The battle for the best-selling luxury carmaker in the United States is now on its final round – and it will be a close one. While BMW still has the lead, Mercedes-Benz was able to trim the margin to just 1,830 vehicles, thanks to record sales in November.
Mercedes logged a 1-percent gain in November to 34,578 units, outselling BMW that dropped 2 percent to 31,019 units. Mercedes’ Sprinter van sales are excluded since they aren’t considered luxury vehicles. At third is Lexus (up 7 percent), followed by Audi (up 22 percent).
For the US luxury vehicle market, sales were flat compared to an overall industry growth of 5 percent. According to IHS automotive loyalty consultant Tom Libby, the race for the No. 1 luxury brand will be very close. “They’re going to pull out all the stops,” he said, adding that BMW and Mercedes will use incentives at an “incredible rate” through the end of the last day of the year.
He noted that this will the best time for consumers to buy or lease one of the brands. Steve Cannon, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz USA, said in a statement that November was a historic period for the carmaker -- record sales as well as a top spot in J.D. Power's Sales Satisfaction Index.
Leading the November charge for Mercedes was the S class that surged 50 percent to 2,863 units. Its M-class SUV posted a 20-percent jump in sales to 5,190, while C-class sales logged an 18-percent leap to 9,259. As for BMW, combined sales of the 3- and 4-series surged 12 percent to 14,702 while volume for the 7 series climbed 14 percent to 704 units.
X3 crossover sales, however, dropped 45 percent to 2,221 while the 5 series also dipped 39 percent to 3,105. Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America, noted that they expect the brand’s November momentum to continue in December to an all-time sales record by the end the year.