BMW inches closer to Mercedes’ top-seller crown in the US in 2012

Article by Anita Panait, on August 2, 2012

After seven months of selling premium cars in the United States, only 104 vehicles divide BMW and Mercedes-Benz in their quest to become the top-selling luxury carmakers in the country for 2012. From January to July 2012, Mercedes remained on top, selling 147,905 luxury vehicles in the US for a 14-percent growth.

A close second is BMW, selling 147,801 luxury cars through July for a 9.4 percent gain. BMW was the top-selling luxury carmaker in the US in 2011, edging out Mercedes by just 2,715 deliveries. BMW still found ways to sell more luxury vehicles than fierce rival Mercedes-Benz in July 2012 in the United States, despite posting a slight decline in deliveries for the month.

For July 2012, BMW posted a 0.5-percent drop in sales in the US to 21,297 units, while Mercedes logged a 1.6 percent increase to 19,311 cars and sports utility vehicles. Lexus, which was the top-seller for 2010, capped a 25-percent jump in sales to 18,235 units. Before July’s sales results, Mercedes was leading BMW by over 2,000 deliveries for the year. 

Explaining BMW’s slight decline in July 2012, Ludwig Willisch, head of the carmaker’s US unit quipped that summer is typically a time for vacations rather than car buying. He described the results for the month as satisfying, despite the unsteady economy and the very short supply of new models in BMW’s dealerships.

Considered as the forerunner of the compact sports sedan class, the 3-Series Sedan later on became the symbol of what BMW was about in terms of athletic capability, dynamics, and strong visual appeal. The 3-Series Sedan is also the highest-selling premium vehicle and this latest version will be the sixth generation of the range. Its use of elegant and dynamic lines ensures that it continues to be able to highlight the brand’s sporting qualities.

While the new 3-Series does have bigger dimensions compared to the previous generation, the balance between elegance and athleticism is still there. However like the generations before it, the dynamic proportions are a result having a set-back greenhouse one would expect from a BMW vehicle and the sweeping bonnet. Helping with this visual as well is the long wheelbase and short overhang in the front.

The tracks however are wider with the one in the front increased by 37 mm and the one in the rear by 47 mm. Combined with the wedge shape, this puts focus even further on the athletic look. While the front section already has that expressive look due to the multi-faceted surfaces, by placing some emphasis on the allowed this new model to have a sportier look.

Further, the stance is highlighted by the wide interpretation of the kidney grille, which is placed upright and position slightly slanting forward. With the LED accent lights being arranged to be eyebrows on top of the twin headlights and their corona rings, this enhanced the intensity to what is already a focused look. This is only possible though if the owner goes for the xenon headlights.

Even without getting the option, the headlights now stretch all the way to the kidney grille’s frame. This allows the grille and the headlights to be combined in one styling unit ensuring that the broad-set stance of this model is highlighted even more. One change that customers will immediately see is that there is no more central air intake. Instead the new 3-Series puts in two intakes, both of which are larger than the ones in the previous models.

By being placed to outer parts of the front section and below the headlights, they give added depth to the athletic style. Looking at the main ducts on either side of it are small vertical intakes which result in what is known as “Air Curtain.” What this new feature does is help improve the flow of air on the wheels in the front. Thus, it improves the aerodynamic efficiency while making sure fuel consumption is lower, important especially when running at high speeds.

As mentioned earlier, the defining feature of the front section are the squat and spaced openings of the vehicle’s kidney grille which has those attractive surrounds. It is also in this region where the precise lines of the curved bonnet finish. Thus, the front section gets the low-slung look ensuring that the 3-Series gets an obvious sporting advantage when looked at from the front.

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