finish window surrounds as well as BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow elements on the side graphic.

To distinguish the BMW 3 ActiveHybrid from its 3-Series siblings, it comes with "ActiveHybrid 3" lettering on the C-pillars and matt chrome exhaust tailpipes. BMW is also offering optional aerodynamic 18-inch Streamline light-alloy wheels. The "ActiveHybrid 3" lettering could also be found on the door sill strips and on an aluminum plate on the gearshift lever knob.

New BMW 3 ActiveHybrid also comes with a bespoke engine cover. Customers may have their new BMW 3 ActiveHybrid equipped with the Sport, Modern or Luxury lines or the M Sport package. Customers of the new BMW 3 ActiveHybrid could choose from a wide array of interior colors, upholstery and interior trim elements also being offered for the other BMW 3-Series Sedan variants.

As standard, the hybrid vehicle is fitted with a 2-zone climate control system with stationary air conditioning. Optional features include the BMW ConnectedDrive mobility services, a collection of driver assistance systems as well as almost every optional feature for the BMW 3-Series Sedan.

BMW plans to assemble the new BMW 3 ActiveHybrid at its BMW Plant Munich alongside other BMW 3-Series models backed by a state-of-the-art automated process engineering and the excellent skills of its specially trained craftsmen.

Topics: bmw, mercedes-benz, audi

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