Mercedes-Benz beat the BMW brand and took back the title of No. 1 U.S. luxury-vehicle brand in April 2012. Mercedes’ deliveries for April 2012 increased by 24%, the largest gain achieved by a premium brand. The two brands each released statements to announce that Mercedes’ US sales increased to 22,336 last month while BMW deliveries rose 12% to 21,062 units.
Toyota's Lexus brand, which held the No. 1 luxury seller for 11 years until 2010, fell 0.1% to 17,551 units. Mercedes and BMW, which surpassed Lexus in 2011 to become the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S., are rivals for the 2012 sales crown. The first quarter was a close call. BMW ended the first three months of the year with a 36-vehicle lead over Mercedes. April sales gave Mercedes a 17% boost for the year to 83,849 units.
This gave it a 1,238-unit lead after four months compared to BMW, which reported a 16% sales increase. From January to April of 2012, Lexus deliveries increased by 2.6% to 66,647 units. Jesse Toprak, an analyst with TrueCar.com, a Web site that monitors auto sales, said that he doesn’t expect any of them getting ahead with a big gap.
He expects “back-and-forth” for the remaining months of the year. These results exclude Daimler's Sprinter vans and Smart cars and BMW's Mini brand, which are not luxury vehicles. In a statement, Mercedes revealed that deliveries of the updated C-class sedan were up 23%, while M-class sport-utility vehicle sales grew 54%.
The close competition between BMW and Mercedes sales is also seen in other parts of the globe. Actually, both are at the top and battling with each other, along with the Audi brand. Audi deliveries increased by 15% last April in the U.S. to 11,521 units -- the 16th straight month of record sales.
Audi’s sales in 2012 increased by 16% after four months, with 40,991 units sold. This exceeded sales of General Motors Co.'s Cadillac brand that had 40,817. In April, Cadillac sales dropped 25% to 9,851 as the luxury brand was hurt by the removal of old models before new ones arrive at dealerships later this year.